The Rewards of Wrestling with God- Pt. 1

Are you wrestling with God? It may be painful now, yet some game-changing results could be in store once the match is over. Note below two transformations that took place in the life of Jacob after he tangled with the pre-incarnate Christ on the banks of the river Jabbok.

A new name- Once the struggle ended, the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome” (Genesis 32:28). The one once known as Jacob “the deceiver” would now be Israel, which means “struggler with God.” Eventually, he became the father of 12 Tribes, as well as being included in the lineage of Christ.    

             A drunkard, who killed a man in a bar fight, was punished by having the dead man’s initials, G.M., tattooed on his forehead. Later in life, after becoming a Christian, this former reprobate and murderer became known for his humble life and total surrender to God. As two young boys discussed the meaning of the unusually placed letters, one said, “I’m not sure what they mean, but my daddy says he thinks they stand for God’s Man!”    

           Are you still characterized by poor decisions and bad behavior from the past? Seek your validation from God, not those around you. Be defined by Christ and His precious blood shed for you. Claim that “white stone with a new name written on it” (Revelation 2:17) reserved for battling believers on this fallen planet who have come through the victor.

A fresh motivation- Jacob left Jabbok with a reset purpose and direction. The fact that God had a special plan for his life was never in doubt. It had been unveiled to Isaac and Rebekkah, even Jacob himself at a precious time in his life. Complications arose, however, in his implementation of the plan. According to Tom Elliff in A Life of Prayer, “Until Jabbok, he had sought to achieve God’s favor and blessing through his own skill and cleverness. He was determined not to be denied anything he desired. But now, as Israel, he saw that God’s plan must be accompanied by God’s power.

This episode brings to mind a similar encounter that took place centuries later between the prophet Elijah and God. Just like Jacob feared what reuniting with Esau would bring, Elijah “was afraid and ran for his life” because evil Queen Jezebel wanted him dead. Instead of a river, “He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die” (1 Kings 19:4). God, however, had another plans. Strengthened by food and rest, Elijah “traveled forty days and forty nights, until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night” (1 Kings 19:8,9). The next day, the LORD revealed to him new marching orders.

Perhaps, like Jacob, your own manipulation and cleverness have led you to the end of your rope. Like Elijah, you’re physically and spiritually exhausted. You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. Your get up and go got up and went. Even though God already knows, tell him exactly how you feel. Resist the enemy and seek God, meditating upon this passage: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” ( Proverbs 3:5,6).

Acknowledgment, in part, means passionately seeking Him in prayer, humbly depending on His power. Only God can provide the renewed inspiration and motivation you’ll need to receive the Unsearchable Things He longs to reveal.


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