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wrestling with God...

“Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.” Genesis 32:24 Here is the scene. Jacob is going back to his relative, Esau, after years and years of being away, and he is frightened at what Esau is going to do to him. He sends his 11 children ahead and finds himself alone – I suppose to pray and plead with God – at least that is what I do when I am alone. All of a sudden a “man” – an angel as noted in Hosea 12:4 – comes and wrestles with him. As Jacob is prevailing against the angel, he touches his hip and dislocates it. The angel ends up blessing Jacob for prevailing against God and man. What a story. Pay close attention to it. Why would the angel dislocate Jacob’s hip? I believe to show his power and that he could do anything he wanted, as he was a messenger of God, and could prevail over Jacob in an instant…but Jacob kept fighting through the wound, until the angel had to tell him that he had to go as it was almost dawn. Jacob asked for a blessing and the angel told him that his new name was Israel – which meant a prince with God. But the story didn’t stop there - the sun arose as he was limping on his thigh. What a beautiful picture of God’s love and grace pouring over Jacob as he limps away from his struggle. God’s power was revealed and in Jacob’s weakness (scared, frightened and overwhelmed to go back to Esau) he was made strong. Jacob bore on his body the brand-marks of his wrestling with God – as a sign of humility and a physical remembrance of his weakness compared to God’s strength and as a sign that God’s strength lived in Him and He was more than a conqueror. What a foreshadow of Jesus’ wrestling with God in the garden before His crucifixion. He sweat blood because He was in such agony…asked God to pass the cup from Him if it was His will. Yet, it wasn’t His will. Jesus was crushed, nailed to a cross, speared in His side – wounded for our transgressions. He would have brand-marks that would be a permanent witness to who He was and what He did for us, and brand-marks that spoke of God’s strength in the midst of Jesus’ agony. Fast forward to Paul in the New Testament. Paul is shipwrecked, hungry, lost, imprisoned, beaten, bruised, scarred – yet in his weakness he is strong in the Lord. He said “…I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.” Galatians 6:17 We all have wounds. We all have scars. We all wrestle as Christians. Sometimes though we see our struggles as only from “the enemy”, and we become defeated, and more so, many tell us our struggles are because we are weak and something is wrong with us. But what a marvelous thing to see that often our struggles come from God – we are weak remember, but we are strong in Him, and what better way to trust in Him than to struggle with Him. I continually ask myself if the scars that I bear are the brand-marks of Jesus or if they are the brand-marks of my own sinful desires, given in to weakness. There is no greater accountability than having scars that give God the glory. “He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you. 2 Corinthians 13:4


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