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Wrestling with God


We’re studying Genesis in Sunday School. We’ve actually been in it since the beginning of the year, taking a chapter, sometimes two, per week to study. Three or four weeks ago (I don’t recall exactly) we studied chapter 32. That is the account of Jacob wrestling with God at Peniel. Something that Jami said (the wise wife that she is) has been in my thoughts ever since.

Jami shared how she was touched by Jacob. After he had been crippled by the Angel (who is later disclosed as being God) the angel attempted to leave saying “Let me go, for dawn is breaking”. Jacob, in his brokenness, refused to let the angel go until he was blessed. As Jami pointed out, Hosea clarifies the scene a little for us.

Hosea 4.12
Yes, he wrestled with the angel and prevailed;
He wept and sought His favor
He found Him at Bethel
And there He spoke with us,

John (my teacher and good friend) pointed out that this shatters the way that we typically think of being blessed. Hosea certainly clarifies this for us. He was not searching for a 20th century definition of blessing (money, success, happiness etc.,.).

The picture here is one of a broken and humbled Jacob, clinging on to God with all the strength that he has left… weeping… and  begging for God, not to bless him financially, but to find favor upon him (or as Genesis 32.26 puts it… to “bless” him)!

How often do we too find ourselves wrestling with God? What is it that we are seeking? Is it to be blessed with things that are perishable?

This is what has been on my mind for many weeks!  I feel as if I can somehow identify with Jacob. In all my brokenness… sinfulness… clinging on to the side of the Eternal with every bit of strength that I have remaining . . . weeping… clinging… hoping… to find God’s favor.

And yet… I know that nothing that I can do will either increase or decrease my standing before the Eternal. I am (positionally) dead to sin and alive in christ (Romans 6) and this is not of my own doing (Ephesians 2).

But then, even knowing knowing this, I still find myself clinging to God longing for His favor. What an odd paradox! I both praise God that nothing that I do will change my standing before Him, and long to find favor. What a glorious day that will be when, at the sound of the last trumpet, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed…once and for all!

Share your thoughts!