Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Still Wrestling With God!

Genesis 32: 25-26 "And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me."

I am following-up on my thoughts from my last posting titled "Wrestling with God." As I mentioned, God is very precise in choosing His words. With that in mind, I was curious to know why was it that when God wrestled with Jacob, He struck the hollow of his thigh (hip). Perhaps one reason was that it was a way to stop Jacob from running. Jacob had been literally running, because he was afraid that the consequences of his poor choices were about to catch up with him. But with his hip hurting, he could no longer run.

We try to run too. We try to flee from who we are and what God wants to do with us. We try to escape by pursuing worldly things; sometimes by avoiding church or God's people. Sometimes we even try to escape through drugs or alcohol. We run, but the fact is we can never get away from the two people that we are ultimately trying to escape...God and ourselves!

Sooner or later, by God's grace, He will stop us from running (the easy way or the hard way...its your choice), and He will wrestle with us. His goal in doing so is not to destroy us, but to change us. Jacob wrestled until the break of day. Some of you have been wrestling all night, and you feel like its over for you, that you won't survive. Just hold on because the sun is about to rise in your life, and the day that breaks will be a bright new day. You will be a whole new person with a whole new life. God changed his name from Jacob (trickster) to Israel (Prince with God). You too will have a new name. You will no longer be known by what you used to do; you will be a Prince with God.

So if you are still wrestling with God, hold on. I know the night is dark and the pain is great, but you are about to see a brand new day dawn in your life. God is holding on to you because He loves you. Don't let go!!


Try Jesus!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wrestling with God!

Genesis 32: 24-25 "And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him."

Jacob was an interesting character in the Bible, who had an extraordinary walk with God. Like all of us, he had a sordid past that he was not proud of. He had managed to live up to his name (literal meaning "trickster"), and cheated his brother out of his birthright (read Genesis 27). And now he is on the run in fear of the consequences of his poor life choices. Ever been there? I have? But what I had to realize was that what I was trying to run from was not a circumstance, a consequence, or even another person. What Jacob and I both were trying to run from was ourselves. Jacob and I had to eventually stop running and allow God to deal with, or wrestle with...ME!

There are several points I'd like to cover in this sermon blog on this passage, but for now I will cover two that I think will help someone reading this, and then I will follow-up with my next posting.

The first thing to note is that Jacob was alone. God often needs to get us to ourselves in order to work on us. Distractions from other people and other things make it difficult to look within to see the change that needs to start with "me". So if you are feeling lonely, and it seems everyone has left you, maybe its that God has gotten you to yourself so that He can work on you.

Another thing that jumped out at me as I meditated on this passage was that the Bible says they "wrestled". I believe God is purposeful and precise with His choice of every word, so there had to be a reason He chose "wrestled" and not boxed, or raced, or argued, or the hundreds of other words He could have chosen. The reason I believe He chose this is because of the nature of wrestling. Let me explain.

I must admit that I like watching Ultimate Fighting. For those not familiar, it is a type of fighting that involves what they call Mixed Martial Arts; basically the fighters use all kinds of styles and techniques. Some start off boxing, or kicking, or elbowing, or you name it. But they often times end up on the mat wrestling, more or less. As I watch that, I see that wrestling is slow, drawn out, tiring, and involves very close contact. I mean they roll around on that mat and really get all up in each other's business, if you know what I mean.

That's why God chose to wrestle with Jacob and with us, because that requires us to have close contact with Him. That involves Him getting entangled with us, getting all up in our business, reaching into every corner and curve of our lives. Why? Well, because He doesn't want to just black our eye, which changes how we look on the outside, but will fade after a few days. No, He wants to really get in there and work on those things deep inside of who we are, and change us from the inside out.

Someone reading this is feeling what I have felt. You feel worn out and weary because of the wrestling. You feel all alone and you are dealing with some inner struggles that seem the be getting the best of you. Don't you worry. Though it feels bad, God is working on your good. He is getting in there and fighting those things in you that if left alone will destroy you. I know that because of this painful and seemingly unending struggle you are going through its hard for you to understand it, but God is doing this because He loves you. If He didn't, He wouldn't go to the trouble, and leave you the way you are or were.

Just hold on, let God do His work, and know that the outcome is......You Win!!


Try Jesus!