Summary: We win with God by losing.
HOW TO WRESTLE GOD AND WIN
S: God’s blessing
Th: Prayer: A Passion for His Presence
Pr: WE WIN WITH GOD BY LOSING.
TS: We will discover in Genesis 32 three needs that we have in order to win in our losing battle with God.
The _____ need we have is a…
RMBC 06 January 02 AM
1. Have you ever entered into a struggle that you knew you could not win?
When I was in high school in Genesee county, I was on the wrestling team…
And I was back. I had been away a longtime. There was great tension in the air. The band was playing. The crowd was already full of excitement. Entering into the gymnasium were two powerhouses of the area’s high school wrestling teams: Byron-Bergen and Attica—both in first in their respective leagues. And I was on one of those teams (Byron-Bergen), wrestling first in the lowest weight class, 98.
It was the end of the season. I had been out for two months with a back injury that was still bothering me. But I wanted to go the finals, and I needed the tune up. I already had sewn up the number one seed in the sectionals, but I needed the work. I was nervous. Would my back hold? I didn’t feel strong. I was out of shape. But I was hoping that I would be clever enough to survive and win in unfriendly territory.
The whistle blew to bring the two of us out to the mat. I shook hands with the fellow I was about to wrestle and as I looked at him, I wondered how he fit all that muscle into 98 pounds. But that didn’t worry me. I had beaten some real muscular guys before. I was worried about my back. The whistle blew and the match began. I was tentative. Then our first clash. He grabbed my wrist. All of sudden, I froze. I said to myself, “Oh-oh!” No one had ever grabbed me with such strength before. But I was going to do the best I could, no matter how strong this guy was.
For five minutes, I held the guy off with every trick I knew, but during the third period with a minute to go, I found myself looking at the wonders of the steel structure that held up the roof, and then, a resounding slap on the mat. It was over. It was the first and only match that I lost by being pinned.
You know, as soon as the match began, I knew I was not going to win.
It’s not that I gave up.
I was a realist.
I was not in shape to win.
I was just hoping to finish the match against a superior opponent.
Speaking of struggle, I wonder if any of you have ever struggled with prayer?
If you have, join the club.
2. This year, our emphasis is on the subject of prayer.
Our theme is “Prayer: A Passion for His Presence.”
And our theme verse is the prayer of Jabez that is found in I Chronicles 4:10.
This year, it is my desire that we, as a church family, would be renewed in terms of our relationship with God, and, as a result, appreciate anew this great gift God has given us in prayer.
3. When we come to the story of Jacob in Genesis 32, some have viewed the story as an example of a heroic struggle about persisting in prayer.
I want to confess to you that I believe this story has nothing to do with persistence in prayer, even though I have heard many sermons interpret it that way.
This is not a story of extracting from God what one wants.
This is not about working an answer out of God.
This is not about wearing God out until He says “yes.”
But there is a lesson for us that will ultimately apply to prayer as we get to the end of our study (no looking ahead!).
4. Because he (Jacob) has struggled all his life, we will see in our study that Jacob (he) has certain needs.
Interestingly, Jacob was a twin that was born clutching his older brother’s heal.
Because of that, he was literally named, “one who grabs the heal,” Jacob.
And he lived up to the name.
Up to our story today, he had been grabbing at things all his life.
I like how one person put it…
“Jacob was the kind of person that could enter a revolving door behind you and come out ahead of you.”
As we come to the context of today’s text, we find that…
5. Context: Jacob is worried about a meeting with his brother, Esau (22-23).