The Night God wrestled with man
You may be very familiar with “the night Jacob wrestled with a Man”. And you probably know the “Man” was the One who became Jesus Christ (Yeshua). So we tell the story about how Jacob wrestled with God. But are you familiar with the time when God wrestled with Jacob?
We often think that Genesis 32:24 onwards is the story of when Jacob wrestled with God. I guess technically, if two men are going “at it”, they are both wrestling. But in the past, we put the emphasis on Jacob – how HE wrestled with God. But when we read the story carefully, it’s quite different. Jacob didn’t start the wrestling match. God did. GOD wrestled with Jacob! This was the One who became Yeshua – Jesus the Christ – who was wrestling with Jacob. For years I heard it preached, and I myself may have preached this too – that Jacob was to be commended for fighting so hard, striving so hard, not giving in.
But who was he fighting? Jacob was fighting his own Savior! WHY would we ever think we have to resist GOD?
So let’s read it carefully again:Genesis 32:24-26
“Then Jacob was left alone; and A MAN (GOD- the one who became Christ) wrestled WITH HIM (Jacob) 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 [Jacob] said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me!"
Wiersbe, a Bible commentator, has some good things to say on this in his commentary. Italics are mine.
“We often think that WE have to wrestle good things out of God. That’s so backward from reality. GOD is the one wrestling with US to get US to release OUR defenses against what He wants to do and will do in us IF we would but believe better.”
Read that again. WE are the ones putting up the defense that HE has to crack. He wants us to just rest in Him, trust in Him, believe Him, and LET the blessings flow. It’s the hardest thing to do – is to let go and trust Him. He wants us to know and believe He has best intentions for us and wants to prosper us, protect us, and shine on us. WE are the ones who put up defenses – and the worst barricades we put up are the barricades of doubting God’s heart and assuming the worst!
Here’s what Wiersbe said:
“It is when we get alone with God that good things begin to happen. Christ came to wrestle with Jacob, and the struggle lasted all night. Keep in mind that Jacob was not wrestling to get a blessing from God; rather, he was defending himself and refusing to yield. The Lord wanted to break Jacob and bring him to the place where he would honestly say, "Not I, but Christ" (Galatians 2:20). All night long, Jacob defended himself and refused to surrender or even admit that he had sinned. Then God weakened Jacob, and now the wrestler could only cling! Now, this time instead of scheming for a blessing or bargaining for a blessing, he asked God for the blessing [as he clung to Him] --and he received it.”
Stop wrestling against God. ASK. Believe. Receive. Stop praying that God will see things your way and start praying more that we see things HIS way. Let’s stop resisting Him but be willing to cling to Him instead. Clinging is great. It’s not wrestling. Start abiding in, resting in – your Savior. Let Him save you. Let Him bless you. Believe He wants to. Let Him carry your burdens. Let Him feel – and take away – your pain. Let him give you His joy and pleasure instead. Experience the JOY of His salvation that you feel in Psalms like Psalm 21.
I “wrestle” with this topic too. But how much more peace we feel when we finally quit fighting, and just hang on and let him bless us. Something he wanted to do anyway - - before the fighting.
“Take delight in the LORD and He will give you your heart’s desire”
The majority of Psalm 21 is all about this. I recommend you read it carefully.
“The king shall have joy in Your strength, O YHVH;
And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
You have given him his heart's desire,
And have not withheld the request of his lips.”
Then you shall delight yourself in YHWH;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
The mouth of YHWH has spoken."
Ahh, resting. Asking. Believing. Trusting. Receiving. It’s so hard to just rest in him and trust in Him and delight in what He’s doing—even when we can’t understand sometimes why it seems to hurt. Trust Him. He’s working out something good for you.