Already, throughout his life, God had given Jacob evidence that He was with him. And even on the way to his country, Jacob, in verse 1, met the angels of God. Verse 2 says when he saw them he said, “This is God’s camp.” Before Jacob even prayed, God wanted him to know that He was with him to protect him. However, even after Jacob prays, he still tries one more thing. He sends him huge gifts, which suggest to Essau that he has not come to claim his birthright and to hopefully appease his brother. We pick up the story in verse 22...
Jacob sends over the brook Jabbok everything he had and finds himself alone... alone to wrestle with his past failures and impending doom. Then suddenly realizing that he is not alone, Jacob begins to wrestle with a Man with all his might and he is not about to give up. The fight has begun. You see, if your going to survive the fight of your life...
Don’t Give Up the Fight Until You Get Your Blessing
Dewey Bozella refused to give up the fight. While he fought for his innocence, he won prison-boxing championships and even earned all the way up to a masters degree. He refused to stay down. He wouldn’t let life get the last punch. He occupied himself by pouring himself into positive and fulfilling things until, after a 26 year battle for justice, he won! Winston Churchill once said, "The pessimist sees the problems in every opportunity. Whereas the optimist sees the opportunity in every problem" Churchill also said to a group of students in 1941, "Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up." This is the kind of radical resilience you got to have in the fight of your life!
Jacob fought with this Man all night until dawn. Here lies one of the most astonishing portions of scripture in the entire Bible. Jacob fights with a Man, who in verse 30, he recognizes as God. Not only does he fight with God all night, but he wins! In the book Patriarchs and Prophets, the inspired author says, “Suddenly a strong hand was laid upon him. He thought that an enemy was seeking his life, and he endeavored to wrest himself from the grasp of his assailant. In the darkness the two struggled for the mastery. Not a word was spoken, but Jacob put forth all his strength, and did not relax his efforts for a moment. While he was thus battling for his life, the sense of his guilt pressed upon his soul; his sins rose up before him, to shut him out from God. But in his terrible extremity he remembered God's promises, and his whole heart went out in entreaty for His mercy.”
As I read this passage, I wondered what if, by touching Jacob with His “strong hand” God was initially just try to tap him on the shoulder as if to say, “Jacob, I am here with you and I am here for you. You don’t have to be afraid.” And because he was afraid and consumed with his past failures, that Jacob just automatically went into defense mode and started to fight. Either way, Jacob found himself wrestling with the God of the universe. Wow! God actually lets us wrestle with Him. You do know, of course that God let Jacob win that fight, right?
Although Jacob was technically fighting with God, the greatest fight of his life was with himself! God was not his enemy! Jacob was his own worst enemy! The fight of our life that God wants to help us win is not only against the Devil, but mostly against ourselves. God is the One seeking to bless us, but our sins, our past, our fears, our bad habits have so skewed our picture of God, that we sometimes fight with Him, thinking He is our enemy.
Somewhere in the midst of the fight, Jacob came to the astonishing realization of Who he was fighting with. Now some of us would have run away for fear that we would be struck down by lightening. Not so with Jacob! He sees this as his golden opportunity. All Jacob ever wanted from the beginning was to have God’s blessing. In the past, He tried to get it by deceit. Now he must press forward by faith. His battle was not without scares. God touched the socket of Jacob’s hip and it came out of joint. But that didn’t stop Jacob. He refused to quit in spite of his pain. The blessing Jacob was seeking was the assurance that his sins were forgiven and he was going to hold on until he got his blessing. He was demonstrating a Job-like faith that says, “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
In the battles of life we get scares. We get wounds that show we have been in the fight of our lives. We get the wounds of broken relationships, past hurts, physical and emotional pain. I don’t know what wounds you may have gotten in your battle. But I am here to tell you to hold on just a little longer! Press on by faith! Don’t quite! Never give up! You can survive! You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. His strength is made perfect in your weakness. Claim His promises and receive the blessing of His forgiveness and grace! God’s grace transforms the heart. It brings about change. And Jacob is about to experience the greatest change of his life in verse 27...
"CJ" CLAYPOLE S. COUSINS JR., IS SIMPLY A MAN WHO IS IN LOVE WITH JESUS. HIS PASSION IS TO LIVE, PREACH AND TEACH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. IN ADDITION TO PREACHING & TEACHING, CJ ALSO LOVES TO SING AND WRITE ABOUT JESUS. HE ALSO SERVES AS THE PASTOR FOR GROW GROUPS & RPCTV AT RESTORATION PRAISE CENTER.