Originally published Wednesday, 24 April 2013.
Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. Genesis 32:18
Jacob was the younger twin brother. He had grasped his brothers ankle during their grand entrance into this world. In the passage above, we find Jacob alone, his family ahead of him in a journey and once again he’s grappling and wrestling. Only this time, it’s with a mysterious figure. Scripture records that he wrestled all night until this stranger commanded Jacob to let him go. Jacob asserts that he would not let him go unless the stranger blessed him. The stranger’s reply came, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and men and have prevailed.” and he blessed Jacob. After the unusual encounter, Jacob named the place , because “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”
Have you striven with God, man or both? What are you wrestling for? Do you want answers? Control? A blessing?
I’ve wrestled with God more than I am proud to admit. I wish I could have only sat still and waited for His timing, answers and blessing, instead of flailing about like a two-year-old in a fit.
At the end of Jacob’s unique encounter with the Lord, God put Jacob’s hip out of alignment and he walked with a limp from that time on. I wonder if that was the end of Jacob’s wrestling with God. Did Jacob just need to get out all his fussing and struggling once and for all and that was ultimately the blessing God gave him? It’s a mysterious account. Yet for those of us who wrestle against the circumstances of life and the One who made us, it’s good to know, God doesn’t leave us alone in our struggle. Wonder of wonders, He even permits us in our weakness to contend with Him so that we might finally have our hearts opened to Him. In the skin-on-skin of Jacob’s struggle, God came face-to-face with His wrestling son.
Read Genesis 32:24-32
For more encouraging words, order the 31 day eDevotional Face to Face: Seeing God through the eyes of those who met Him face to face.