Wrestling with God – A Royal Rumble
What do Abraham Lincoln, Hulk Hogan and Jacob, son of Isaac have in common? Wrestling! Not only to succeed in the ring, but to establish their place in history, as well.
In 1830, young Lincoln was the wrestling champion of his county in Illinois. Today, he is better known as the American president who governed a young nation struggling to survive.
Hogan wrestled his way into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. He reigned as the 12-time world heavy weight wrestling champion. Hulk Hogan is arguably the most famous WWE Superstar of all time.
Jacob was no stranger to struggles. In his mother’s womb, he jostled with his brother, Esau. Blessings were extremely important to Jacob. So much so that he deceived his father and betrayed his brother to get his father’s blessings. For years, Jacob struggled with Laban, his father-in-law in order to obtain Rachel as his wife.
Through all the struggles, God’s plan for Jacob prevailed. While camping alone at Bethel, Jacob dreamed of angels ascending and descending on a stairway to heaven. At the top, the Lord appeared and offered to be Jacob’s God. He also promised to bless Jacob with land, descendants, and protection wherever he went.
Later, on his way to Canaan, Jacob heard Esau was coming to meet him. Afraid, he sent his family ahead. Meanwhile, he stayed behind on the bank of the Jabbok River. Perhaps he was thinking back to his alone time with God at Bethel. Could he have been hoping to receive another “stairway” blessing from the Lord?
God did bless Jacob again. However, this time it came in the form of a “royal rumble” with God. The angel of the Lord appeared to him as a man, and they wrestled for many hours.
The man saw he could not overpower Jacob. Finally, he threw a “submission hold” on him, dislocating his hip. Still, Jacob refused to let go. Nothing would stop him, not even the pain. He continued to wrestle as he declared to the angel. “No, I will not let you go without a blessing!”
And God answered. “Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.’” Genesis 32:28
When it was over, Jacob was assigned the name, Israel, which meant having power with God. His new name would remind him God controlled his destiny. His limp would remind him he had wrestled with God successfully, and God had blessed him in his struggles. (Genesis 32:24-26 NIV notes)
God’s blessings come in various forms, such as promises, position, and power. But sometimes, they come in the form of a struggle.
- Have you ever tried to control your destiny?
- Have you struggled with God and people while learning to overcome your circumstances?
- Are you willing to wrestle with God until He blesses you?
- Have you spent time alone with God in hopes of a blessing, and received a struggle instead?
- What can you do in order to allow God to turn your struggles into blessings?
- Embrace God’s sovereignty over every area of your life.
- Refuse to be a victim and by faith, rise above your circumstances.
- Focus on and “fight” for God’s blessing rather than give in to the struggle.
- Acknowledge the fact that God will work your struggles to your good.
- Determine to trust God for the good, the bad and the ugly.