Have you ever found yourself wrestling with God in prayer? We often wrestle with God when we’re in a serious jam, facing failure, illness, or even death.
In Genesis 32, Jacob finds himself in peril. He’s facing his murderous brother the next day. His wealth, his life. and his family are in real danger.
And in one of the weirdest events recorded in the Bible, Jacob spends the night in a wrestling match with God.
For the first time in his life, Jacob grabs hold of God and won’t let go.
Be persistent, not passive.
In the Bible, prayer is often depicted as something like a wrestling match with God that requires persistence. Some of Jesus’ parables describe it this way, almost as if God is reluctant to grant our requests.
Martin Luther asked, “Why does God seem hostile to us in prayer?” He suggests, “Like a child trying to push against the hand of a parent, the parent gives only enough resistance to test the resolve of the child, so God resists us in prayer, to see our resolve in his goodness.”
God wants us to wrestle with him. He is testing our faith. He’s testing our resolve.
To win a wrestling match with God, choose dependence, not independence.
When Jacob grabs hold of God and says he won’t let go until he gets the blessing, he’s saying, “I can’t go into tomorrow and face my brother without you. I need you.”
You and I need to approach our challenges in the same way. We need to face every day dependent on God.
Focus on the relationship, not the resolution.
The greatest blessing from God is God himself.
Hold on tight to God. Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” (Genesis 32:26)
He’s giving you himself, as he gave himself to Jacob.
When you face whatever you’re facing, facing it with God, whatever the resolution, you win every time.
To learn more about wrestling with God, about the God who gives us new names, and how this story from Jacob's life points us to Christ, watch last weekend's sermon here.