Wrestling with God

Today we are going to examine the account of Jacob, and particularly focus on his wrestling with God. It was not only that night at Pniel as he was on his way back to the Promised Land: Jacob struggled a lot with God. Or perhaps I should say he struggled a lot with his own character, personality, desires and other worldly pressures before he finally rested in God. This is probably true for most of us in our journey of faith; certainly it is for me. My own character is such that I tend to be fiercely independent; I seldom ask for or admit that I need help; and I think that I can do everything better than anyone else. I know that the consequence of this is that I struggle; I find myself under too much pressure and eventually I am forced into a corner. At that point I have to accept God’s admonition and grace, usually through some other person.

Jacob wanted both the blessing and the birthright from his father, even though he was the second son and therefore not entitled. He riled his brother, Esau and had to run away. He met up with his uncle Laban; they were obviously from the same gene pool for they were caught up in a battle of wits as they struggled against each other with much deception and trickery. Finally Jacob had to run away from his uncle as well. Caught between the proverbial rock and hard place, Jacob wrestled with God. Indeed, his struggle had always been with God and God’s call upon his life. But now instead of running away, he hangs on – “I will not let you go until you bless me” he says to God. And God blesses him. In his brokenness before God he becomes honest about himself and his need for God. And God changes Jacob’s name to Israel: from “the one who deceives” to “the one who struggles with God”, and God changes His own name to “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”. Notice that the Lord continues to use Jacob’s old name …. He is the God of self-seeking sinners but His desire is to bless them with grace into a new life and being.

I praise God for that, for I still fail often, and remain a self-seeking sinner, but in Christ He has given me grace to overcome. His promise is ever before me and it is mine every time I lean on Him. His grace is sufficient for all my failures in this world and when my time on this earth is over I will have His grace in all its fullness.

Blessed be His name forever and ever. Amen.

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