Wrestling with God

Old Testament patriarch Jacob, who played a key role in God’s redemptive plan, endured a game changing wrestling match with the the Son of God that qualified him for the role. Carefully consider these experiences God used to mold him into a better person.

Altercation- Scripture says, “So Jacob was left alone, and a man of God wrestled with him till daybreak” (Genesis 32:25).  This man of God was none other than the pre-incarnate Christ, who here makes one of His numerous Old Testament appearances.

Is this wrestling match not symbolic of where so many are in their relationships with Christ? Instead of submitting to Him, most choose to resist. Rather than obey and follow along the narrow path, the masses choose to rebel and take the broad road. In those situations, God sometimes does what He did in His encounter with Jacob, to introduce:

Affliction- “When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man” (Genesis 32:25). Obviously, this man, being God, could have done much more than debilitate Jacob. He could have crushed him. However, he wanted his attention, not his destruction. After all, this was one who would go on to play a significant role in the history of Israel in time and the Kingdom for eternity.

If you find yourself in a similar state of trial and tribulation, maybe God is pruning and preparing you for something special. Abundant blessings often come in the wake of total surrender. As the Bible says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God” (James 4:7).

Determination- When the man asked to be released, Jacob responded, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26).To illustrate the importance of persistence in prayer, Jesus told a story about a man who went to a friend’s house to borrow three loaves of bread. The friend said no at first, but eventually changed his mind and gave the man what he needed. As the Lord explained, “Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth” (Luke 11:8, KJV, emphasis added).

Paul encouraged the church in Colosse by writing, “Epaphras . . .is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured” (Colossians 4:9). He instructed the believers in Thessalonica to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

According to former President Calvin Coolidge, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Living a Christ-like life may involve wrestling with God from time to time. The good news is, unsearchable things often await when the match is over.


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