A night of wrestling

Date: Saturday, June 7

ScriptureGenesis 32:22-32

Verse: Then he said, “Your name won’t be Jacob any longer, but Israel, because you struggled with God and with men and won.” (Genesis 32:28)

Sierra Exif JPEGIn his sermon last Sunday, Pastor Bob talked about a quote from Mark Batterson regarding struggling against God. Batterson writes, “here is what I learned about arguments with God: If you win the argument you actually lose, and if you lose the argument, you actually win” (Batterson 53). In other words, if we get our way we are not getting the best, but if we follow God’s way, we are!

Jacob wrestles with God and others throughout his life, and is eventually identified by it. He started struggling in the womb with his brother Esau (Genesis 25:22), and continued through the taking of his brother’s birthright and blessing. Then he gets into it with his uncle/father-in-law Laban — first over marrying his daughters, then when he is accused of taking advantage of him financially. Then, one night, caught between the rock of Laban’s anger, and the hard-place of meeting Esau, God puts an end to all of Jacob’s wrestling with one last match — this time with him. When the match is over, Jacob has a new name and a limp (maybe God just wanted to slow him down).

All of us wrestle with God from time to time. In some ways that is our calling. God’s chosen people are named Israel, the name Jacob is given, and it means “one who struggles with God.” Which makes sense, only those recognizing God’s reign would struggle against him sometimes. Our way bumps up against his way, our will conflicts with his. Sometimes we find ourselves struggling to understand what God is up to, and we want to take matters into our own hands, somehow believing we can make it better. As Pastor Bob told us Sunday, we are called to be Thy-will-be-done people, not have-it-your-way people. Remember, when you win and go your way, you lose. When you lose and go God’s way, you win!

Prayer: Thank you God for our times of wrestling. Remind me that when I lose to you, I win. Amen.

Action: Watch a competition today — baseball, X games, tennis, golf, etc. — and reflect on winning and losing.

Respond: When have you lost an argument with God, only to find out later you had actually won?

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Batterson, Mark. The Circle Maker: Praying Circles around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

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About Joe Iovino

Christian, husband & father, Associate Pastor in Monument CO, guitar player, motorcyclist, Mets fan.
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