CCF: The Beginning of Wrestling with God

Pastor Jay Jackson

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After Jacob stole the birthright of his brother Esau and deceived his father Isaac by taking the blessing supposed to be given to his first-born son, Genesis 28 accounts that Jacob was on the run, away from his family and from his brother who plotted to kill him. For twenty long years, he worked for his uncle Laban in Paddan Aram where Jacob had his wives, children and flocks, then the Lord directed him to go back to the land of his father in Canaan. Genesis 32 gives us an account of how Jacob prepared to meet his brother Esau.

Terrified of his brother Esau who is coming to meet him with 400 men, he divided his people and flocks into groups in case Esau attack them. Then he prayed to God claiming His promises and instruction to go back to his country. He pleaded for protection over his brother Esau. That night Jacob wrestled with God and asked Him for blessing. Clearly in the past, Jacob has made poor choices that leads to broken relationships -- with his brother, father and Uncle Laban, and now he is face to face with God, exposing all his deceitfulness through his name “Jacob” which meant "the supplanter."

When you and I refuses to follow what God is telling, what God is wrestling with us in our lives, it impacts more than just ourselves. It impacts everybody who loves us, just like what happened to Jacob.

He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm. – Proverbs 13:20

Another observation we see from Jacob in this chapter is that he was in great fear and distress in spite of God's promises. Sometimes we are like Jacob, afraid of situations where we don't have control and still tries to figure out how we can solve the problem on our own. Jacob planned first before he prayed, when he should be doing the other way around – Pray now, plan later. He choose fear over trust, thus suffer unnecessary anxiety.

The most striking point in this chapter is the wrestling match. In the middle of Jacob's crisis, God came and wrestled with him. He could have easily crushed Jacob but He pulled punches to give him opportunity to surrender. To acknowledge that Jacob is in this dilemma not only because of what he did but ultimately because of who he is. Nearing daybreak the man touched Jacob's hip and he was in great pain. Similarly the Lord knows the part of our lives that are important to us that when He intervene with will cause us pain. He does this not to threaten us but to help us make the right choices in life.

As God resolve all this to Jacob's life - Jacob is hurt, broken and in the verge of wasting his sorrows, he asked for blessing. Instead the Man asked him his name, this question allowed Jacob to actually see and understand himself – who he was and what he had done to other people.

This is the same reason why God wrestles with you and me, for us to understand who we really are and understand our brokenness in the face of God. So He can transform us. He wants to change us from the person that we are into the person He has dream us to be, that's the reason why He keeps pressing.

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