Wrestling With God
On their Christmas break with Papa and Ami, our three Alabama grandsons were into Star Wars. Not the new one, but the Episodes I and II. Just mention characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Queen Amidale, Anakin Skywalker and droids R2-D2 and C-3 PO, starfighters, and hyperdrive, and my grandsons can fill you in on the places, equipment, characters, and plot. They can track the story. (Praise the Lord, my daughter and son-in-law are working even harder to tell my grandsons the biblical stories.)
Mention to kids from a devout, Jewish home in the 8thcentury BC characters like Jacob and Esau, a place like Bethel, or a patriarch who wrestled with God’s messenger, and they could tell you immediately about Esau and Jacob even better than our kids know the Star Wars Epics.
There is evidence of this as Hosea launches into his fifth judgment-salvation cycle (Hosea 11:12 -14:9) with some strong reminders of Jacob grabbing Esau’s heel in the womb (Gen. 25:26), cheating his older brother (Gen. 27:26), wrestling with God’s messenger at the Jabbok River (Gen. 32:28) and the heavenly vision of the stairway to heaven at Bethel (Gen. 28:11-22, and 35:6-15).
“Now the LORD has a legal case against Judah and he will punish Jacob according to his ways. He will bring back against Jacob the results of his actions. In the womb he grabbed his brother by the heel; in his strength as an adult man he struggled with God. He wrestled with the divine messenger and won. He wept and begged for God’s compassion. At Bethel he found Him and talked with Him there.
The LORD God Almighty, the LORD is His name of renown! But you must return to your God. You must remain true to the divine covenant of love and justice and wait for your God always.” Hosea 12:2-6
Jacob moved from being a bad character who cheated, lied, and stole from his brother, to become a man who knew how to wait upon the LORD. At his core Jacob cared about God’s promise to redeem us through the seed of a woman, the seed of Abraham, the seed of Isaac—the redeemer promise that leads to Jesus. That’s why he wouldn’t let go of the angel of God in their wrestling match. And God didn’t bless him because Jacob was stronger. It was because his grip revealed how much he wanted God and his blessing. Hosea wants his people, like Jacob, to move from being liars and cheats to becoming princes who hang on to God and his promise.
LORD, help me as I teach at Southern Bible Institute & College this semester to raise up a generation who will know their Old Testament and learn from characters like Jacob. Help them to be transformed as they live in these stories.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!