Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wrestling with the Lord

As most of you know, I have six children and I understand what goes into managing a large household. But I can't even imagine twelve sons, four wives, additional daughters, servants, livestock and the burden of support and leadership that was on Jacob's shoulders. When I think about it, I understand why he needed time alone. I have seen this in my own husband - sometimes when the burdens of life are weighing greatly on his shoulders, he needs some space to clear his head and regain his footing. I think the last thing that Jacob wanted to do was lose his night to wrestling with a stranger.

But God had other plans.

The story we discussed today fills our heads with questions and images:

At what point did Jacob realize this was Jesus?
Were words exchanged before sunrise?
Did Jacob initially think it was Esau?
Why did Jesus want to wrestle? Why didn't He just sit and talk?
Why dislocate Jacob's hip?
Did any of the entourage on the other side of the river see what was going on?
How could Jacob wrestle all night at his age?
What did Jesus say when He blessed Jacob?

All these questions and more will just have to go on that list that we'll pursue answers for in heaven. But there is great value, ladies, to spending time envisioning the stories of the Bible. Too often we rely on the flannel graph memories of Sunday School and don't allow our mind to paint the picture itself.

So let me encourage you today to go back and read the story (Genesis 32:22-32) and spend some time stepping in the sandals of Jacob, or sit with the women and children on the other side of the river and watch the struggle. Then let your mind drift towards heaven and think about what this story reveals about our Savior. We discussed a few things, but there is so much more to ponder. I think this story is much more about Him than it is about Jacob. And finally determine to hang on to the Lord during your times of struggle and trials - just like Jacob, don't let go of Him. Just hang on for dear life. The wrestling is good because it is the conforming work of the Father who promises not to give us more than we can handle.

Remember, Jacob was at the end of his rope and yet he was still able to wrestle at 95 all night with God.

By the way, the picture above was one of two that I found that didn't have Jacob wrestling with a person in white, with angel wings and long, flowing blond hair, so I think this is the actual shot of the conflict. ; )


  1. Hosea 12:2-6 and the rest of the chapter has a very interesting point of of view on this portion of Jacob's life.

    If this comment goes through it will be my first here.

    Have fun and stay busy - Luke 19:13

    -The Orange Mailman

  2. Welcome, Orange! You figured it out! Yes, we looked at Hosea as well...our underlying theme of the study of Genesis has been that this is God's story. God will accomplish His will for His glory, despite man's sin. Changing Jacob's name to Israel (wrestles with God) was more prophetic than an afterthought. As you well know, that wrestling continues today, but God, in His gracious mercy and patience, continues to allow the wrestling to continue, all the while directing their path to His conclusion. Thanks for posting...

  3. I've been wondering if it was during this wrestling match that God gifted Jacob with faith. When Isaac asks Jacob how he so quickly brought him the game to eat, Jacob replies with, "Because the Lord your God caused it to happen to me." He doesn't view God as his own at this point. Then at Bethel, Jacob makes a vow to God that "if" God would be with him, keep him, give him food and garments, and return him safely to his father's house after he goes to find a wife, he says, "then the LORD will be my God." Years later, after the wrestling match, when he blessed Joseph, he says, "the angel who has redeemed me from all evil." (Gen. 48:16) Was this wrestling match to being Jacob to faith? God always wins those whom He calls even though we fight it some times...

  4. Those are good points, Kathy. Henry Morris and several other commentaries say that the word "if" would be better translated "since" - I think he was saying that since God had promised to be with him, etc, then Jacob would make Him his God. I think you see Him credit God for his blessing within the house of Laban as well. But the wrestling match was definitely a turning point in Jacob's life, seen by the name change...