By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
Jacob, fresh from the encounter with Laban and about to see his brother for the first time in 20 years, spends the night alone. Perhaps he wanted to pray, maybe he wanted to gather his thoughts, or he could’ve been convinced Esau was still furious with him and things would get violent.
Either way, Jacob plans to spend the night alone. God had other plans. Jacob would have been exhausted, anxious, fearful, and in no mood to be interrupted by a wrestling match.
This man, whom many believe to be the pre-incarnate Christ, pounces upon Jacob and begins to violently wrestle with him in the dirt. They wrestle all night and into the morning.
Jacob is overpowered but will not give in. At some point he understood that this wasn’t a mere man and this wasn’t a mere fight. Jacob would not let Him go without a blessing when the morning came.
This encounter works to wash away all the excess and reveal the depths of Jacob’s heart to himself. God already knew Jacob’s heart but Jacob didn’t know his own heart yet.
More than his sleep, more than his brother’s mercy, and more than anything else he wanted the blessing of God on his life.
Jacob was outmatched from the start but even with his hip out of socket and his body giving up he would not give in and let go without getting what he fought so desperately for. Would that we followers of Jesus might apply this same desperation to our Christian walk today.
In our prayer lives, our study of Scripture, our battle with sin and our weeping for souls how much might be different if we would not give in even when we are overpowered, overwhelmed, and overspent?
What great things might God do if our prayer rooms became war rooms and if we did not merely read the Bible but we wrestled with the living Word of God, forcing it to reveal the deeper beauty of the nature of God therein?
What if, more than our sleep and more than our meals we craved the power of God in our churches and the blessing of God in our lives? If our altars were more stained with the tears of saints perhaps our hands would be less stained with the blood of sinners?
Perhaps then we’d see revival in our homes, in our churches, in our nation, and across our world. Perhaps then we’d see sinners repent, prodigals return, and churches restored.
Perhaps then we might be transformed, like Jacob, and might have a new reputation, a new name, and a new walk all because of an unforgettable encounter with an awesome God. B&R — Brown is pastor of First Baptist Church, Waverly.