March 30th, 2008 | Posted in » Bible in a Year
Back to Genesis tonight.
Genesis 32:24-28 (NIV)
24So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27The man asked him, “What is your name?”
”Jacob,” he answered.
28Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
While I’m not sure I fully understand this passage, the idea of wrestling with God is one that fascinates me. Why?
Well, first of all, it’s simply that God allows it. After all, God is God… He commands our love and respect, and when we struggle with Him in any manner regarding following His will, it’s pretty disrespectful. God could expect instant obedience, but He often lets us struggle with His direction for a while before determining that we’re going to follow.
Secondly, I find interesting that our “wrestling” with God doesn’t always result in our obedience. In a way, He seems to allow us to win (or at least to get out of His grasp). Sometimes, He lets the struggle end and He allows us to follow our own path. Of course, when our “wrestling” endsin this manner, we generally suffer consequences… but the fact that God allows the struggle to end at some point is interesting. He wants REAL love and devotion… not coerced service.
Lastly, I find interesting that our wrestling with God often results in a far deeper devotion to His cause than does instant obedience. By struggling with God over direction, we often come to see why that direction is best, which allows ourselves more fully than when we obey based on blind faith. I’m not sure which is better… deep faith that allows instant submission to His will, or faith developed through struggles. I suppose it doesn’t really matter if the end result is the same… committed faith, trust, and obedience.
That is our goal, isn’t it?