Jacob wrestled with God. Striving in intercession is often misunderstood as striving against God. Struggling in prayer is often seen as forcing God to act or move on our behalf, but battling with an angry God, to extract a blessing is not a scriptural concept. This is the world’s concept of a pagan deity not the truth about the God of the Bible. Our striving is indeed a struggle, but it is not a fight against God. Our struggling is rather a battle against self – it is a battle against the flesh.
God had determined to bless Jacob from before birth, but Jacob wrestled and strove. God had chosen Jacob to be His son of promise, but Jacob used deception and deceit. God had appointed Jacob to be the father of His chosen people, but self fought on. All through his life, Jacob was identified by God as His chosen son.. but for much of his life, Jacob determined to do things his own way and not God’s way. And so the blessings Jacob so desired and sought, were withheld by a gracious God. And God waited, and He waited, and He waited for Jacob. God just waited. He waited for fleshly, cunning, ungovernable Jacob.
Our battles and strivings are not against an angry God Who hides His face from us. Never.. never, for God giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not. God’s eternal character would be compromised should this be interpreted thus. God’s Word would be discredited, should intercessory prayer be thus regarded, but God will not reward the old man, the old sinful nature. God will not reward self. Self must be slain – and God waits until we are ready.
Our strivings in prayer are not against God but against our own sinful flesh. Self and the flesh must be put off and nailed to the cross. Christ and the new you must be resurrected – and the new man in Christ put on. And this was what Jacob eventually learned in his wrestling with God. This is what we too must learn in our daily strivings with the Lord.
Jacob knew the promises of God. Jacob knew that through him, all the families of the earth were to be blessed. Jacob knew that God had chosen and appointed Him above His worldly brethren. Jacob knew that his was the birthright – his the promise – and his the blessing.. just as you know the promises of God – just as you – know that you have been chosen: chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. Yet Jacob shrewdly schemed and cleverly planned his way through life. Jacob had a rebellious heart, a stained heart, a lonely heart. Jacob had a heart of rage – bloodied and unbroken and overwhelmed with doubt.. but as it is written: God loved Jacob.. with His everlasting love.
Jacob was successful in a worldly sense, and yet his heart was hardened towards his Lord. And his birthright and the promise and the blessing were his, but the birthright and the promise and the blessing were held, in abeyance – and as it is written: God loved Jacob.. with His everlasting love. ‘I can do all things through me!!’ Jacob schemed. And God waited for Jacob.. and God waited and waited and waited and waited.
Jacob’s ego was inflated and his pride glistened like a necklace, and still: God loved Jacob.. with an everlasting love. Jacob had fought his way through his life with his father and mother. Jacob had fought his way through his life with his brother Esau. Jacob had fought his way through his life with his uncle, Laban. Jacob battled with his wives – and he had strove with his children and Jacob accumulated what he desired – and Jacob went where he chose. And Jacob had what he wanted. But Jacob was dissatisfied.
And through his life, God blessed Jacob in many ways and Jacob prospered. God blessed this man – this: Jacob whom I love, but God left Jacob needing more and wanting more – and God just waited. Jacob knew Who his God was, but he did not permit God to know him until Jacob wrestled with God all night – and God broke Jacob. Jacob sought God for a blessing – a paltry, little, insignificant, pathetic, blessing. ‘Save me and my family.. ‘Save me from the wrath of my worldly brother, who seeks my life‘ he whimpered, “I will not let You go unless you bless me,” was his cry as he feared his brother’s rage. All Jacob was concerned about that night was a safe passage through the world of Esau.
All Jacob sought that dark night was a mess of pottage in his journey across the earth. But God had so much more that He desired to do through Jacob. God had chosen this man for heights he could scarce begin to comprehend. God had great plans for this man – but God first had to deal with Jacob’s self. His ego had to be crushed. His pride had to be humbled. ‘Self’ had to be placed on the Cross. God had to be given His rightful position in Jacob’s life. It was only when Jacob was broken and bowed in submission before his God, that God met with Jacob in a way that he never forgot – as it is written: God Loved Jacob… with an everlasting love.
That night, Jacob limped from his encounter a broken man. That night, Jacob was humbled under the might hand of an almighty God. That night, Jacob became insignificant in his own eyes for the rest of his life. That night, for the first time, Jacob became totally and utterly dependent upon God. That night the scheming, self-sufficient, supplanter – Jacob, became ‘prince with God’: for God loved Jacob… with His everlasting love.
All scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for reproof and correction. All scripture serves as an example and shadow of heavenly things. So humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.
48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
6 Hear ye now what the Lord saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.
2 Hear ye, O mountains, the Lord‘s controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the Lord hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel.
3 O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.
4 For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
5 O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord.
6 Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
9 The Lord‘s voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.
10 Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable?
11 Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?
12 For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
13 Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because of thy sins.
14 Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and that which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword.
15 Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil; and sweet wine, but shalt not drink wine.
16 For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing: therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people.
3 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;
23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
25 Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.
3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.
4 Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.
5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.
6 Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord.
8 Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.
9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
11 For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.
12 What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.
13 His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.
14 The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
15 Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
16 Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses.
18 Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.
19 Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred.
20 O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.
22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
131 Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.
3 Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever.
149 Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.
2 Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
3 Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.
4 For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.
5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.
6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;
7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people;
8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;
9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord.