In Genesis 32 &33, Jacob is on his way to return to his home country; God has appeared to him and told him it is time. BUT Jacob is going back to a mess of his own making--- an angry brother Esau. In fact he gets news that Esau is on his way with 400 others to meet Jacob. 400 sounds more like an army than a welcoming party!
Jacob has always made it through life by finagling the people and things around him. His mother and he tricked Esau out of his Blessing by tricking Isaac into blessing Jacob instead (Gen.27). Jacob “tricks” the sheep and goats into breeding only speckled and striped offspring (Gen. 30). He tricks Laban by leaving under false pretense and without so much as a good-bye (Gen. 30: 17-20). Along the way, he also reaps what he sowed as Laban deceives him into marrying Leah rather than Rachel. Laban finagles Jacob’s wages ten different times trying to keep him poor and dependent.
Here’s the thing--- God had these things under His control. Jacob was fooling himself to think that his conniving was successful. In Gen.31:10-13, God reveals to Jacob that it was He who caused the sheep/goats to be born speckled and colored so as to grow Jacob’s flocks. His meddling in fact was now what was sending him into the “hornet’s nest” of Esau’s REVENGE.
So Jacob reaches a place he has never felt himself before— he was now the one helpless in the hands of another. Before, he would have figured out how to trick his way through. He would have taken the advantage by out-maneuvering the other. Esau had been tricked once and now was on his way to make Jacob pay. So finally Jacob cries out to the God who has had him in hand even from the very beginning; even when he thought his successes were things of his own doing! He finally calls out to God (Gen. 32:9-12)—“SAVE ME”. He finally wrestles with God instead of wrestling and tricking his way through life. He literally wrestles with God through that night and in the end walked with a limp to meet his brother Esau whose heart had been softened.
Are you wrestling with life? Are you wrestling with others while trying to trick your way out of them and life? We are wrestling in the wrong ring and arena. We rather need to be wrestling with God in Prayer. When we trust our wit or how to outwit, we only sow problems to be reaped later. Eventually Life will get us in a “hold” from which we cannot escape. Wrestle with God. Walk in the “limp” of the realization of your own weakness.
Pastor Stephen Willoughby
Pastor Steve grew up in Columbia,South America, where his parents served as missionaries for 25 years. After graduating from Capital Bible Seminary, he was invited to serve as Assistant Pastor at FBCP. He has served in that capacity for twenty years before taking on the position of Senior Pastor.