Gen. 32:24-30 (NLT) This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until dawn. When the man saw that he couldn’t win the match, he struck Jacob’s hip and knocked it out of joint at the socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is dawn. “But Jacob panted, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “It is now Israel, because you have struggled with both God and men and have won.” “What is your name?” Jacob asked him. “Why do you ask?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. Jacob named the place Peniel “face of God” for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.”
As I was meditating on this verse one portion stuck out in my spirit – wrestled with him until dawn. All night Jacob was wrestling with who ended up being a heavenly messenger – maybe even God Himself. We have been in a very hard time in our church. I commented to a minister friend in another church that 2007 has been the hardest year that I have ever had in ministry. How long do you think a night is? 6 hours? 7 hours? 8 hours?
The Lord gave me 4 thoughts out of this passage.
First, we have been wrestling for 6 years now with every year growing harder. Can you imagine what it would be like to wrestle physically for 6 hours with a heavenly messenger? You would have to be extremely tired, sore, and ready for it to be over. We are in that same place as a people and a church. It has been a long fight but take hope because we did not leave the fight.
Second, Jacob was not wrestling with a thief or an intruder but with a messenger sent from heaven. I believe most of our wrestling has been with heaven too. As I look back over the last few years I definitely see where the enemy has perverted and twisted circumstances. But overall I see how the Lord was in the wrestle to show me what my real character is and to strengthen my weaknesses. We will look back on this time of wrestling and say I am better for it. We will be able to say we have seen the “face of God” in the whole thing.
Third, after the wrestle Jacob was a tired and humble man who walked with a limp. We are tired people, but God is giving us a new humility because of the wrestle. We are being changed into a person who is being marked by God not because of our accomplishments but because of our wrestle. We will spiritually walk with a limp because we are realizing our strength is no longer in ourselves. This is worth the price of the wrestle alone.
Fourth, dawn came after the most tiring part of the fight – 7-8 hours later. But dawn came with the blessing. Do not give up. Do not think it will last forever. We are very close to the end of the night. Dawn is coming with a new name, new power, and new destiny for you!