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by Ron Rose
Wrestling with God
    In Haran, Jacob worked for Laban, Rebekah’s brother, who proved to be just as much a manipulator as Jacob had been. But after twenty years God had blessed Jacob with Rachel and Leah as wives, eleven sons, servants, and enormous flocks. According to God’s calendar, it was now time for Jacob to return to Canaan.

The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. Your name will now be Israel, because you have wrestled with God and with people, and you have won.”

You support me with your fight hand. You have stooped to make me great. You give me a better way to live, so I live as you want me to.
PSALM 18:55-56

LORD. I trust you. I have said, “You are my God.” My life is in your hands.
PSALM 31:14-15
    When Jacob’s caravan reached the borders of Canaan, he was warned that Esau was on his way to meet him. Fearful of his brother’s intentions, Jacob turned to God. He thanked God for staying with him in Haran and blessing him; then he begged God to save him and his family from the revenge of Esau. Jacob sent a peace offering ahead, hoping to pacify his brother.

    That night Jacob wrestled with an angel and endured until morning. When it was over, Jacob was convinced he had seen the face of God and lived to tell about it. The result gave Jacob new confidence and a new name — a new way to see himself. No longer was he to be known as the “trickster;” now he was to be called “Israel”—the “struggler.” His reunion with Esau was nothing like he had imagined. God blessed them with reconciliation, and later ,Jacob built the first altar named after the God of Israel. The door to God’s promise finally swung wide open — Israel had twelve sons.

Reflection:At some point in our lives we all identify with the wrestling Jacob. We wrestle with God in a search for truth — truth about our world, our faith, and ourselves. Thankfully God is a self-restrained wrestling partner who seeks our growth, not our defeat. May we, like Jacob, hear God say, “You have wrestled with God and with people, and you have won.”


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