Summary: Wrestle with God – just do it! You’ll walk away with a new identity, a new walk (a limp) and a new relationship that will empower you.
I. WRESTLING MATCH BETWEEN GOD & JACOB – EACH OF US COULD VISUALIZE OURSELVES IN THE WRESTLING RING WITH GOD
A. Many Of You Are Fighters – Strong Willed
1. Fight God in his will - ask lots & lots of questions – questioning
2. Arguing with God, reasoning, bargaining, wrestling
B. Jacob Was A Fighter From Birth
1. Before born – wrestled with brother Esau in womb
2. Later when they were born
a. Esau came first, but Jacob grabbed brother by heel as if to pull him back - effort to be firstborn
b. firstborn = position of prominence in Hebrew family.
c. Jacob was given his name because of this action.
d. his name = "cheater, one who grabs from behind"
3. Perhaps from your earliest years – you’ve been a fighter
a. survivalist - nothing came to you easy
b. if you got anything – wasn’t just handed to you
C. Jacob’s Wrestling Continued As He Grew Up
1. Esau returns from hunt, Jacob boiling soup
a. Esau asked for soup because he was hungry.
b. that’s simple request – but nothing easy for Jacob
c. He’s looking to do business - to make a deal
d. not through with grabbing Esau by the heel.
e. I’ll sell you some soup for your birthright !
f. Jacob was a wrestler – wrestled for the birthright
2. Listen to what he does to his own Father
a. Isaac, his father is old – almost totally blind
b. Isaac wanting some of Esau’s venison
c. while Esau away, Jacob dresses like Esau, pretends
d. wrestled dad for blessing that belonged to his brother
3. His wrestling cost him dearly – now on the run
a. he had to leave – had put himself of being unsafe
b. would never see his dad again – he died
c. was close to his mother – but never see her again
4. Now 15 years later – wanting to return
a. everything was about to come full circle
b. (Genesis 32:7) Jacob knows he has to face brother
II. THREE ENCOUNTERS JACOB EXPERIENCED THAT DIFFICULT NIGHT
A. Jacob Came Face To Face With The Lord (vv. 22-26)
1. Twenty years before, Jacob had met the Lord at Bethel; now God came to him again in his hour of need (vv. 28, 30)
a. God wants to meet us--at level He finds us at
b. to Abraham the pilgrim, God came as traveler (Gen 18)
c. to Joshua the general, He came as soldier (Josh 5:13)
d. to Jacob had spent most of his adult life wrestling with people — so God came to him as a wrestler
2. They “wrestled”
a. wrestle = grapple with – to get dusty, down & dirty with
b. very fine powder or dust – not course, but finest of dust
-- dust of the dust - signifies utter insignificance
-- God will go to whatever level to meet you & join you at whatever level to wrestle
c. Jacob prevailed – not that he won – but he didn’t stop short
-- God wants to know you’re serious about this thing
-- too many people stop short in wrestling with God
-- too many give up to easily on God – throw hands up God says – stay engaged with me, stay at it
3. At Bethel, God had promised to bless Jacob
a. from a material point of view, Jacob was blessed – wealthy
-- but more to blessing than flocks, herds, and servants
-- there’s also the matter of godly character and spiritual influence
-- bless me = “change me, make me godly, I don’t want to be a deceiver – change me within”
-- Jacob refused to stop short, but held on for this
b. when you say “bless me, God” – what are you asking for
-- flocks, herds, servants, material stuff
-- or true blessing – godly character
-- don’t stop short – to settle for second best!!!
4. Eventually Jacob had to surrender
a. Jacob discovered that he’d spent his life fighting God and resisting His will, and that the only way to victory was through surrender.
b. as A.W. Tozer said, "The Lord cannot fully bless a man until He has first conquered him."
c. God conquered Jacob by weakening him.
B. Jacob Also Came Face To Face With Himself (vv. 27-32)
1. More than anything else, Jacob wanted the blessing of the Lord
a. before we can begin to be like the Lord – character
b. we have to face ourselves and admit what we are in ourselves.
2. That’s why the Lord asked him, "What is your name?"
a. the last time Jacob was asked that question, he told a lie!
b. his father asked, "Who are you, my son?" and Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your firstborn" (27:18-19)