over­com­ing god

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.

“Is it not indeed from the LORD of Hosts that the labor of the peo­ple only feeds the fire, and the nations weary them­selves in vain? For the earth will be filled with the knowl­edge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”
- Habakkuk 2:13-14

Wanna reach out and ask me some ques­tions? Or do you want clar­i­fi­ca­tion on some­thing writ­ten here? If so, write me a let­ter. I’d love to hear from you and I’ll respond. I bet your hon­est ques­tion will pro­duce insights that will ben­e­fit other read­ers.