Wrestling With God

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In Genesis, chapters 23-30 we see Jacob being deceitful; taking advantage of his brother, Esau; and lying to his father, Isaac. He had made Esau so angry he had to flee the country. Then, in Genesis 32 we read about Jacob’s journey to the land God had promised to release to Abraham, Isaac, and now Jacob. So many lessons jump off the pages as you read his account of this time in his life.

 

Jacob had a past he believed would one day force him to recompense for his actions. Such was the case when he went to Laban and asked for Rachel’s hand in marriage. Jacob was forced to spend seven years in labor to prove his love for her, only to have the wool pulled over his eyes and was presented with Leah instead. Then, he spent another seven years in labor for Rachel.  What a difficult lesson as he gained new understanding of the deceit he perpetrated against his father and Esau.

 

As you read the story of his life, you see that  Jacob learned to hear the voice of God. He is seen building altars in the places where he found intimate meetings with God. Though he shared fellowship and a relationship with God, Jacob still had to deal with the issues of life. He had troubles with his father-in-law, his wives, and his children.

 

On Jacob’s journey home he knew in his spirit he would have to face Esau and feared the potential wrath of his brother’s 20 year grudge. In preparation, he began to send gifts of sheep, donkeys, and camels to Esau. Each time a gift was sent, his staff were directed to tell Esau these were from Esau’s humble servant, Jacob. He was preparing the ground for reconciliation and sending the message that he was willing to be a humble servant to receive forgiveness and make amends.

 

As the servants returned with the message that Esau was coming to meet Jacob and bringing 400 men with him, he was so overwhelmed with the anxiety and fear that he sent his wives, maids, children and all of his possessions away for safety. Jacob then cried out to the Lord for safety and deliverance.  The Bible says, “Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched… The man then said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob replied, “ I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Gen. 32:24-26 NIV). The man asked his name and then blessed him there.

 

Some thoughts we can draw from this story.

  • Jacob was brought to a place of humility and service.
  • Jacob, although he walked with God, had fear and regret in his heart.
  • Jacob recognized his past sins, although forgiven by God, could have consequences.
  • Jacob was determined, steadfast, committed to prayer, and seeking forgiveness but there were difficulties.  

 

Everything was on the line. Jacob was physically and emotionally worn out, broken. He had wrestled all night, he was gripped with fear and now he was physically hurt.

Jabbok was a final altar for Jacob—a place of total surrender, a place of brokenness, a place of loneliness. This story reminds me that our lives often culminate where we lay everything on the line for God. We must come to a place of total surrender, alone, face our fears, cry out to God and accept any pressure that may accompany our calling. Our family, financial challenges, and ministry issues weigh heavy on us at times. This may be our Jabbok, a final altar for us but there is a peace that surpasses all understanding.

 

As we continue our forty-day prayer emphasis, please know that God will meet us at our Jabbok. In fact, I believe for some of you reading this, you have crossed the ford and are feeling totally alone and at a place of brokenness. This is one of the greatest opportunities to come before the Lord, pray and listen. Build your altar, make your sacrifice, and don’t get up until you have wrestled and won His blessing. God will grant you peace, grace, strength and the clarity you need; as well as direct your steps forward.

 

This place, Jabbok, is a place of angst, pain, and sacrifice. It is a place that I don’t like to visit often in my life. Feeling alone, feeling fear, feeling uncertainty about your future is a tough place to be. But, it is a place Jacob needed to be before he could reconcile with his brother. He needed to be alone, a place of brokenness, crying out for deliverance, and face to face with God. It is here he found that he was in right standing with God, in His will and that God alone would sustain him.

 

  • Jacob was alone with God.
  • Jacob was hungry for God.
  • Jacob was broken by God.
  • Jacob was honest with God.

 

In 2019, let’s move past our Jabbok, the final altar in our lives, and press on to what God has for us. Is there anything holding you back? Are you living in fear, worry and feeling alone? Build that altar today! Stay there until you find Hope and hear from the Lord.

 

Remember, the Global Teen Challenge staff is praying for you. Every day of the week during these 40 days and every week of the year, we call out the names of the nations where there are Teen Challenge centers and we pray for the leaders, the staff and the students.

 

We love you and pray God will bless you.

 

Jerry, PhD

President

Global Teen Challenge

5 Comments

  1. Joseph on January 15, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    I needed this. The final altar in my life to the other side. Praise Jesus and God bless you Sir. Thanks for praying for and with us.

  2. Chazz Johnson Teen Challenge Central Canada on January 15, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    I felt I’ve been in this state for some years now and feel like I’ve been wrestling with the lord all this time. I agree with this encouragement to lay down all!!! Not my will but your will be done Lord. In wrestling with God I’ve been pleading with Him about my fears, insecurities, and inadequacies and can relate 100% with Jacob in all aspects. The lords response continues to be ” be strong and courageous” He is with us. Just to be clear to lay your life down for your friends and to take up our cross isnt by any means an easy task. Putting to death anything of yourself is definitely uncomfortable and full of fear and doubt but to know God has life for when you lose your life then you gain it should be all the more we should have joy in obedience to the love he has called us to, for our families and the lost. I know I fail for shear lack of the fear of the Lord but praise be to the lord for in Jeremiah “Thus says the Lord””I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.”
    Jeremiah 32:39‭-‬41 Esv.
    My spirit tells me to surrender everything to him. Give Him all your time. Get into prayer no matter how difficult it is, get into His word for for the truth shall set you free, offer you bodies has a living sacrifice which is your spiritual worship, for those who are trained by discipline yield its peaceful fruit of righteousness. And mostly to have Joy for thou he was a son He learned obedience through the things He suffered. LORD as you promised please through your word “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
    Acts 1:8 Esv .
    Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
    Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21 ESV in Jesus name Amen

  3. Daniel Seguin on January 16, 2019 at 12:23 am

    Thank you for all the prayers and support that the TC leadership give to the staff and students in our Centers. I’m in Aruba in a program that is truly trying to find it’s wings. I was blessed to be sent from Canada to help out in whatever capacity I can. I’m praying for wisdom and insight to help keep this Center sustainable and that the right permanent staff can be here to teach them in Spanish or their language of Papiamento. We’re low on students, this Island has a drug epidemic, they need Jesus. We all need Jesus, let the world see this.

  4. Janice Joyner on January 16, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Thank you for your insight and your encouragement.

    • Ruth Davidson on January 16, 2019 at 3:09 pm

      God Bless You Dr. Nance and Global Teen challenge. This message is right on time for me. Thank you for your prayer, commitment and love for the hurting and lost, not just in the states, but World-Wide. May God continue his blessings on you, your family and this life saving ministry called Teen Challenge. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us next!

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