Summary: WE all need a limp, just as Jacob wrestled and God touched him, let’s be like him
WRESTLING WITH GOD
I need a limp - a life changing limp.
I have told you we need it but I have not shown you how.
Today I would like to take that one step further and show you how we can get a limp by wrestling with God, then it’s up to you.
Unfortunately too many Christians spend very little time with God, let alone pressing in to God or wouldn’t even think about wrestling with God.
A leadership magazine survey of pastors in the Australia found that the average pastor spent less than ten minutes a day with God. Too many Christians have not learned to press in to have a genuine encounter with God.
Fifteen minutes of prayer may be the maximum they have ever prayed, and the idea wrestling with God, seems impossible to them. I know it is difficult. I like to rise early in the morning to pray. I find that is the best time for me. But the flesh rises up every time. Why not stay in bed a while longer? Its too much effort to pray this morning; its too dark; too cold; and I’m too tired. That flesh continues to rise up. I have to deal with it daily and so will you.
Paul talks about putting to death the old man - and that’s not your father or ladies he’s not talking about your husbands - he’s talking about taking the flesh by the throat and not letting it dictate to you.
Let’s read Gen 32:22-32
But during the night Jacob got up and sent his two wives, two concubines, and eleven sons across the Jabbok River. After they were on the other side, he sent over all his possessions. This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until dawn. When the man saw that he couldn’t win the match, he struck Jacob’s hip and knocked it out of joint at the socket. Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is dawn."
But Jacob panted, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
"What is your name?" the man asked. He replied, "Jacob."
"Your name will no longer be Jacob," the man told him. "It is now Israel, because you have struggled with both God and men and have won." "What is your name?" Jacob asked him.
"Why do you ask?" the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.
Jacob named the place Peniel--"face of God"--for he said, "I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared." The sun rose as he left Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. That is why even today the people of Israel don’t eat meat from near the hip, in memory of what happened that night.
This passage talks about him wrestling with a man yet God. This speaks of a Christophany - which is the appearance of God in the form of a man. It was actually the pre-incarnate Son of God. He wrestled with God the Son.
Jacob wrestled with God. This was a life changing event. From this time on Jacob was never the same again. He had a new walk, and soon a new name, and a new character.
But before that happened Jacob had to do some stuff first. How many people know before a move of God comes in our lives we have to do some stuff first?
1. Jacob Needed to Face the Past
Jacob had to face the past.
His past had been one of trickery and deceit. In his early life he had sown deceit - tricking his brother Esau out of the Father’s blessing - by deceit. Jacobs very name means trickster, supplanter, and deceiver. In those days of course names meant so much more than they do now. Names were often expressions of the person’s character. They were a constant reminder to the person’s family, to his friends and to his colleagues of the type of person he was.
Whenever Jacob’s mother called out his name, she was making a statement about her son. Whenever Esau thought with hatred of his brother who had stolen his birthright and his blessing and then run away to preserve his life, he thought of him not only by the name of a deceiver, but it showed in his character. How many of us know that if we sow deceit, we reap deceit?
In that far away country he fell in love with Rachel, one of Laban’s two daughters. The arrangement was that he would work for seven years and then marry Rachel. But Laban tricked him by substituting his less pretty daughter Leah, and Jacob only found out after the wedding night and the marriage had been consummated.