Summary: God wrestles with Jacob to make him stop running and deal with his problems.
TOUCHED BY GOD
1. Hidden treasures:
a) June 6, 2003—A National Geographic team working with Iraqi and U.S. military authorities recovered one of the greatest archaeological treasure troves of all time.
• A vault was discovered below the Central Bank in Baghdad, where they found priceless objects from royal tombs.
• The Nimrud treasures -- date from the eighth and ninth centuries B.C. consist of gold jewelry, precious metals and other artifacts.
• It is considered to be one of the richest discoveries of the century.
b) In 1947, two Bedouin boys were looking after some sheep and goats at Qumran, by the North West cliffs of the Dead Sea.
• One of the boys threw a rock into a cave hoping to scare out any animal that was lurking in there.
• Instead of a sheep or goat scurrying out, they heard pottery breaking.
• The two boys crept into the cave and there on the floor, stuffed in pottery jars were scrolls made out of leather, they discovered the famous Dead Sea Scrolls.
2. Many priceless treasures have been discovered by accident.
a) We are going to look at a hidden treasure in the Bible.
b) It is a story so insignificant, so hidden amongst the great events of the Bible that it is nearly overlooked.
c) Yet it is so huge, that God chose to name a nation after it.
I. THE EVENT: GOD WRESTLES WITH MAN!
1. How many saw Hulk Hogan wrestling with Rocky Balboa in the movie: Rocky III?
a) Hulk Hogan became the most famous face of the WWF, World Wrestling Federation.
b) The Bible has its own version of WWF, but it would stand for “Wrestling with the Father.”
c) The famous man who wrestled with the Father, was a man named Jacob.
d) Jacob both won and lost that match with God.
e) Instead of carrying away a belt of victory, he carried away a permanent limp but he also received a new title from God: “Israel” (meaning: he struggles with God).
2. We will begin with the wrestling match.
a) Then we will do a flashback on how Jacob found himself in the ring with God.
b) And finally, we will see what happens when a person successfully wrestles with God and doesn’t quit.
3. Please turn to Genesis Chapter 32.
a) We have a ring-side seat to the most famous wrestling match of all time!
b) Genesis 32:22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon. Genesis 32:22-32 New International Version (NIV)
4. Remember back when we were kids?
a) There was that other kid that we dreaded to see.
b) We would either rely on
• our fists,
• our feet,
• or our wits to get us out of trouble
• …and we are probably still using the same tactics today as an adult.
c) Jacob was a runner.
d) He spent his entire life running from his problems and running from one bad relationship after another.
e) This time though, by divine appointment, he ran straight into the arms of God.
f) At first he fought to get away and then he fought to stay with God.
5. The night of the wrestling match:
a) Jacob sent his family and possessions across the river.
b) He was all alone,
his life was in ruins,
All he had left was prayer.
6. It was exactly where God wanted him to be.