From Sunday March 8, 2009
What happened next is a story with which many are familiar.
Genesis tells us that when Jacob had been left alone, “a man wrestled with him until the break of day.” Jacob, it is said, wrestled with God through the night, refusing to let go, even when he had been wounded, holding on until he had received a blessing.
The Hebrew word used here for “wrestle” warrants our attention. It is a seldom used word in the Bible, appearing only three times in the Old Testament.
What is fascinating is that it comes from the root word which means “dust.” Quite literally then the word means “to get dusty” or even “to sit in the dirt at someone’s feet.”
Jacob had gone to the Lord in prayer, seeking deliverance and a blessing from God, but he wasn’t sure that his prayers would be answered.
He feared for his life, and he knew he could not go forward without the Lord being with him.
So Jacob went back to God in prayer, but this time he got down and dirty with God. He wrestled with God, he got in the dust with God, and he would not let go, he would not stop struggling, he would not stop praying, until he got what he came for.
The Jacob that came away from this wrestling match (this dusty-dirty, prayer with God) was a changed man. Most noticeably, Jacob now had a limp.
Jacob held on to God until he received God’s blessing, but he was not unscathed. We read that the man touched the nerve of his thigh, crippling him for life.
Jacob had wrestled with God, and God gave him what he demanded, but God also left his mark on his life.
No longer was Jacob the strong and self-sufficient man he had made himself out to be; he was now solely dependant upon God for his strength and his prosperity.