“I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Genesis 32:26b
These past few weeks I have been watching a lot of the Olympics. I have not sat down for long stretches of time, but if I was able to catch a few minutes, I did. One of those times included watching the end of a wrestling match between Russia and Uzbekistan. At the end of the match, the Uzbek athlete lost, and proceeded to lay in the middle of the mat inconsolable. The referee or umpire or whatever they are called in wrestling, stood there offering a hand that was ignored. Finally, after what seemed a long time, he got up and stood there as the other athlete was called the winner. I made note of his actions, and didn’t think of them again until today.
I have been listening to a sermon podcast from church, and that is what brought the wrestler back to mind. Why? Well, after listening to this sermon, I really could relate to the guy on the mat. It was like if he stayed on the mat, then the match wasn’t really over. As he laid there, I wondered what was going through his mind? Maybe he was wrestling with his own emotions and thoughts. Then when he could bear the outcome, he was finally able to get up. It gave me a better picture of the story of Jacob and the night he wrestled with God. Even better than that, the whole story seemed to give me a better picture of my own wrestling with God.
Here is the quick rundown. Esau and Jacob were brothers, and Esau being the oldest was in line for the birthright and blessing from his father. These two brothers had two different mothers so there were a whole bunch of dysfunctional family dynamics going on. What winds up happening is that Jacob manipulates the situation and steals both the birthright and blessing. At that point Esau is mad as all get out and vows to kill his brother, so Jacob runs away.
While Jacob is gone, God guides him and blesses him, but It is not always pretty. He gets conned by his father in law, Laban. Then he is able to do some conning of his own, since he had been taken advantage of. God eventually tells him to return home, back to the land of his father and grandfather, where God promises to be with him. Jacob is now husband to two wives, baby daddy to two servants and father to many children. He came home very wealthy as he had flocks of many animals and lots of servants.
One thing he did not have was the knowledge of what waited for him at home. Would Esau welcome him? Would he still be calling for Jacobs blood? Jacob was terrified. So what does he do? Well he reminds God of all the promises that He made to Jacob and his family. The one’s where God said He would protect Jacob if he returned home, and that He would multiply Jacob’s descendants until they were as many as the sand on the beach. So Jacob then slept peacefully reminded of all God’s promises, right? Continue reading “Holding on…”