Sermon Illustrations

Life Examples: Jacob: Wrestling with God (Gen. 32:24-32)

The story of Jacob alternately comforts and confounds. For while we could look upon many of his decisions with contempt-and even wonder why God would so favor such a man-it equally reassures us to realize that the God who extended grace to Jacob also extends it to us.

In a famous episode described in Genesis 32, Jacob wrestles with a powerful stranger that he later concludes is God. Some scholars believe that Jacob wrestled with the pre-incarnate Christ; others consider the opponent an angel. Still others suggest that Jacob wrangled with God only in prayer. In any event, the nation Israel received its name from Jacob, whom God renamed "Israel", meaning, "he struggles with God.

Despite his many failings, weaknesses, and subsequent sorrows, Jacob was elected and loved of God (Mal. 1:2; Rom. 9:10-13). And through his strange wrestling match, he provides us with a model of the effort required for effective prayer (Col. 4:12).

-The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible