Summary: Our Prayer life is what determines the blessing.
Tonight I want to talk to you about how to obtain the life that God wants you to have.
Tonight I want to talk to you about two individuals that had something in common.
These two men lived on this earth hundreds of years apart from one another yet they met each other one night. While on earth they had many differences, but they had one non denying similarity, they were men of prayer.
Genesis 32:22-31 NKJV
22 And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. 24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”
But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
27 So He said to him, “What is your name?”
He said, “Jacob.”
28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.”
And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” 31 Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank.
I. Before Jacob entered the land of Promise he first had to wrestle with God
In our lives it as at the moment when God is fixing to bless us that he sometimes chooses to wrestle with us. We must choose to hold on and as Jacob did and wait for the blessing!
That night a “Man” whom Jacob assumed to be an angel or theophany (a preincarnate appearance of God in human form, v. 30) wrestled with him. Who is this Man? We’re not sure, some suggest it was an angel others suggest that it was Christ himself, the redeemer. I believe it was indeed Christ himself, for it says that he saw God face to face. The main point to understand is that he was divine. In the struggle the Man touched the back of Jacob’s thigh. Some commentators feel the ball and socket there were thrown out of joint. Others say that a ligament (sinew, or tendon) was torn. Either way, Jacob was left with a permanent limp.
Sometimes a wound is a very special act of God’s grace. See wounds and scars help us to remember what exactly we had to go through. Jacob struggled to hold onto the man, for after suffering the wound he must have realized how much more powerful this Visitor was than he himself, and he wanted His blessing.
How often we need to be wounded for the same reason! It’s easy for us to trust our own skills and abilities. But sometimes a wound (physically, or in a broken relationship, or in the failure of a much-loved plan) will remind us to cling to God again, totally dependent on Him for blessing. How good it is that God doesn’t hold back from hurting us—for our own good.
See before God would bless Jacob he asked him a question. He asked him “what is your name?” See back then names had meaning to them. In essence your name told everyone what kind of person you were. Jacob meant deceiver. For that’s exactly what he was. So in order for him to tell this man who he was he at the same time had to confess his life. After he told who he was when God blessed him.
In this experience Jacob received a new name: Israel, “he who strives with God.” Jacob had struggled with God, refusing to give up until God blessed him. That name may well represent the transformation of character that had begun in Jacob. But now the wound remained, a constant reminder of Jacob’s need for God.
A Jacob wholly dependent on God can become an Israel. What can we become if we let each wound draw us closer to the Lord and make us more dependent on Him? What is impossible for us to achieve if God is behind us, if we submit ourselves to God. But we have to submit ourselves to him. I can do ALL things, through Christ who strengthens me! But I have to have faith in Him, every aspect of my life has to be dependent upon him. Every breath I take, every move I make, every thought I have has to be about Him.