Genesis 32:25–26: 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!”

July 16th, 2019 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Jacob was about to reenter the land God had promised to give to Abraham’s descendants. He sent all his family and his belongings across the Jabbok River, and was by himself. But God wasn’t about to allow Jacob to enter the land on his own terms or in his own strength. So He taught Jacob by appearing in the form of a man and wrestling with him. The match was not for sport, but to teach Jacob an important truth. God said to Jacob, “you have struggled with God . . . and have prevailed” (Gen. 32:28). But it is clear that Jacob didn’t “overcome” in the wrestling match, in the sense of defeating God. That nightlong wrestling match ended with, the at least 60-year-old (some calculate 97-year-old), Jacob getting a new name. God changed Jacob’s personal name from Jacob, meaning “deceiver” to Israel, meaning “he struggles with God” or “he is ruled by God.”

Wrestling with God seems like a strange thought, since it is a terrible mismatch at best. But there is something we can learn from Jacob, the wounded wrestler. God touched his hip, dislocating it, so all Jacob could do was cling to God and cry out for a blessing from Him. Have you wrestled with God lately? Active relationship with God does take energy and we may wrestle with Him from time to time, as we can easily lose our focus when we’re serving God. Jacob was blessed because he expected God to bless him and did not give up until God did so.

“LORD, as we wrestle to keep our relationship strong with You today, please bless our lives with Your presence.”