Summary: Consider what it means and what it accomplishes when we wrestle with God.
Have you wrestled with God lately? What do I mean by wrestling with God?
There are times in our lives when we will wrestle with issues concerning our behavior or God’s will for our lives.
We will wrestle with God when we are considering His will.
We will wrestle with God when we are struggling with a decision.
We will wrestle with God when we are facing a moral crisis.
In Genesis 32 we find a man who wrestled with God. "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. He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 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. 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.” 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.” (Gen. 32:22-28 NKJV)
What do we know about wrestling with God? I want to do a simple two point sermon. First, I want to consider the place where we wrestle with God. Second, I want to consider the purpose of wrestling with God.
The first question is, what is the place where we wrestle with God?
It is normally a crisis in our lives. Jacob was alone! Jacob was afraid! Jacob was empty! At that moment of crisis God met him. Henry Blackaby says God brings us to a "crisis of decision." What are some of those crises?
- When the Holy Spirit is calling us to faith in Jesus Christ.
Ill- Paul faced such a crisis when he was converted. (Acts 9)
- When God is calling us to do a work for Him.
Ill- Samuel faced such a crisis when God spoke to him. (I Samuel 3)
- When God wants us to change our character and behavior.
Ill- Peter faced a crisis when God spoke to him about his prejudice. (Acts 10: 9-16)
We also wrestle with God at a strategic turning point. He wants to turn us or change us from one direction to another. Jacob was to change from being a self centered control freak to being submissive to God’s will.
The second question is, what is the purpose of why we wrestle with God?
We wrestle with God because He wants to change us. Jacob changed from Jacob the trickster to "Israel", God’s prince. God cannot change our character unless He first humble us and get our attention.
Ill- When we moved to our home in Woodlawn subdivision the house had a screened back porch. Buster, our outside dog, is bad to jump and scratch. Due to this we had to erect an electric wire around our screen porch in order to keep him from punching holes through the screen. That required a change in his behavior. We could not implement the change without some discomfort, thus the electric wire.
The ultimate purpose of wrestling with God is to secure our cooperation. Jacob was the ultimate control freak! Jacob was the ultimate manipulator! If he could not secure something easily he would manipulate circumstances in order to get his way. You cannot manipulate God. There must come a point when you bend your knee and say "not my will but thy will be done."