Sunday, February 26, 2017


I grew up in the South and “professional” wrestling is a big deal.  (Actually, the correct pronunciation of wrestling is “rasslin’”)  Every Saturday you could watch crazy guys in crazy costumes/get-ups jumping around the ring to entertain the crowd.  But there is another kind of wrestling that is much more serious and has eternal consequences. You may be able to guess by now that we’re going to look at Jacob when he rassled with God.

Genesis 32:28

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with man and have overcome.”

Things to think about:

  • Struggling with God and with people is part of the human condition. One needs only to read history books and the news to see this is true.
  • Struggling with God
    • Jacob was literally wrestling with God all night. (His new name Israel means "He wrestles with God”) 
    • He wanted God’s blessing (which God had already promised him at the time of his birth). 
    • Initially, we wrestle with God before we allow Him to save us
      • How long and intense was your wrestling match with God?
      • Did God have to “touch” you like He did Jacob to win the match?
        • if you’re still wrestling, do you feel like your winning???
    • God has already promised us many, many things that people still want to wrestle Him for:
      • Peace, eternal life, an abundant life, forgiveness
      • Where do you see people wrestling with God for gifts already promised?
    • There are other ways His children struggle with Him:
      • Why has He allowed something to happen? Why hasn’t He caused something to happen?
        • See Job Chapters 3, 24
      • Disobedience to His commands, His promptings
      • are you currently struggling with God in some way? If so, how?
  • Struggling with Man
    • Jacob’s name means “trickster” and he certainly lived up to it. He tricked Esau of Isaac’s blessing and weaseled Esau out of his birthright.
    • He struggled with his father-in-law, Laban, a well-accomplished trickster in his own right.
      • Seven years to win Rachel (got Leah instead) and seven more years to eventually get Rachel.  Then another six years to accumulate some earnings so he could move away. Then he ran off in the middle of the night with his family and possessions.
    • In James 4:1-2 it says, "Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.”
      • “Kill” is a strong word but Jesus says our anger is tantamount to killing. 
      • Violence can take the form of a harsh word or tearing down another’s reputation 
      • do you find yourself currently in a wrestling match with someone? 
      • Would you be willing to give up in order to see that person come to Christ?
    • Families are funny things, you have probably heard the one-liner, “Our family puts the “fun” in dysfunctional!”
      • why are families such a hotbed for struggles?
      • Are you in a struggle now that you need to give up?
  • The Good News!
    • God told Jacob he had overcome. 
    • Jesus says in John 16:33,  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
    • Paul tells us in Romans 8 that we too have overcome, in fact, we are “more than conquerors”
    • How do we live out this life as overcomers?
      • In Matthew 22:37-40,  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
      • Jacob was given a new name, we are given a new nature
        • Colossians 3:9-10   "Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."
        • Ephesians 4:22-24, “ put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
    • What is God bringing to your mind right now that sound like opportunities to stop struggling and start living out your new nature as an overcomer?

No comments:

Post a Comment