Jacob Wrestles with God
Surrender to God's Will
A picture of some wrestlers
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. Genesis 32:24 (NIV)
Have you ever watched a wrestling match? Wrestling is a very popular sport all over the world. Amateur wrestling is popular in schools, colleges, and in the Olympics. There is also professional wrestling like we see on television. I think most of that kind of wrestling is fake, but people still enjoy watching it. Wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the world dating back thousands of years.
You might be surprised to know that there is even a wrestling match mentioned in the Bible. In fact, that is what our lesson is about today. One of the wrestlers in our story today is very well known to you. Let's see if you can guess who it was. He was the son of Isaac and Rebekah. He had a twin brother named Esau that he cheated out of his birthright. He had two wives named Leah and Rachel because he was tricked by his uncle Laban into marrying Leah even though it was Rachel that he loved and wanted to marry. Can you guess who he was? That's right! It was Jacob.
As our story opens, Jacob and his two wives, his servants, and his eleven sons were traveling to meet Esau. That night, they came to a river. Jacob got them all across to the other side, but he stayed behind by himself. The Bible tells us that all night a man wrestled with Jacob. As they were wrestling, the man touched Jacob's hip and it was twisted as he wrestled with him. When the dawn came, the man saw the he would not win the match, so he said to Jacob, "Let me go for the dawn is breaking."
But Jacob answered, "I will not let you go until you bless me."
"What is your name?" the man asked.
"Jacob," he replied.
"Your name will no longer be Jacob,: the man told him. "From now on you will be called Israel, because you have wrestled with God and won."
"And what is your name?" Jacob asked the man?
"Why do you want to know my name?" the man asked. Then he blessed Jacob.
Jacob named that place Peniel, which means "face of God" because he had seen God face to face, but his life had been spared. After the sun rose, Jacob went on his way, but he was limping because of his hip.
What a story! Can you imagine having a wrestling match with God?
I think we often do get into a wresting match with our Heavenly Father. We want to do things our way, and he wants us to "give up" and let Him be in control of our life. The things that He wants for us are much better than the things we want for ourselves, but sometimes he lets us win and blesses us any way.