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Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Genesis 32-34
Today, I’m excited so forgive me if I hyper focus on a particular portion of our passage because it is a GAME CHANGER if we just open our eyes to it.
First, I’ll point out a few other things before I get into what I’m so excited about.
Genesis 32 shows Jacob fearful that his brother, Esau, would attack him and his family. But we see in Genesis 32:12 that Jacob chose to go to the Father with his concerns and more importantly, remind himself of the promises of YHWH.
Later on in that chapter we see Jacob wrestling with a man but this verse is huge:
Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have wrestled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Genesis 32:28
Wow. I mean, can you imagine hearing that said to you? This piece of Biblical history is extremely important to know. This is not the first time we have seen YHWH declare Himself in Human form and the text is clear in these cases we’re reading that it is YHWH Himself. There is just a lot to wrap your head around. I have much more to say about this in my private notes but this one passage steps on the toes of a lot of doctrine so I’ll keep my public notes simple: The text is clear this was YHWH and the Father has always always always remained so very near to us.
Other places we’ve seen the Father appear in human form so far:
- Genesis 16:9-13
- Genesis 18:1-33
- Genesis 17:1
Jacob wrestled with YHWH.
I don’t know about y’all but I spent a good bit of my life as a Christian thinking I was hiding things from the Father. I didn’t question Him openly (outside of my own private thoughts), I pretended to be cool with all the circumstances that befell me when bad times hit, and I was a master at hiding my frustration when I felt like His word didn’t make sense.
And then, some years ago, the whole concept of wrestling with God really hit home with me.
Jacob WRESTLED with YHWH.
So let us reason this out here.
YHWH KNOWS when we are angry with Him.
He knows when we are hurt or confused with Him.
He knows when we are questioning His actions or a decision or a purpose.
So what are we doing when we come to Him and pretend we aren’t doing any of these things?
We are acting as if we can pull one over on the almighty, as if He isn’t God enough to know what is really happening within us.
Do you see the ridiculousness in all of that?
So here is what I want to encourage you to do today:
WRESTLE WITH HIM
If you’re mad, be honest with Him. If you’re frustrated with Him, tell Him. I’m not saying be disrespectful or irreverent in any way, just honest.
Be honest with Him, He can take it.
HE ALREADY KNOWS IT.
So often, I’ve found, when I had a problem or issue, YHWH was patiently waiting on me to come to Him with it. But instead I wasted precious years working on it of my own accord until I finally came down to the last straw and that is when I turned to Him.
We, as believers, have got to train ourselves not to treat YHWH as a last resort if we want Him to be our first line of defense.
When you’re wrestling with something, wrestle it out with YHWH. He can take it.
And when you are done, you will be blessed for it and your faith strengthened as a result, just as Jacob/Israel was.
Wrestling with YHWH – meeting Him head on and not letting go until he was blessed through the encounter- changed Jacob’s identity.
Wrestle with Him. Seek His will. Search His word. Seek His face. Don’t give up until you see it, until you know, until you find shalom, the peace that only He can give.
Seek Him EARNESTLY, with ALL your heart, with every fiber of your being.
HE WILL BE FOUND.
You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart. ~Jeremiah 29:13
“Hear, O Israel! YHWH is our God, YHWH is one! “You shall love YHWH your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” ~Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Israel has wrestled with YHWH, and this amazing story is just getting started.
Jacob to Israel, What’s in a name?
Up until this point we have seen Jacob both rise and fall to the occasion before him. He has behaved tempestuously more often than not.
But at this moment, a new man is born. Israel means “to wrestle or struggle with God”.
Jacob has matured, he has faced YHWH face to face, struggled with Him, and figuratively prevailed in beginning the transformation into the man he is to be. I see this akin to stepping up to the plate. In this moment, he is recognizing not only who he is but who he is in YHWH’s eyes, demanding blessing as he resolves to submit himself too YHWH.
He named the place where they wrestled Peniel, which means “face” in Hebrew. No longer living of his own accord, he faced the Father, saw His Face (can you imagine!), acknowledged who He was, and Israel was born of that.
For each of us, stepping into the will of the Father can be as simple as that first turning and facing the truth of our Father.
Genesis 33:11 shows us another glimpse of the new man, Israel.
“Please accept my blessing that is brought to you, because YHWH has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.”
Y’all, that is beautiful. Our hearts should be so turned as well.
For Further thoughts, Check out this Sidebar: How could Jacob wrestle with YHWH and win?
Test everything, hold tight to what is good. ~1 Thess 5:21