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!!