January 23, 2012 – A Wresting Match

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Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Genesis 32:26


When my son was in high school I begged him not to try out for football and suggested wrestling instead. I thought wrestling would be safer. Yes, naive, I know. My thought process was that he won’t suffer any falls because well, they have that mat. And it is padded. Well, little did I know wrestling was worse than football!  It’s not like the WWF shows my Dad used to watch when I was little – you know, the fake ones where no one really gets hurt? My son owes his first (and I’m hoping, only) ambulance ride to one of his wrestling matches! (Wait, it wasn’t even a match, it was just practice.) Anyway, in case you haven’t been to one, at any point in the game your face could be next to someone’s face, foot, backside or splayed down on that (padded) mat. It’s not pretty. 


That is how I imagined Jacob wrestling with the Man (pre-incarnate Christ). All his life, Jacob has relied on his own strength. He is very resourceful and if something goes wrong, he runs. By the time we get to Genesis 32, he was at the end of his rope. He was trapped. He couldn’t go back to Laban and he was afraid of what lies ahead with Esau and his posse of 400 men. He is not even sure that his wife and children would be around 24 hours later. What if Esau harms them? Jacob came face to face with his greatest fear. Verse 24 says: And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. (KJV)  When Jacob was alone, without any distractions, God also showed up. 


In my prior readings, I always thought that Jacob was winning this match. After all, he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Like how the bully bends someone’s arm and won’t let go until the victim says “Uncle?” That’s how I pictured it. But as Pastor Chuck Smith pointed out, in Hosea 12:3-4a:


In the womb, that heel, Jacob, got the best of his brother. When he grew up, he tried to get the best of God. But God would not be bested. God bested him. Brought to his knees, Jacob wept and prayed. (The Message)

Pastor Chuck said, “Hosea says he was at this point broken. He was weeping. He was crying. He was pleading. He was actually saying in essence, “please don’t go without blessing me. I can’t let you go.” (www.blueletterbible.org)


Brought to his knees, weeping and pleading. That touched my heart. Are you in a wrestling match with God? Down on your knees, weeping and pleading?

“Please, Lord, I can’t do this on my own. I am tired and I want to just give up.”

“Please don’t let go of my child.”

“Please get ahold of my spouse.”

“Please heal my friend.”



It was at this point of surrender that Jacob’s name changed. Whereas his old name meant “heel holder” or “supplanter,” Israel according to Strong’s H3478 means “God prevails.” When we get to our Peniel, and we come face to face with God. we need to surrender our self-will and our rights. We need to confess our sins and admit our weaknesses. When we surrender and let God prevail, He changes our names and we are never the same again.


 [Reading from  Blue Letter Bible Chronological Plan]


4 thoughts on “January 23, 2012 – A Wresting Match

  1. G & P, I just could not help myself smile when you encouraged your son to wrestle rather than play football! Oh, to be there at that first site, and to truly see your face when reality of the sport hit. Lol Loved your post today, you drew me right in to that mach and lifted me up with a mental visual of one on their knees, weeping and pleading: surrendering their will over to their Father. It is His desire, to carry our load for us after all. What a beautiful reminder to us this morning, G & P., denying ourselves, taking our cross and following after Jesus. Following Jesus demands complete obedience to Him, daily making that choice. Yes, it does cost us many things and requires movement and growth along the way, – an action on our part; – but, His presence makes it more than worth it! Your reading had everything to do with what came alive to me in my own reading from the Chronological Bible! I’m amazed at how the Holy Spirit is using all these different readings to draw us to God’s heart! “My eyes are red with weeping:Dark shadows circle my eyes…My advocate is there on high….IPour out my tears to God.I need someone to mediate between God and me,As a person mediates between friends.” (Job 16-21).Job kept weeping and pleading as his own suffering grew more and more unbearable. He expressed the desperate need for a mediator, which made it all the more reassuring to me this morning how truly blessed we are. Reading our Bible daily and praying, pleading and weeping to God allows the indwelling Holy Spirit to enlighten our understanding. Our prayers bring us peace. A peace that transcends anything we could ever understand. A peace we can’t even explain, but is there, bringing us to our knees and lifting up our worries to our loving Father. Letting Him carry our load and placing our trust in His plan.We are learning that many times we do not understand why we encounter disappointments, and sufferings, but we can believe and trust in God since He always has our best interest at the core of His heart. “My hope will go down with me to the grave” (Job 17:16).May God’s peace follow you today and draw you closer to Him. What a blessing we have here together, as we study His Word together! Lori

  2. I loved what you wrote G&P, and now I feel I have a better picture in my mind and a clearer understanding of the wrestling match Jacob had with Jesus. And he then limped the rest of his life because of it. He could no longer run from God. He was reminded daily of God’s power and sovereignty. It tells me that it isn’t always in our best interest to ask God to take away our “limps”…..because then we are apt to begin to forget who we are with Him. I am encouraged as I continue to read about Jacob…flaws and all….that God still loves him and uses him in big ways. He makes many mistakes in his life, and so do I….yet, because of Jesus’ work on the cross, I am safe and secure in God’s love. What grace.Morgen

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