Wrestle with God and then ask for a Blessing? Genesis 32:26
New International Version (NIV)
26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
I had to do some real soul searching and research on this verse. First, the way the story is told confused me. Instead of just saying the man Jacob was wrestling with was God, we have to figure that out. Then, the concept of arguing or wrestling with God goes against my upbringing and personality. I avoid conflict AT ALL COSTS. I was raised to “be nice”… Why on earth would someone want to wrestle with the Creator of the universe, our Redeemer, the King of Kings??? We’re told to praise him, worship him and thank him always. Fighting with HIM seems sacrilegious! Then it occurred to me that the very act of wrestling or arguing is communication. You have to be CLOSE to someone to wrestle with them. And what does God want from us? Relationship. He wants us to seek him, to be alone with him. He wants us to talk, ask, argue, fuss, praise, and i.e. communicate with Him!
Jacob was in a scary place. He had deceived his father and brother, and was on the run. When a mere touch on his hip made the socket go out of the joint, he guessed this was no ordinary man. And I imagine that out of his shame and guilt, when he realized the man was God, he must have known that the only thing left was to cling to God, and finally, ask for a blessing. What is that old saying? “You can’t get if you don’t ask”? Jacob was in a place where he was willing to even risk the opposite of a blessing. He’d messed up, alienated his family, and now was fighting with the God he was supposed to respect. Asking for a blessing must have taken courage, and faith. He must have known, deep down, that our God is a God of love, even when we make a mess of things.
Father God, I want to be close to you. I want to be able to “wrestle” with you to make my purpose on this earth to become clear. Send your Holy Spirit to make my heart yearn to be with you, and to remind me of the abundant love you have for me and all of your children. Thank you for your patience and your persistence in seeking me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.