Duration: 365 days
THE GOD WHO WRESTLES
Encouraged by God’s angels, Jacob leads his family of promise back toward home. But first he has to face his brother Esau—who, last he heard, wanted to kill him.
The day before Jacob’s caravan meets Esau’s—with a possible massacre on the horizon and perhaps an end to the promises Jacob has fought so hard for—Jacob begs God for help. Then he sends a series of gifts ahead of his family with the hope of softening Esau’s angry heart.
While Jacob camps away from his family that night, he is confronted by a mysterious being in the form of a man, a man who Jacob later realizes is actually God. Determined not to be defeated, Jacob wrestles so fiercely that his opponent has to dislocate Jacob’s hip to win. God gives Jacob a new name—Israel, meaning “he struggles with God.” The next day, Jacob discovers that his gifts to his brother were unnecessary—Esau greets him with an embrace. Israel’s family, the family that will grow into the nation of Israel, travels safely back into the land of promise.
The King’s Heart
In a wrestling match wrapped in mystery, the Divine scuffles with the earthly.
Wrestling with someone means getting on their level. It’s raw, it’s intense, it’s personal; it’s sweat and force, skin-on-skin, grunt and gristle.
Fathers wrestle with their sons—bravery and boldness is born through those tender brawls. Was this wrestling of the same kind? Jacob was standing on the edge of possible destruction at the hand of his brother; maybe God knew that Jacob needed to know he was there. And when the dust settled, Jacob limped away with a busted hip, but he stood taller under his new name.
Face-to-face, eye-to-eye, and sometimes toe-to-toe—that’s the kind of close relationship God wants. When tensions, questions or conflicts arise in your relationship with God—when he allows something in your life that you don’t like or understand—honor him by wrestling with him about it. Step into him—not away from him. He is there, ready for you to get gut-and-gristle honest. And while he may not reveal all of the answers to you about your situation, God will meet you there, as he did with Jacob, and give you what you need.
Jacob’s hip injury was a blessing in disguise from God. As time passed, Jacob might have started to wonder if his wrestling match with God had ever really happened—if it had all been just a dream. But for the rest of his life, his permanent limp would remind him that his encounter with God had been a real physical one.
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