Thursday, March 27, 2014

So You Think You're Wrestling With God?

Everybody says it’s the story of Jacob wrestling with God. I see it the other way. It was God wrestling with Jacob. Man is not capable of wrestling with God with some hope of controlling the outcome. God was wrestling with Jacob in order for Jacob to realize how much he needed Him.


The wrestling match started after Jacob told God of his fears about reuniting with his brother, Esau, who when last heard from had promised to kill Jacob. Jacob wanted to return home but was afraid Esau would carry out his threat, so he prayed for God to keep him safe. In that prayer he reminded God of the promise to create a vast nation from him, as though he had bargaining chips to throw out on the table.
Then the wrestling began and lasted all night. Remember he’s wrestling God who dispatches His opponents with the word of His mouth. Thinking he has God in a power grip, God simply touches his hip and knocks it out of socket. In desperation, Jacob, now defeated, begs for blessing. The blessing is changing his name to the name by which God intends to complete his work in Jacob’s life. He is now Israel—God will contend. As Jacob, in his own strength and determination, he was far too limited to accomplish what God had in mind. He could contend only so far and usually by trickery. His ability to contend with people lacked the spiritual impact that would fulfill God’s intentions. God wrestled with Jacob so that He could contend for Israel. He subdued one so He could fight for the other.

In his prayer, Jacob asked God to be faithful, which is like asking a Suma wrestler if he is heavy. Of course God is faithful! We don’t make Him so, or declare Him so, He is so! But the greater issue from God’s perspective was could He trust Jacob to be faithful to trust Him as faithful. The test was not about whether God would take care of Jacob’s concerns but would Jacob yield his life, family and future to God’s intentions of how He would take care of Jacob.
The times we struggle with God have nothing to do with Him but everything to do with His desire to strengthen our faith to trust Him more. Jesus proved God’s ability to change circumstances. But why would He do so until He has accomplished His purpose through those circumstances?

The battle today will not determine God’s faithfulness. He’s not being tested. It is designed to give us the opportunity to let Him be faithful in our behalf. Don’t think we are wrestling with our problems. Our problems are wrestling with us to see if we have the courage to trust God to win the battle for us.

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