Jacob wrestled with God.
That is not an easy subject to get your arms around, but the Bible actually forms that exact word picture, “…for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” He endured 20-some years of struggle over 4 chapters. Not only did Jacob have an exhausting physical push-and-shove with the angel, he had a whole family thing he struggled that unfolds, particularly with his father-in-law, Laban.
Yet, he prevailed. Here is a picture of all the irregular people we have have to deal with. A picture of all the frustration and calamity and even unfairness we may have experienced . . .and a picture of dealing with (what we perceive to be) the reluctance or slowness of God to bless. Have you ever been there?
Genesis 28-32 outlines the story and the game plan and you need to read.
Jacob believed God. Therefore, he wrestled with the angel until daybreak. He even walked with a limp from that day forward, but he also walked with a blessing.
When I was skiing years ago, I’d decided to jump off an incline and go airborne. What I didn’t know, however, was that the slope I was about to land on was closed off by a large rope that stretched across the place where I was supposed to land. 5′ high and 50′ across, this rope became my destiny. I went into the air, saw the rope, tried to clear it, failed and went into an unexpected downfall. It was as the rope became entangled within my feet and skis and I was pulled back to earth. In that moment, I prayed an instantaneous SOS prayer.
As I remember it went something like, “Oh, Lor…” SPLAT.
He answered me, but not in an audible voice. It was kind of like, “Don’t you ever do that again.”
Sometimes prayer is a kneel-on-the-floor and spend time with God kind of thing. Sometimes it’s a briefer – and very, very desperate.
Nehemiah prayed this kind of prayer in Nehemiah 2:4. It was short, and his boss, the king asking him a question and him needing to know the answer. Some people have called this “arrow” prayer, as in shooting off an arrow toward God that says, “Help!” Some have called it “faxing” a prayer – and now, “texting” a prayer to God.
Whatever you call it, it is the same principle. When we think things are going well, God is there. But when the chips are down and we’re out of our minds with desperation and fear, He’s still there. Call on Him.
Abram (later renamed Abraham) was a man God decided to use to lay down the foundation of how man and God would walk together. He’s actually called by many, “The Father of Faith.” Among the words that come out of the story, some are “faith” and “covenant,” or promise.
God entered into a covenant relationship with Abraham and his family for all generations to come. But before that promise was made, God spoke to him. God is a God who speaks. He gives us His spoken word, and He also now gives us His written word.
Listen to God’s first words to Him. Can you imagine God speaking to you and saying, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Gen. 12:1)
It’s pretty clear to me that when God speaks, He wants us to believe and then go for it. It’s not easy – after all God often seems to speak about things that we might not even conceive as possible.
What is God saying to you? And how are you taking it?
Thoughts from John Meador and insights from God's Word.