“Live and in person” Advent devotion for December 2, 2020. Read Genesis 32:22-32 and Psalm 3.
Jacob ran away from home twenty years ago. After cheating his brother Esau and deceiving his father Isaac, he literally had to run for his life. Now with two wives and a boatload of kids, it’s time to return. The night before the reunion, he wrestles all night with a man later identified as God himself, a unique pre-incarnational appearance of the Lord.
If there was ever a person who could make you say “uncle,” it would be the Almighty. But Jacob will not give up. He said, “I will not let go unless you bless me” (32:26). And God does! He blesses Jacob, who will now be known as Israel (32:29). Until this moment, who would have thought you could wrestle a blessing out of God?
In one of his lessons on prayer, Jesus taught his disciples to always pray and not lose heart, just like the proverbial widow who wouldn’t stop bothering a judge until she got justice (Luke 18:1-8). With boldness and confidence we call God “our Father” when we come to Him in prayer because we are His dear children. The point is, you really don’t have to try that hard to wrestle a blessing out of God. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32)?
I remember wrestling with my kids. When they were little they loved hanging on me, climbing on me, jumping on me, and rolling around on the floor with me. The blessing was in the wrestling! They knew they couldn’t win, and I didn’t want to win. It’s reassuring to know that your father has strength you can count on when you need him! Just like Jacob needed to fully realize the power and the promises of God.
Did anyone else in the bible wrestle? Rachel “wrestled” with her sister Leah who was able to have more kids than her (Genesis 30:8). Samson kind of wrestled with a lion, tearing it to pieces with his bare hands (Judges 14:5,6). Paul writes that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but with evil spiritual forces (Eph. 6:12). That’s scary!
But you know what? Once you’ve wrestled with God, you know He can handle those spiritual enemies, and nothing can ever separate you from His love!
Lord, I think I’ll just hang on to you with every ounce of faith I have, for you are the One who blesses me with every good and perfect gift from above! Amen.