Photo by Hermes Rivera
In the womb, he grasped his brother’s heel, and as an adult, he wrestled with God. Hosea 12:3
Speaking concerning Jacob, the man God called Israel because he had not only striven with man but had striven with God and had overcome.
I love what Hosea 12:4 says he wrestled with the angel and prevailed; he wept [ in repentance] and sought His favor. He met Him at Bethel and there God spoke with him.
From the onset, Jacob was a man who knew struggle. He knew how to struggle for things. Even His relationship with God was colored by striving. Jacob had believed that to get anything he needed to struggle for it and that’s how he lived. God meets him where is at.
But why is the all-powerful God wrestling with a man, when He can bend him to do His will? I believe God wanted Jacob to choose to surrender willingly.
He doesn’t even overpower him; we are told Jacob won. But something happens when Jacob won. He repented. He repented of his striving when he could have just trusted God to bless him. he repented of his bent to get things through willpower, lying, and manipulation. God had Jacob where he wanted. Jacob not only repented but also sought God’s favor.
Quite a big turnaround for the trickster, he now knew that it was only God who could bless him and came to the point of surrender. Even though Jacob had won, ultimately God won because he now had his way with Jacob.
God will wrestle us for our will
We don’t know how strong-willed we are until we try to follow God. We quickly learn that our bent towards stubbornness is ingrained within us.
God comes to us as He came to Jacob and wrestles us for our will. He wrestles us to lead us to lay down our desire to do things our own way. He wrestles us to lead us to a place where we can say, “Your will be done father, not mine.” It’s not easy to get here, as we can see it wasn’t easy for Jacob. It took him a very long time to come to the place of surrender and trust where his self-will was concerned.
We cannot follow God and not lay down our will. However, we can spend all our lives wrestling with God because we have refused to surrender our will for His. But if we will get to a place of surrender then God can have His way and His blessing can rest on us.
God will wrestle us for our idols
We see this portrayed in God’s relationship with the Israelites. They would serve God and then run back to serving their idols. God would deliver them into the hands of their enemies because they were worshipping other gods. He would allow this chastisement to bring them to repentance. Judges 2:11-18
We do this too. God delivers us from our idolatry and with no time we are back at it again. It becomes a wrestling match between us and God because we will not lay down our idols. We have well-built excuses for not laying down some things. But God will keep coming to us and using circumstances to wrestle us out of our idolatry.
We may not fashion idols out of metals like the Israelites. But there are things that we have exalted above the place of God in our hearts- these God calls idols. May our lives not be a constant struggle with God where idols are concerned.
God will wrestle us for our hearts
Being in a relationship with God means we get all of Him. God doesn’t spare Himself in our relationship with him. He gives us all His heart, all His love, everything He is, He has made available for us His children. But this is not without a condition. The condition for all of God is all of us.
We are told in 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord.
Amplified says, But in your hearts set Christ apart [ as holy- acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord.
When God has our hearts, He is not only Lord over our hearts but also Lord over our lives. To sanctify means to set apart. We set God apart in our hearts by making sure nothing else has preeminence. We make sure nothing else has all our hearts except Him.
It cannot work any other way. God will entrust Himself to the person who has given all of themselves to Him. We can find ourselves struggling in this area. We want to give God pieces of ourselves. we want him to lead us but also want to keep some parts of our lives. We want to obey Him and choose what will do and not do.
God will therefore wrestle us for all our hearts. God had Jacob’s heart but not all of it. There came a time when God required all of Jacob to move forward with him. we will find ourselves in this place too. God will require all of us to move forward with us. May we choose sweet surrender.
God will wrestle us for our lies
In order for us to walk in truth, we have to subsequently lay down the lies we have believed. Sometimes it’s hard because if we admit that we are hanging on to lies then we are going to have to change everything we have built around these lies. Our response is to stubbornly fight to keep our lies. God has no choice but to wrestle us until we can live in the freedom that his truth brings. It’s not that people don’t want truth, it’s that they have believed their lies so long they don’t know how to lay them down.
So he said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
Truth comes to us through His word. When we are consistently studying the word of God we are accessing truth and are consequently being set free. But, we have to choose to surrender the lies we hold so dearly. We have to allow His word to reveal to us where we have believed lies. We also have to decide that we will not wrestle with God; instead, we will allow His truth to bring us the freedom we so desperately need.
In our wrestling with God, may God actually win because if He wins, we too have won.
2 thoughts on “Wrestling with God”
Enjoyed this Lucy. Wrestling with God ultimately led Jacob to willingly surrender and I so agree that when God wrestles for our heart, the idols in our life, we get to realise the presence of those things in our lives as well as the stubbornness in our hearts.
Blessings to you 😊
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I’m glad Manu. True when God begins to wrestle us for our will and hearts we quickly
recognize our bent towards stubbornness, our desire to do things our own way, and our hearts’ ability to wander to other gods beside Him. God bless you too.
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