WE WRESTLE WITH GOD IN PRAYER
- Genesis 32:26 (AMP)
- Genesis 32:27 (AMP)
- Genesis 32:28 (AMP)
- Genesis 32:29 (AMP)
- Genesis 32:30 (AMP)
- Genesis 32:31 (AMP)
In Genesis 32:26, the pre-incarnate Christ meets Jacob face to face, for Jacob says, 'I have seen God face to face and my life is spared.' The Creator, who was, and is and is to come, meets Jacob the 'schemer' at the point of greatest crisis! Jacob has left all security and what he knows. By God's instruction, he left Laban his father in law. Now he is about to meet Esau, who desired to kill him earlier in Genesis! Have you been there Christian? I can't tell you how often I have.
Having nowhere else to turn and like we often find ourselves, Jacob the schemer wrestles with God in prayer all night. So incredibly intense is this encounter, that the Angel of God (Messenger or pre-incarnate Christ) saw that he 'did not prevail against him!' In this lies our first lesson of prayer. God will never override our human will. This is our great struggle as disciples even to this day. Like Jacob we love God, have answered His call to live as pilgrims in this world, and are looking for a city. Like Jacob we are still engaged in a struggle of wills. But Jacob would not let go. Oh, what a lesson to learn: We must cling to Christ for His change in us!
Do I desire God? Do you wrestle with Him dear believer? Are we up all night sometimes...not anxious, but fervently praying to Him who hears? Do we engage in this eternal struggle and wrestle like Jacob? You see, we must become desperate for change, without falling into despair. Herein, there is a thin line...We are not empty, but we hunger for Him...We are not weighed down, but oh the burden of prayer!
God spoke to His child Jacob and for the first time in the Bible, we see a man come to grips with the depths of his depravity. 'What is your name?' God asks us the same today. Who are we really? What drives us? How do we respond on a strange journey and life crisis like Jacob? When our enemies are coming to meet us, who do we rely upon? Ourselves or Christ? In shock and deep repentance, Jacob admits, 'My name is schemer! I have schemed all my life. I don't want to be this way God!'
But Esau was family, and so it is today. Offenses in the body of Christ hinder His great plan. We must wrestle with God over this truth! Just like Jacob, we get through trials by our own cunning resources, sometimes even with godly motives. But even at our best, by ourselves we are completely depleted of the will to live unselfishly. Survival is our motivation: 'You hurt me, you offended me! I won't let that happen again.' We take our offenses to the grave instead of wrestling with God over them. Like Jacob it is time to surrender as we wrestle in prayer!
After seeing the true state of His heart, in verses 29 and 30, Jacob expresses the depth of his divine encounter...'And Jacob asked him, and said, "Tell me, I pray thee, thy name." And he said, "Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?" And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. (Genesis 32:29, 30 KJV)'
The next day Jacob limped out of his tent. The encounter must be so deep that everything about us changes by God's grace. Our name, our identity, our very walk changes. We limp now because He has touched us deeply. We are ready to deal with our trials and even our enemies, as Christ would. He is living in us in a new way!
A great weakness was revealed and God made Jacob or Israel (Wrestler with God) walk differently, for he had wrestled with Christ and found surrender. He rose up in God's plan and limped as he prepared to face Esau. He did so differently than he expected. As Esau ran to meet his former enemy brother, perhaps his heart broke as he saw Jacob limping. He was now in great weakness, but forever changed. He was no longer dependent on his own strength, but walked in power from another world. When did we last wrestle in prayer? When was the last time that you felt like even your name should be different?
May God grant each of us such an encounter dear believer in Christ!
Limping and Strong,
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