Scripture Reference Ephesians 6 : 12
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Gen. 32: Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is the camp of God!” So he named that place Mahanaim …. 22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
Jacob had lived a fairly contentious lifestyle. He had through deception and cunning sown contention between himself and his father, between himself and his brother, and between himself and his uncle. Everywhere Jacob went he seemed to create conflict.
The rub is in the knowledge that it did not have to be this way for Jacob. Jacob was the beneficiary of the promise of God that he would rule over the older brother, yet instead of believing the promise and waiting by faith he did what so many would do today and that is to attempt through his own efforts to take it for himself.
Do you realize you too are the beneficiary of the promises of God? Why then do you choose to reject faith and to strive after “all these things” (Mtt 6:33) for yourself? Why also do you choose to live in fear rather than to live by faith? Is God unable to provide for you? Is God unable to keep you safe? Is God unable to provide for your family? Is God unable to keep your family safe? You too may be living a contentious lifestyle, in fact so many who claim to be believers are not actually living the faith they claim to possess but instead are governed by fear.
You, like Jacob must come to the end of yourself, you must come face to face with the God who has watched over you, whom you have claimed to believe in and yet whom you have denied by the way you have been living. Here in this text Jacob reached a crucial turning point in his life! That turning point is imperative to our walk of faith! Yes he had made a mess of things and yes he was responsible in many ways for the crisis he found himself in. Here Jacob would wrestle, not with the spiritual forces of darkness – something he had been doing in many ways all of his natural life! No here Jacob would find himself wrestling against the God he so desperately needed! Like Saul of Tarsus, Jacob had been kicking against the goads, Acts 26:14 and he needed to stop resisting God and instead to submit to God.
Through this crucial encounter with God Jacob experienced a blessing from the Lord that he had never known before. Jacob also walked away from that encounter with a lifelong limp. When we resist the Lord we only hurt ourselves. God intends to bless us but He will not be trifled with. Jacob was deliberate in seeking God, in fact he earnestly sought the Lord and the Lord was found by him! This can be our own story as well if we will seek the Lord with complete transparency. When asked his name Jacob said, “Jacob” – the usurper or deceiver. God changed his name to Israel meaning “he struggles with God/prince with God”. This is what a genuine encounter with God can mean to us – not a shaming but a changing! God’s desire is not to demean us but to empower and enable us!