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"...was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory." (John 1:14)

Wrestling With God


Gen 32:22-25

22 But during the night Jacob got up and sent his two wives, two concubines, and eleven sons across the Jabbok River. 23 After they were on the other side, he sent over all his possessions. 24 This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until dawn. 25 When the man saw that he couldn't win the match, he struck Jacob's hip and knocked it out of joint at the socket.



This is a very interesting story. It is one that as I read it I think to myself that there has to be a misprint.

Jacob has been a schemer all his life and he has done what we would call quite well at it.

He schemed his brother out of his birth right. He schemed his father into blessing him instead of his brother.

He schemed his wife out of the family from her father and he schemed all the possessions from his father in law that he could.

Now everything is catching up to him at once.

He has left his father in laws house under not the best of circumstances where God had to speak to Laban so he wouldn’t kill him.


Gen 31:25-26

25 So when Laban caught up with Jacob as he was camped in the hill country of Gilead, he set up his camp not far from Jacob's. 26 "What do you mean by sneaking off like this?


…28.You have acted very foolishly! 29 I could destroy you, but the God of your father appeared to me last night and told me, 'Be careful about what you say to Jacob!



Now he has this strong compelling notion to go to his home where he knows that his brother wants to kill him because of all the dirty tricks that he has played on him 21 years ago.


Gen 32:3-5

3 Jacob now sent messengers to his brother, Esau, in Edom, the land of Seir. 4 He told them, "Give this message to my master Esau: 'Humble greetings from your servant Jacob! I have been living with Uncle Laban until recently, 5 and now I own oxen, donkeys, sheep, goats, and many servants, both men and women. I have sent these messengers to inform you of my coming, hoping that you will be friendly to us.' "  NLT


The scheming has come to an end and he feels he is about to reap what he has sowen.


Gen 32:6-7

6 The messengers returned with the news that Esau was on his way to meet Jacob — with an army of four hundred men! 7 Jacob was terrified at the news.



It looks to me that Easu hasn’t forgotten the grudge and isn’t about to be bought off that easily.

Now we come to the story that so hard to understand. Jacob has one more angel.

Every schemer sooner or later will come face to face with God as the odds get high enough.


Gen 32:9

9 Then Jacob prayed, "O God of my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac — O LORD, you told me to return to my land and to my relatives, and you promised to treat me kindly



God loves to corner us. He loves it when all our schemes get us to the place where we can’t go back and we can’t go ahead the way we are even though we really want to go ahead.

Its in my heart to go home but because of the way I have lived it is impossible.

There is only one even that has to happen after a prayer like that.

Lord you told me to go home and you told me that you would treat me kindly.


In order for God to fulfill his promise I have to be changed because God cannot treat me kindly the way I am.

Isn’t it strange that even though Jacob has set up the whole scenario himself it is God who is to blame and God who has to do something?

If you have your back to the wall and you are in the corner if you have one ounce of sense left do not blame God for the mess.

Watch what happens now and see if you can relate to it.

Angels have already been sent to Jacob but seem like it has not effected him the way it should have.


 Gen 32:1-2

As Jacob and his household started on their way again, angels of God came to meet him. 2 When Jacob saw them, he exclaimed, "This is God's camp!" So he named the place Mahanaim.  



Now comes the final lesson and it follows this prayer


Gen 32:10-12

When I left home, I owned nothing except a walking stick, and now my household fills two camps! 11 O LORD, please rescue me from my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to kill me, along with my wives and children. 12 But you promised to treat me kindly and to multiply my descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore — too many to count." NLT


You see the prayer here is not, I surrender to your will but it is get me out of the mess.

But God doesn’t want to get us out of the mess he wants to get the mess out of us.


Gen 32:24-25

Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until dawn.



You look kind of pious sitting there but I have been there and I’ll bet so have some of you.

What the wrestling match about. Whose will, will prevail, mine or gods.

But look at the crazy part.


Gen 32:25

25 When the man saw that he couldn't win the match



How many times have I been in that fight and won or that I would win.

God it will be my will and you will have to do it because your word has promised it to me.

I want you to know something. God fights to win and he will.

If you are fighting with God and winning slow down and take a second look at it real quick. You are not supposed to win.

Look at what happens.


Gen 32:25-26

he struck Jacob's hip and knocked it out of joint at the socket.



God only does things like that when you are winning the fight. So my advice to you is back off if you don’t want to walk with a limp the rest of your life.

Watch how it goes now.


Gen 32:26

6 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak."



Look at this


Gen 32:26

But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."



That no is now no with a limp. And that limp has a new motivation.

Its not stuff any more now its blessing.


Gen 32:27-28

27 The man asked him, "What is your name?"

"Jacob," he answered.

28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." NIV


I love how it goes from here.


Gen 32:30

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." NIV


This is where God can finally bless you. When you see him face to face. All the nonsense between you and him is gone and he is everything.

One more verse


Gen 32:31

31 The sun rose as he left Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.



He would walk farther with a limp than he ever did on two good legs.

A lot of the men of God who see him face to face limp afterward but they become much more productive.

Do you wrestle with God and win. Do you want to be really blessed. Do you want to see him face to face.

How much have you sent across the brook. How desperate are you to make your life count.

There is another plan. But it has to be more than words.

Not my will but thine be done.


Luke 22:42

42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. KJV


Amen, God Bless You & Your Family

Pastor John Stewart

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