“When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket.”Genesis 32:25 (NLT)
Our seven-year-old grandson Brennan likes to wrestle. I don’t mean the normal wrestling that all children do with their parents to get what they want. Brennan actually competes in wrestling matches and wins most of them. Of course, the objective is to bring your opponent down and pin him to the mat. Today we look at a very famous wrestling match.
Jacob’s brother Esau was coming to meet him with four hundred men, and Jacob was dreadfully afraid. Then a Man showed up with whom Jacob wrestled all night. We believe this Man was Jesus Christ. From the account it seems as though the Man could not prevail over Jacob. He told Jacob to let him go because it was daybreak. But the prophet Hosea tells us that actually Jacob was weeping (Hosea 12:4). I believe Jacob was weeping and cleaving because he was so desperate. He would not let go until he prevailed to receive a blessing. When the Man saw that Jacob would not let go, He touched his hip and dislocated it. The Man changed Jacob’s name to Israel, and Jacob limped for the rest of his life.
Jacob was stubborn and shrewd. His name meant “heel catcher” or “supplanter”. Throughout his life he schemed to get what he wanted. But Jacob had met his match. Circumstances drove him to the point of desperation and surrender. Through this wrestling match with God, his name was changed to Israel, meaning “one who struggles with God,” or “one who prevails with God,” or “governed by God.” God had great plans for Jacob, but they would only happen through his brokenness.
What does it take to really change a person? Change never comes easy, and it seems that the older we get the harder it is to change. But before God can use us, He must first break us of our pride and self-will. We prevail with God by surrendering to God.
Are life’s circumstances bringing you to the breaking point? If you will cleave to God and wrestle with Him in prayer, then He will break you so that He can use you. His grace flows best through broken vessels.
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