Wrestling with God

Today’s Readings
Genesis 31-32, Matthew 9:18-38

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22 Jacob got up during the night, took his two wives, his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed the Jabbok River’s shallow water. 23 He took them and everything that belonged to him, and he helped them cross the river. 24 But Jacob stayed apart by himself, and a man wrestled with him until dawn broke. 25 When the man saw that he couldn’t defeat Jacob, he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and tore a muscle in Jacob’s thigh as he wrestled with him. 26 The man said, “Let me go because the dawn is breaking.”

But Jacob said, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”

27 He said to Jacob, “What’s your name?” and he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name won’t be Jacob any longer, but Israel, because you struggled with God and with men and won.”

29 Jacob also asked and said, “Tell me your name.”

But he said, “Why do you ask for my name?” and he blessed Jacob there. 30 Jacob named the place Peniel, “because I’ve seen God face-to-face, and my life has been saved.” 31 The sun rose as Jacob passed Penuel, limping because of his thigh. 32 Therefore, Israelites don’t eat the tendon attached to the thigh muscle to this day, because he grabbed Jacob’s thigh muscle at the tendon (Genesis 32:22-32, Common English Bible).

When my boys were younger they loved to watch professional wrestling. When they did, because this form of entertainment can be a walk on the wild side, I usually tried to watch it with them.

I remember one particular bout (I used the term very loosely as professional wrestling is long on entertainment and very short on sport) was between Rey Mysterio Jr. and Kevin Nash. Mysterio stands 5′ 6″ and weighs about 175 lbs. Kevin Nash, particularly by comparison is 6′ 10″ and weighs 328 lbs. In this particular (the two faced each other several times) case Mysterio won. If this event had actually been a real fight, it would have been a real “David and Goliath” event and once again, David had won.

In the David and Goliath Bible story, it was not a requirement of David that he get within reach of Goliath. The same cannot be said, the same would not be true in wrestling. The same cannot be said of wrestling. Despite the size difference, weight difference and reach difference, Mysterio won the match. In reality, once the much larger Nash grabbed Mysterio, something he did more than once, the fight would be all but over.

All this is to say, Mysterio, in a real wrestling match, would have a slightly better possibility of beating Kevin Nash as Jacob had to beat God in today’s highlighted lesson. If God is omnipotent, and God is, Jacob never had a chance. As I read the story, God is really toying with Jacob. It is a fight Jacob couldn’t win.

In other stories of Scripture, we can see characters who wrestle with God. They always lose. One such character was Jonah. God wanted Jonah to go one way and Jonah wanted to go another. Jonah had thought he might win, but he became fish food and still ended up where God wanted him to begin with.

What is true in the Bible is equally true today. When God calls on us, when God has an idea for us to do, to wrestle with God is a fight we can’t win. God has all the power. God holds all the cards. In the end, we most likely will do what God calls us to do. It just might be a good idea to start out following divine instructions.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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