Day 42: “A man wrestled with him”

Read Genesis 32:22-32

How did Jacob know the man was God?

And why would God do such a weird thing?

We don’t know, we don’t know. There’s mystery here.

But the man was God. Jacob knew he was God. And they wrestled. So instead of asking how or why, let’s ask what. What does this show us about God, about Jacob, and about us?

It’s Jacob’s second night by the river. He prayed the first night, then spent the day gathering gifts of livestock for Esau who’s still out there with his 400 soldiers.

Now Jacob is alone, still scared, and wanting assurance from God that things will be alright.

Who wouldn’t?

So God – the author, the creator of the whole Story, the giver of life – this God comes to Jacob in skin and fights him. He makes himself small as a man because a man needs it.

God actually lets Jacob wrestle with him – and win.

I think of a father and his young son grappling in the living room, the dad holding back his strength, the son exulting in the win.

Then God blesses him and gives him a new name – Israel.

Have you ever wanted to fight God? Ever been mad at him because of something He is or isn’t doing? Have you wished you could just make Him do what you want but you’re afraid to really let it out because maybe you’re not allowed to? Maybe He’ll get mad at you?

Or maybe you feel just too small or too bad to ever get that real with God.

Jacob started out small. His brother was the great hunter and Jacob stayed home. Also, he was a sneaky, lying, little thief. But he learned that God could and would handle him, all of him, even at his worst.

So he fights God and comes out sweaty and limping, but blessed.


As if God rewards the fight.

As if He thinks we’re worth fighting with.

And that He knows we need it sometimes.

Just like a Dad.

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