Summary: Travailing in prayers will ensure that you prevail over situations that are oppressing you
Let me start by assuring you this morning that if there is a situation in your life that you are not happy with it, you’ve got the power to change that situation. Maybe you are struggling to meet your commitments, maybe your finances requires a touch, maybe your health is failing, maybe things are generally not going well with you. I’ve got news for you, as long as you are on the Lord’s side (Exodus 32:26) you’ve got that power. The bible in Jeremiah 1:19 says and they shall fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you.
Why am I so sure that you can bring change to your life? Because you have the authority! Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases (Luke 9:1). You and I have also got the power, the power to trample over serpents and scorpions, the power to decree a thing and heaven establishing such things, the power to ask and to receive. The bible (2 Corinthians 4: 7) says we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
How can you activate this authority? How can you change situations that have been oppressing you over the years? Through wrestling! Now, let’s take a close look at the events that night when the life of Jacob was completely turned around.
Gen 32: 22-28
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!”
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.”
Now let’s look at Jacob’s encounter with God, how he activated this authority
First, a few things about the character of Jacob:
• He grabbed the heels of his brother when they were about to be delivered from their mother’s womb
• He took the birthright from his brother
• He tricked his father into blessing him instead of his brother
• He was a supplanter, a trickster, a deceiver
• At this time when he wrestles with God, he wanted to reconcile with his brother. He has been away from home with Uncle Laban for 20 years, even though he was financially blessed, he wanted to a more significant change in his life. He was not happy with his situation, and he was eager to do something about it! Are you eager to change your underachievement? Are you tired of striving not thriving?
A few important points to consider today:
1. There can be no sanctification without separation
Jacob was preparing to go and meet his brother Esau, and at night he sends his family, servants, and possession across the ford at Jabbok. He sent his family and belongings away! He sent his 11 sons, 2 wives, 2 savants, and what he had; he sent all of them away. The lesson here is that sometimes you need to be alone, and spend quality time with God. Jesus, before he named his 12 disciples was on the mountain praying all night. Moses was on the mountains when he received the 10 commandments. In other words, there needs to be separation for there to be sanctification, consecration comes before justification, after which comes transformation. It is only after this that you can begin to talk about jubilation.
2. His Touch may sometimes be painful
Travailing may be a painful and difficult or burdensome work; it may be a toil, anguish or physical suffering. Remember when the bible says Elijah placed his face between his knees when praying! (1 Kings 18:42) It must have been challenging for the prophet of God. To prevail means ‘to prove superior in strength, power, or influence, to succeed; become dominant.’ But always remember that the effective, fervent prayer of the righteous avails much (James 5:16)
Now Jacob is pretty strong so he puts up a good scrap with his assailant. We know from a few chapters before the one we read that Jacob is strong because he moved the stone away from the well. His assailant sees that he is not winning the fight, so he touched the hollow of his thigh; and as a result the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. Are you willing to go the extra mile to attain what God has promised you?