ArticlesPoetry Sep 17, 2018 Overcoming God
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Creator and author,

Gen­e­sis 32:24-31 is the day Ja­cob died and Is­rael took his first breath. There are many, many things to say about this pas­sage. We could for ex­am­ple ask our­selves as we read, “Have I wres­tled with God and won?” Or we could talk about how Is­rael is an al­tar, a wrestling and plead­ing with The Holy God. Are you an al­tar? We could talk about the jar­ring sud­den­ness of verse 24. How does Ja­cob, across the bridge of a mild semi­colon, go from be­ing alone to wrestling with God into death and res­ur­rec­tion? How does Ja­cob know to ask for a bless­ing in verse 26? Could it be that we can only know God’s Na­ture through striv­ing with Him? Could it be that in some strug­gles, we do not wres­tle against flesh and blood or even pow­ers and prin­ci­pal­i­ties but against The Holy Lord of Hosts? What kind of a man is Ja­cob who, af­ter sus­pect­ing that he is wrestling against God, keeps go­ing! and in fact fights even hard­er? He flees his flesh and blood broth­er who is try­ing to kill him but wres­tles till sun­set against The Almighty God! This is a deep les­son. Per­haps I should not fight peo­ple. Per­haps I should not fight my wife. Per­haps I should in­stead wres­tle with God.

So so much we could talk about but these are not our con­cerns to­day. We are con­cerned in­stead with this cu­ri­ous thing in Gen­e­sis 32:25. It is a mar­velous and great and beau­ti­ful verse. These words are to be trea­sured above any­thing that can be trea­sured in all the earth. I trem­ble to read them aloud. But let us not for­get that the oc­ca­sion for these words was Ja­cob’s en­counter with the Liv­ing God. Wher­ev­er man meets God, which is every­where, we have a para­ble. And so there is much to be learned from this salient jew­el.


“When the man saw that he did not pre­vail against Ja­cob, he touched the hol­low of his thigh; and Ja­cob’s thigh was put out of joint as he wres­tled with him.” Who are those who pre­vail against the Lord? Against The Lord of Hosts?! Who are those against whom even God can­not pre­vail? Who will in­ter­cede so fer­vent­ly that the Lord of Hosts says, “Leave me alone!” ? Who will be like the Ro­man cen­tu­ri­on or the Sy­ro­phone­cian woman? Who will weary the Lord like the wid­ow wore down the un­right­eous judge? Who will ask and weep and weep and ask year af­ter year af­ter year like Anna? Who?! God help me be­come like Ja­cob who be­lieved. Let my end be greater than his. For as He­brews 11:6 re­minds us, only those who have faith in God pre­vail against Him.

When He seems to be dark­ness, be­lieve He Is Light and pray. When He Is An­gry with you, plead, plead for His Mer­cy for you be­lieve His Mer­cy En­dures For­ev­er. Since Christ has died, and since His Blood reach­es from cre­ation to rev­e­la­tion, be­lieve His Mer­cy En­dures for­ev­er. If you have sinned like Eve and are cursed then plead with Him and ask Him to turn you into Mary the moth­er of Je­sus Christ. Be­lieve in Him, hold fast to Him, obey Him. Deny your­self of every­thing but Him and you will pre­vail against God. You will win Him over ... to His Side. Why should we fight against the world? Christ has al­ready over­come the world John 16:33. All that re­mains is that we strive like Ja­cob to over­come Him.


But how shall you know when the fight with God for God is near­ly won? When the day is near­ly done, the at­mos­phere paints the sky with streaks of pur­ple and reds of many hues. What then is the sign by which you shall know that you have near­ly pre­vailed in your strug­gle with God? You shall know when He crip­ples you. When through prayer, some­thing breaks in your heart then you know that your fight is near­ly won. For He can­not break you with­out bless­ing you. Nor can He bless you with­out break­ing you. Only the pruned heart bears fruit John 15:1-3, He­brews 12:6.

Now I do not mean bro­ken the way the world means it. When the world speaks of bro­ken­ness, they of­ten mean some­thing like what hap­pened to Ja­cob who was un­der-loved by his fa­ther, cheat­ed by his fa­ther in law and run­ning away from the broth­er he cheat­ed. The world means you to be­lieve that you are bro­ken be­cause some­where some­how you have been hurt by some­thing that hap­pened to you ei­ther as a re­sult of your sin or some­one else’s sin. These are tragedies but they are not badges. They do not bring life or re­demp­tion. In­stead, these world­ly sor­rows we en­dure be­come a great temp­ta­tion to­wards pride which is de­spair.

The Death of Je­sus Christ on the cross is The only Tragedy that tran­scends hu­man his­to­ry and yet by this Tragedy we are saved. God­ly sor­row oc­curs when your tragedy en­coun­ters, col­lides with and abides in His Own. Bib­li­cal sor­row in­creas­es as you draw near­er to the cross. And when, like Ja­cob, your tragedy fi­nal­ly bows be­fore His Tragedy then you will be bro­ken. Be­come bro­ken by lay­ing down your tragedies, sor­rows, joys and de­sires and tak­ing up The Lord’s Joys, Sor­rows, De­sires and Tragedies Matthew 11:29. Only af­ter your heart is bro­ken can you be blessed.


Ja­cob, even af­ter be­ing bro­ken, did not stop fight­ing Gen­e­sis 32:26. God had to tell Him to let go. And even then, Ja­cob did not let go. In­stead, he bar­gained! Bar­gained with El Shad­dai. What a thing! Bar­gained like a child in a wrestling match bar­gain­ing with his Fa­ther. “Let go of my leg.” “I will not let you go un­til you ______.”

What is this blank in your heart? What is this burn­ing de­sire? Some­times we pray and pray and then our heart feels bro­ken and then we with­draw from prayer in de­spair. Some­times we get weary wait­ing for the sun­set. Some­times we are weary, our strength flag­ging and we are bare­ly clutch­ing the hem of His Gar­ment. There was once a woman who dis­cov­ered first in faith and then in heal­ing that mere­ly touch­ing the hem of His Gar­ment is enough for the bar­gain Mark 5:28-34. For like Ja­cob, she bar­gained with God by say­ing to her­self, “If I can touch the hem of his gar­ment then I will be healed.” God heard her. She could only touch. She could not cling or grasp. But she fought against the crowd, fought against her­self and be­lieved and stretched out her fin­gers to bare­ly touch the edge of His robe. Her light touch was the only blow she could land upon The Lord of Hosts.

But it was more than enough. Enough to make Je­sus say, “Some­one touched me for I felt pow­er go out from me.” Luke 8:46 All who wres­tle with Him do not grow weak­er. God Loves to Wres­tle. He wants you to win. He knows you are a hu­man be­ing wrestling with God and so He gives you His Pow­er to help you. Those who wres­tle with God “shall re­new their strength; they shall mount up with wings like ea­gles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isa­iah 40:31 Em­pow­ered by God, it is not sur­pris­ing that woman could over­come the crowd out­side her and the crowd with­in. Her strength grew and grew till with one touch she land­ed a blow on God. With one touch, The Lord of Hosts flops to the ground, hand over His Heart De­clar­ing for all the Heav­ens to hear, “You got me.” With one touch, The Lord was smit­ten and He Loved her and He healed her.

Ear­li­er, we spoke about be­ing bro­ken by the Lord as lay­ing down our sor­rows, joys and de­sires while tak­ing up His Own. Our hearts break when we lay down our hearts in the pur­suit of His Heart. And when in the midst of pur­su­ing, wrestling, wait­ing, pray­ing, The Lord hears you weep­ing with God­ly sor­row, it sounds to Him like the cry­ing of His baby. He does not send His an­gels. He Rush­es to your side. He Com­forts you. He Gives you your heart’s de­sire. Once upon a time both your heart and your de­sire were un­god­ly. Even the seem­ing­ly in­nocu­ous re­quest of want­i­ng a child with­out tru­ly want­i­ng the child for God is un­god­ly. But now through faith and prayer, you have wres­tled with God. Your heart has been bro­ken and your de­sires pu­ri­fied. Now He Will Bless you with your pure heart’s pure de­sire.

God Pre­vails

Wel­come to the heav­en­ly game be­tween The Fa­ther and His child. There will be chas­ing, wrestling, wait­ing and pray­ing. But this game is rigged be­cause all the chil­dren who play are strength­ened by The Fa­ther. Lit­tle chil­dren play games be­cause games are fun but these games help them grow and learn. The games spir­i­tu­al chil­dren play with their Fa­ther are also fun enough to car­ry the weight of eter­ni­ty. The birth, death and res­ur­rec­tion of Je­sus Christ was fore­told in the name Ja­cob won in a rigged wrestling match. All who over­come The Lord re­ceive a name. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spir­it says to the church­es. To him who con­quers I will give some of the hid­den man­na, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name writ­ten on the stone which no one knows ex­cept him who re­ceives it.” (Rev­e­la­tions 2:17)

So ask. Only when you feel what God Is Feel­ing can you bar­gain with Him for a bless­ing. Only when you know His Na­ture and Need can you pull the Han­nah and of­fer Him your Samuel. Like Ja­cob who be­lieved, refuse to let Him go till He Bless­es you. And when He Bless­es you, you will dis­cov­er that The Lord Is The Bless­ing. You see, Ja­cob’s fa­ther Isaac, Ja­cob’s new name “Is­rael” is an Eter­nal Joke. Is­rael means “God Pre­vails”. The Bible says that Ja­cob wres­tled with God and pre­vailed. Yet God changed Ja­cob’s name to “God Pre­vails”. Again we see the joy of the Lord amidst the sor­rows and tragedies of sin. Like a fa­ther wrestling with his child, God De­clares, “I win!” Full of Sor­row, while His Son, Je­sus “The Wrestler” Christ is suf­fer­ing, dy­ing, dead on the cross, the earth trem­bles, the sky goes dark and God Joy­ful­ly, Glee­ful­ly De­clares, “It is fin­ished. I win!”

Do you now see that you can only win God over when He Wins you Over? We can only pre­vail over God when God Pre­vails over us. Only the bro­ken are blessed. All the blessed are bro­ken. Like Ja­cob lift­ed up, bro­ken and blessed, like the Bread of Life lift­ed up, blessed and bro­ken to feed 3000, 5000, many, let God lift you up, bless you and break you.

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