Summary: Jacob wrestled with the Lord all night, until the breaking of the day. The lesson that many us need to learn is that we are all wrestlers, but the time must come when we must let God win or be lost. Our walk will forever be changed just as Jacob's was.
The Wrestling Match
By Rev. James May
Jacob’s life had not been an easy one, but he had brought most of his problems upon himself. It had started from the moment he was conceived by Rebekah, after she became the wife of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham. Even in the womb there was a wrestling match going on and poor Rebekah was having a rough time.
When Isaac inquired of God to know the reason of this great struggle within Rebekah, he was told she was having twins and each was struggling for dominance over the other. In time, they would like two nations, with very different personalities, but that one would be stronger than the other but that the elder, the one born first, would serve the younger. Isaac and Rebekah prepared themselves for the many long days of arguing that would come along shortly as these two sons would grow up.
Even at the moment of birth, the second son reached out and grabbed hold of the first son’s foot as he was being delivered as though to say, “You aren’t going to get ahead of me, even if you were born first.”
This second son, with the personality of a deceiver and a conniving mind, which was already developing when he drew his first breath as a newborn child, was given the name, Jacob, and his elder brother was named Esau.
Esau was born full of red hair and almost looked like an animal when he was born, or at least like baby with a fur coat on. That must have been some sight to see! The scripture is pretty descriptive of how hairy that child was.
Genesis 25:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
As the twins grew up their opposite personalities grew even more pronounced and the competition between the two of them to gain the respect and love of their parents grew stronger all the time. Esau lived up to his nature and became a great hunter and man of the field. He loved camping, sleeping under the stars, fishing, hunting and all type of outdoor activities. Isaac loved Esau more because he was a man’s man, an excellent shot with a bow, and Isaac could always count of having fresh venison from every hunting trip that Esau took.
Jacob was the opposite to Esau and he became a homebody. He liked staying in the tent, out of the hot sun, hanging around Rebekah’s skirts. He learned to cook and clean the tent, and he won the heart of his mother because was just a spoiled mama’s boy who was always figuring a way to stay inside. While Esau was hunting, Jacob was at home cooking stew, and stewing on ways to cheat his brother as well. Jacob’s mind was always figuring ways to cheat somebody and to manipulate other people to get his own way.
Sooner or later, it was almost inevitable that these two brothers, with very different personalities, would clash in a manner that would bring division in the family. In the first place, when parents begin to show obvious preferential treatment of one child above another, there’s bound to be problems, so that didn’t help. But the real trouble was always brewing between Jacob and Esau.
I’m sure that most of you know the story of what brought the great wrestling match to a head. Jacob, the sneaking and conniving one, figured out a way to steal the birthright from Esau while Esau was out hunting. It all started with a bowl of stew! Jacob made the stew at home knowing that Esau would soon return from a long hunt and that Esau would be famished.
Genesis 25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. (Edom means, “red, earthy; of blood)
(Not to go too far into this right now because this isn’t the focus of this message exactly, but I do think it’s important to note that Esau’s desire to fulfill the needs of the flesh, and his love for the things of this world were the factors that drove him to make the biggest mistake of his life. We must ever guard against allowing the desires of the flesh, and the desire to have the things of this life, to take the place of wanting and desiring the things of God. Never make this world more valuable in your eyes, than the world that is come. This one is for a few short years, but the next one is for eternity.)
Genesis 25:31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. Here begins the manipulation of Jacob, always trying to find a way to get what he wants. But at least he recognized the value of what he was asking for.