Friday, December 5, 2008

Jabbok River Smackdown

Scripture Passage: Genesis 32:22-32

When I was just a young lad of 10 or so, my father took several of us neighborhood boys to a professional wrestling event at the Civic Center in Grand Rapids. I can remember how excited we were to see some of our favorite wrestlers like the Iron Sheik, Man Mountain Cannon, and my favorite, the Destroyer. At that time and at that age, I had no idea that wrestling was fake, although looking back now, how could I believe that a guy could take a whack to the face with a folding chair and then get up and win the match? Hey, it could happen!
All off these wrestlers had a finishing move. These moves were designed to end the fight and put the other wrestler out of commission. It might have been the Piledriver, or the Claw, or the Sleeper Hold. Every guy had his own signature move. Who would have guessed that God has a finishing move too? He does. He'll just pop your hip out of joint. Believe me, that will take the fight out of anybody!
During all my years in the church, I have heard many times the phrase "wrestling with God". I would imagine that phrase probably came from this passage. You see, Jacob wasn't just physically wrestling with God, he was wrestling God on a spiritual level as well. This is obvious by the questions that Jacob asked of God.
As I read this passage, it struck me that as daybreak by the Jabbok River approached, God, Jesus, or an angel (it 's ok that we're not sure which it was) asked Jacob to let him go. Jacob had God in a wrestling hold! How cool is that? And Jacob answers "Not until you bless me." Now that takes guts! And then he has the audacity to go even further and ask him what his name was!
Jacob had God right where he wanted him and he was going to take advantage of the situation. Look at the things he said. First, Jacob wanted desperately to be blessed. Secondly, he wanted desperately to know more of God. In this culture and time, God's name was seldom spoken out of reverence, and here Jacob is asking God about it. I admire Jacob for that. Even though he would walk with a limp after this encounter, he didn't give up. And remember, his hip was already out of joint!
As an RBC, I asked myself how far was I willing to go, and how much was I willing to give to have the kind of relationship with God where I can ask Him those questions and others like them? Am I willing to spend more time spiritually wrestling with God? To be honest, I am, but I have no idea what that will look like.. But one thing I am sure of is that I am going to try harder and more often. God is not an adversary but a friend. It won't be much of a fight, and we'll both come out the winner.
Wrestled with God lately? I would encourage you to jump into the ring as well.

It's like Red Bull for the Soul!

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