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Wrestling With God

Encounter: “The man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won. That’s why your name will be Israel.’” Genesis 32: 28

During my many years as a pastor, I have been asked on many occasions as to the correctness to argue or wrestle with God. When we read through many of the Old Testament stories, we will find examples of questions, arguments, and even wrestling with God. If we are not wrestling or questioning God, then the question has to be asked if we are in a relationship with God.

Think of two wrestlers, not the professional wrestlers, but more the high school or college wrestlers. When the two competitors lock together, their bodies are pressed against each other as they try to pin their opponent or get free. The body contact allows for the competitor to judge where the opponent is, how much force is applied and if they can counter a move to get free or lock their opponent in a position that gives them victory.

As Jacob was heading back to his father’s land, he was anxious and concerned that his brother, Esau, might kill him upon his arrival. At the same time, Jacob’s uncle and cousins were coming from behind because they believed they had been cheated by Jacob. Jacob was tired, worried, concerned, anxious, and afraid as to what was going to happen. Upon the night that Jacob sent his wives, children and everything he owned across the Jabbok River, Jacob went back across and spent the night alone.

If you are like me, when I am left alone with my thoughts and I am filled with similar feelings and emotions like Jacob, my mind becomes a battleground for wrestling. Like a wrestler will be pressed upon his opponent learning his moves in order to either escape or pin, we have to know God and understand how he moves in order to either escape or pin Him. What I can’t tell you is how do I end my wresting with my thoughts or God. Did I come to a conclusion? Did I become tired of the match and take a time out from the match, only to reconvene at a later time?

Jacob does something I have overlooked many times when I have read this scripture. Verse 26 states; “They kept on wrestling until the man said, ‘Let go of me! It’s almost daylight.’ ‘You can’t go until you bless me,’ Jacob replied.”

Have you requested God to bless you during your time of struggle with Him? Please note that Jacob didn’t ask, he demanded that he be blessed or he would not let go of Him. God rewarded Jacob’s determination. God wants us to wrestle with Him. Again, to wrestle with God, forces us to be in relationship with Him.

I encourage you to wrestle with God. Seek Him with all that you are. Wrestling with the scriptures and God allows you to become stronger in your relationship with Him. Don’t let go of Him until you have sought your blessing.

God blessed Jacob. He wants to bless you!

Wrestling with you,

Pastor Phil

Reflect: Think of a time you wrestled with your thoughts and with God. Consider how well you knew him before the wrestling match and if your knowledge of him changed afterwards. Think if you asked for a blessing from God before you let go of Him during your time of wrestling. If you asked for a blessing, did you receive? Journal your thoughts and consider what you would do differently when you wrestle with Him in the future. Study God’s every move that He has shown in the scriptures so that you may be better prepared for your next wrestling match with Him.

Spiritual Practice: During your time in the Daily Bible Reading Challenge, ask how God is present in your reading. Then reflect on how God is present in your life’s experience. Seek His presence by spending time with Him in your prayers over the scriptures. Allow Him to show you which muscle he is moving to either pin you or escape from you.

Gather: As you gather this week in your groups, share with one another, if you feel comfortable, something you might be wrestling with. As the group listens intently, they can become your training partners by praying for you to be strengthened by the wrestling match or be blessed by the wrestling match.

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