Prepare – Genesis 32:24-26
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.
Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
I remember one time when I was about 12 years old when my best friend and I got into what started as a friendly wrestling match. We wrestled around on the ground, attempting to get the other to give up. I don’t know what we were thinking. There was no way either of us was going to give in. After a while, both of our temperatures started to rise a little, and before we knew it, we were in a full-fledged, all-out wrestling match that was no longer very friendly. Wrestling is very exhausting and tiring. But there was no way either of us was going to give in to the other. We both wanted victory!
There was a man in the Bible who wrestled with God the entire night, and because he was unwilling to give up, he received God’s blessing on his life.
Jacob had been tracked down by his father-in-law Laban because Laban was under the impression that when Jacob left, he took with him some of the household goods. Laban went from tent to tent searching for the stolen items, only to find nothing.
After Laban left, Jacob sent news to his brother Esau. Esau told the messenger that he would come to meet Jacob. Jacob then sent ahead of him all of his wives, children and possessions, and he stayed behind to experience one incredible night with God.
In verse 24, we learn that Jacob wrestled with God, who was in the form of an angel. Jacob had struggled earlier in his life to have favor in his father’s eyes, Laban’s eyes, or in his brother Esau’s eyes. But now it was just Jacob and God all alone. Jacob came face to face with God, and he was unwilling to give up! This passage tells us that he wrestled all night with God. The form in which God appeared, Jacob was able to overcome by persistence. So the man (God) touched the hip socket of Jacob to bring this long, tiring struggle to an end. Jacob was not about to let this man go, however, until he got what he wanted. Look at verse 26. Jacob wanted God to bless him. Jacob finally came to a place in his heart realizing that his blessing must come from God. He was asking for God’s grace and favor on his life. Jacob’s request for a blessing was nothing materialistic. It was a request of will and position. It was a blessing to Jacob to receive God’s favor as God changed his name from Jacob to Israel. Because of his struggle, he overcame, and now God was exalted in his life – that is the blessing!
~ Pastor Andy Veith