Summary: Pentecost 21(C) - Believers wrestle with God both in troubles and also for blessings.

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October 25, 2009 --


Genesis 32:22-30

INTRO: Today’s text teaches about Jacob struggling. Our earthly lives are filled with various struggles that everyone wrestles with from time to time. At times people wrestle with problems, worries, or even sorrows. At other times people may even struggle with other people. Scripture reminds believers that the struggles in this life are with the authorities, the powers of darkness. Evil is all around. When Jesus took upon himself human flesh he faced the struggles that mankind faced. Satan used this time to try to lead Jesus astray. Satan lost and Jesus won. Jesus never struggled alone. "He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.’" (MATTHEW 26:42).


I. In troubles. II. For blessing.


A. Jacob was coming home. He fled for his life many years before. His brother Esau vowed to kill him.

1. Jacob sent gift after gift after gift to appease Jacob. Jacob watched all these gifts leave camp.

2. Verses 22, 23. Jacob sends his family and possessions across the Jabbok. They are now safe.

B. Verse 24. Jacob now wrestles with a man. Notice: Jacob – Jabbok – “acuck” (wrestle in Hebrew).

C. Jacob is persistent as he wrestles with this man. Jacob is struggling here as he did in his entire life.

1. Verse 25. Jacob is now crippled for the rest of his earthly life. He will never forget.

2. Jacob will no longer put so much trust in his own strength. Daylight is coming, verse 26a.

D. What are you struggling with in your life? At times personal problems and worldly worries can seem all consuming and overwhelming. The Lord invites every believer to wrestle with him. Our heavenly Father reminds us to cast off our earthly cares and turn to him for his help. Too often the things of this world distract our focus in life. By grace God has given the believer faith. God also gives every believer divine strength to continue in his grace. We need to pay attention to that path God has chosen for each one of us. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every-thing that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (HEBREWS 12:1). Learn from God’s word the examples that point you to heaven.

E. What are you struggling with today? Is it personal problems, money problems, or just plain general worry about everything earthly? All too often we think our struggle is with people, money, or things. At times it can be – but not to the extent we might assume. We focus on those things that we can see, feel, and touch. Yet, God wants each of us to focus on what is truly important. God wants us to wrestle with him that we might better appreciate those things that are eternal. "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 CORIN. 4:17,18).

F. Believers wrestle with God. The Lord wants us to challenge him with our most difficult needs and our greatest problems. The Lord has promised believers that he will never leave them nor ever forsake them. Sometimes believers forget this very precious promise of the Lord God Almighty. You know the Lord. What he says he always does. What the Lord promises he always fulfills. The Lord is always with us in good times and especially in troubles. "What the wicked dreads will overtake him; what the righteous desire will be granted. When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever" (PROVERBS 10:24,25). The Lord provides for all especially those he loves.

BELIEVERS WRESTLE WITH GOD in troubles of any and every kind.

The Lord hears and helps.


A. Jacob struggled with many problems, all by his own doing and thinking. Jacob worried about Esau.

1. Would Esau receive him as a brother or as an enemy? Now Jacob wrestles with a man.

2. This man desires to leave before the dawning day. Jacob demands a blessing, verse 26b.

B. Verse 27. This man wants Jacob to remember the meaning of his name: “heel grabber / deceiver”.

1. This would change, verse 28. Jacob becomes Israel – “wrestle with God”.

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