January 11 – Today’s Readings – Genesis 31-33 and Psalms 11
How can we read these chapters without being captivated by the account of Jacob’s “wrestle” with God. We hardly ever speak of him without including this important encounter. His meetings with God up to this point had been few and only in spiritual dreams. Genesis 32: 9-12 reads; “Then Jacob prayed, ‘O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper, I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two groups. Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.”
Here is a fearful man who is facing a situation he can’t handle himself – he is crying out to the Lord and acknowledging God’s faithfulness, provision and sovereignty. The stress of having to face his brother – who you remember wanted to kill him – had led him to call out to God in his sincere but inept way and God decided “have it out” with Jacob. What all the “wrestling” was about, I’m not sure, but one thing is certain – Jacob needed and wanted God desperately, perhaps for the first time in his life. Wrestling is so symbolic when you think of it – the body contact is very close and the “holds” that the wrestlers put on each other are sometimes awkward or embarrassing to watch! God could have chosen a boxing match but I think the symbolism of a wrestling match is very appropriate for how God deals with us. He’s very close to us – manipulating us into positions of submission to Him. With Jacob, God actually had to “smite” his hip socket in order to gain the upper hand. Someone said – referring to Jacob – “never trust a man who does not walk with a limp”. This of course refers to the dealings of God in our lives and how that when you meet a true child of God there are undeniable marks on him of his submission to God. This submission is seen in gentleness or in fervor, in patience or in true brokenness before God – but it is undeniable that you can “see” God’s handiwork in someone who has had encounters with Him.
1. Have you ever felt that the Lord had you in a headlock? Describe how God met with you, touched the socket of your thigh and left His mark on you!