To Wrestle with God

Jacob, alone in the wilderness and facing a crisis, has a wrestling match. He lasts through the night, refusing to let go, and demands a blessing. The Lord gives him that blessing but leaves him with a humbling reminder of their interaction, a limp. This Jacob becomes Israel, which means to struggle or wrestle with God.[1]

There is a dynamic between God and the Jewish people that is a mystery to me. I see it in some even today - an awe and reverence of God but mixed with chutzpah and a boldness to challenge Him as well. What a beautiful tension – and God seems to honor it. He allows, even invites the challenge, and on occasion appears to change course because of it.

Abraham openly engages God over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. Amos intercedes in the judgment and destruction of Israel.[2] David pleads to spare the people of his kingdom from the punishment he alone deserved.[3] Job tells God he wants a fair hearing. Moses argued with God on behalf of Israel to spare them although they deserved to die. When Micah prophesied destruction, Hezekiah sought God’s favor and He relented.[4]

God is good and has good plans for His people. When I pray, I often assume those plans are already fixed and that I need to just get on board. But He also invites us to wrestle and struggle with Him - and it appears He will occasionally alter course because of our interaction.

Teach me, Lord, to pray. Show me how to be fully submitted to your will and yet boldly wrestle, confident of Your character and love. Give me chutzpah and daring faith.

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42

[1] Genesis 32

[2] Amos 7:3

[3] 1 Chronicles 21

[4] Jeremiah 26

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