Enthusiastic about Faith: Wrestling with God

Not long ago, I shared that I was a Bible hoarder. If you missed that post, you can read it here. But, just as I suspected, now I’m reading scripture with fresh eyes.

You all probably remember the story of how Jacob stole his twin brother’s blessing and birthright? Then, when Esau threatened to kill him, Jacob fled to live with his uncle for over two decades while he worked off the wages for two brides. When God instructed Jacob to venture back to his homeland, the land God had promised to give him, his brother came to meet with 400 men. Naturally Jacob was terrified. I’m not sure I’d have worked up the courage to get that far. What about you?

Jacob prayed and split his family into groups, sending the servants loaded with gifts for Esau well ahead of him and his precious wives and children. As always, the fact that Jacob spent the night wrestling with God made me pause. Was this a real wrestling match or an all night prayer meeting, wrestling with fear and guilt over what he’d done to his brother? Whatever, Jacob left that morning with a limp. And all for what? Because he refused to surrender God’s blessing. Ironic, isn’t it? The very thing that sparked his rapid departure in the first place…stealing his brother’s blessing.

Jacob expected a battle, but his brother greeted him with a kiss. Surprise, surprise.

But isn’t that always the case where God is concerned? He divided the Red Sea, fed thousands with a little boy’s lunch, called a man from the grave, and yet somehow I forget how mighty God is, that He makes miracles from my messes, and that He is more than able to restore broken relationships.

If only I’d ask…

And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. ~1 John 5:14-15

My takeaway from Jacob’s experience…

Obedience rewards. Although Jacob must have quaked in his sandals when God instructed him to go back to his homeland, he obeyed. The reward was a restored relationship with his twin, but he also became Israel, a founder of nations and kings.

Persistent prayer pays off.  Frightened, Jacob prayed for God’s protection and recalled God’s promise that He’d make his “descendants like the sand of the sea.” (Gen 32:12 NIV) And then again when he wrestled with God all night, persevering until God blessed him.

Don’t make hasty decisions. Jacob remained where he was for the night to pray and regroup.

Expect favor. Our God is bigger and mightier than any problem I might face, and when I ask Him for help, His response is to bless.

Oh, and my old Bible? I moved it to my desk. All those highlights and notes make for a fabulous research reference. 🙂