ODJ: wrestling with God

November 25, 2013 

READ: Genesis 32:13-32 

A man came and wrestled with [Jacob] until the dawn began to break (v.24).

Often, on Saturdays in the 1980s, my brother and I watched professional wrestling on TV. We were mesmerised by the acrobatics and the seemingly super-human body slams that shook the wrestling ring. We rooted for the good guys and pointed at the screen exclaiming things like “Did you see that?” and “Ooooh, that had to hurt!” Fortunately we did not try (many of) those moves at home.

The Bible records one incredible wrestling match between Jacob and an opponent—God in the form of a man. Obscured by the veil of night, He approached and “wrestled with [Jacob] until the dawn began to break” (Genesis 32:24). Apparently Jacob was one scrappy guy, because he hung in there until his Opponent dislocated Jacob’s hip with just a touch (v.25). Despite Jacob’s efforts to out-manoeuvre God, God was still in control.

Even with a disabled hip, Jacob refused to loosen his grip unless he received a blessing. God renamed Him “Israel” (which means “God fights”), blessed him and then went on His way. Left alone, Jacob realised, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared” (v.30). Jacob met the day injured, sleep deprived, but astonished by his encounter with his Maker.

Are you struggling with God today? Maybe His Word has revealed His will for your life in a certain area, but you’re not ready to surrender. You know He wants you to give up an addiction, regain your integrity at work or abandon a relationship that’s not honouring to Him.

Don’t wrestle through the night as Jacob did. Acknowledge God’s perfect, loving ways and surrender to Him. Let His comfort renew your hope (Psalm 94:19). Cling to Him and stand amazed as you encounter the living God. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Read Lamentations 3:1-23 for a look at one prophet’s struggle with God. Look up Acts 22:6-11 and compare that story with Jacob’s experience.  
What happens when we try to out-manoeuvre God in our lives? What things are typically at the centre of our struggles with God?