Wrestling with God!
Scripture Reading for January 13: Genesis 32-36
Have you ever felt that God has told you to do something that you knew had the potential for trouble? You know you heard the Lord but needed reassurance that it was going to work out. Our first move away from home to pastor a church in Washington was like that. We were used to being around family and familiar surrounding. We had gone to a church with some strife. We were not sure they would like us or love us after we got there. We wrestled concerning our move of 2000 miles with our daughter just ready for her senior year in high school. We had told God we would go anywhere, but not necessarily this far!
Jacob faced just such a challenge in his move back from Paddan Aram to his homeland. God commanded him to go back but he was concerned about the brother he had left behind nearly 20 years ago. (Genesis 31:3, 13) Jacob had taken this brother’s birthright and stolen his blessing. Jacob sent his family across the Jabok, a tributary of the Jordan River. He stayed behind to pray.
That night he was alone and Scripture says “a man wrestled with him until daybreak”. (Genesis 32:22-31) This “man” touched Jacobs hip socket and put it out of joint. Jacob would not let him go until this “man” blessed him. The man asked Jacob his name–“Jacob” (cheat). The man changed Jacob’s name to “Israel” (wrestled with God and men and have overcome.) The man wouldn’t give Israel his name, but did bless him and left. Israel named the place “Peniel”. This name states that he believed he had seen God face to face and was spared! Thus the nation of “Israel” was born out of this amazing wrestling match!
The moral of the story is that God always wins when we wrestle Him! He works His plans in us and works out His purposes through us. Jacob was jealous for the blessing of God and ended up with the promise of a nation and a land from God Himself!
And God said to him, “I am God Almighty, be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and community of nations will come from your body. The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” Genesis 36:11-12