Wrestle It Out (Part 3)
The past few weeks we have been studying what it means to wrestle a situation out with God. We have learned that sometimes we are just as intimate with God in a wrestling situation as we are in a time when we are happy and feeling spiritual. Times of struggle are necessary in our lives to help us to learn and to grow. We must purpose in our hearts that we will stay focused and hang on to God in these times and not run away from the fear or the pain of the struggle because we know that in the end, when we are holding to God, we will always come out a winner.
Handout: Wrestle It Out
Teachers Guide: Wrestle It Out
In the last 2 parts of this lesson, we learned that much like Jacob’s physical struggle in Genesis 32, we also sometimes wrestle spiritually with God about certain situations in our lives. We are not to struggle against God, but sometimes we must struggle along with Him in our own minds until we come to a new understanding and a higher plane of walking with the Lord. He allows this to happen not so that we will lose, but that we can grow in His grace and so that we can step into the plan that He has had for our lives since the beginning of time! In times of struggle about a temptation, a painful event that is happening, or whatever it is that we are wrestling through, if we hang on to God and do not give up, God can bring us through to blessing. We learned He can bring us to:
Let’s continue on with the last part of this series and learn what else we can gain from these times of wrestling with God in necessary situations.
“24And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 25And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 26And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 27And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 29And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. 30And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
Notice verses 26 and 27 of this chapter.
3. A New Identity in Christ
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
We understand that when we accept Christ, we are born into the family of God and we become a new creation in Christ. We not only live with our old fleshly natures but God places a new nature on the inside of us when is His Holy Spirit. He begins a work in us that is an ongoing process.
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
So He begins this work in us, and that is cutting away everything that doesn’t look like Jesus. He is cutting away our old selves, cutting away at our pride, jealousy, hatred, anger and all the things that come with our fleshly natures. We begin to walk in faith and to grow Spiritually each day. In the times of wrestling and struggling through a situation that God has allowed for the purpose of drawing us closer to Himself, He many times will bring us to a new identity. It is a time if Spiritual growth when it is time for us to no longer be babes in Christ but we are to become mature Christians.
This is what happened to Jacob in Genesis 32. We learned in previous lessons that Jacob had never had an honest struggle in his life. He has always schemed to get ahead and then had to run because of the damage his scheming caused and now God has told him to go back and to face his past. Jacob was still up to his old tricks but God had a different plan, he was going to change who Jacob was. In this wrestling match, Jacob had struggled with this man all night and at the breaking of dawn the man tells Jacob to let him go because light was approaching. It was suggested last week that Jacob may have wrestled with God Himself in human form or preincarnate Christ and that is why he was told to let him go at day break because no man can see God’s face and live. We are not certain but what a wonderful thought!
Jacob tells him I will not let you go until you bless me!
Genesis 32:26 “And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
27And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
Why do you suppose He asked Jacob His name? God knows all things. Remember in the beginning in the book of Genesis chapter 3 when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and they hid themselves in shame and God came in the cool of the evening and called for Adam. God said where are you? Why are you hiding? God begins to ask Adam a series of questions, not because He didn’t know exactly what had happened, God knows all and sees all, but God was asking Adam these questions to get Adam to understand what he had done.
God knew Jacob’s name, but He wanted Jacob to say it out. Remember we learned that the name Jacob meant heal grabber, schemer. God already had a plan for Jacob and his new name but Jacob had to get to the place where he could step into it. Sometimes we just have to get real honest with God and ourselves and admit who we are and what we are, flaws and all, so that God can get that old identity out of us and help us to walk in the blessing of what He has called us to be. Hallelujah! God already knows what we are, He knows every mistake we have ever made and will ever make and still He calls us Child! Oh Praise the Lord! We have not begun to live up to that new name, but still He speaks it! When we wrestle this thing out and we realize that God has a higher calling on our lives, we can release that fear of understanding who we are in ourselves, all the bad things we are ashamed of, and we can give them to God and let Him change who we are into what He who He wants us to be!
28And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
He said your name will no longer be Jacob, but now you will be known as Israel because you have not given up! The name Israel means, “God prevails” Wow! Jacob was no longer Jacob, the one who schemed to get ahead, but now Israel, one who was walking with God and letting God prevail! I want to be an Israel today, don’t you dear one? We can be! I want to let go of all the things that tie me to Jacob, all the fears and doubts and insecurities, and I want to be Israel, the one who allows God to prevail in my life. Brothers and Sisters we can have this! God can bring us to the blessing of our new name, we can walk in the identity He has for us when we hold fast to Him and don’t let go!
There may be one who is thinking, but I already let go of Him a long time ago. Beloved grab back on! He is still there! It is not too late to walk in the new identity He has for you! Get on your face before Him and call out. Grab back on to Him because He is and will always be holding you! Praise You Lord! God is so good.
The last thought I wish for us to see is that not only did Jacob come out with a new identity but with a new way of walking.
Genesis 32:31 “And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
Jacob, now Israel, came out of that struggle with God but he was walking with a limp. He had been injured because of his encounter with The Divine! Sometimes in a struggle, we come out of it with a whole new outlook, a whole new understanding, but the struggle itself has left us limping so to speak. We can run for fear of being injured and walk the same way we have always been walking, or we can wrestle it out! We can hang on and we may come out of it with a limp but praise the Lord we come out of it with a new way of walking and we understand that we can NEVER go back to how we were before because we have been face to face with our Father and He has called us to a higher purpose than just that of everyday life! Praise You Father!
Tears come now because I think of the struggle that I myself have been in the past few weeks. I have been injured but praise God I have a whole new understanding now of God and His grace. Day by day I feel Him calling me and lifting me higher and I NEVER want Him to stop, no matter how hard it may be for my flesh because I know that in the end I will be a victor. You can be too Dear One! God isn’t looking for perfect people who never stumble or struggle, He is looking for victors for faithers! For those who will wrestle things out along with Him and never give up no matter what until we can step into the plans He has for us and use us for His glory to bear much fruit! If you have been through a struggle and you are walking with a limp, you hold your hands high to God in praise and thank Him for bringing you through with a new understanding and a new way of walking in His grace. Thank You Lord!
A good soldier may come through a battle, but you can bet that he will have the battle scars to show that he has been in war. His wounds and scars hold not shame, but in them a much deeper story than what can be seen with eyes. We are the same. We may come out with battle scars but we come out with victory! God never promised that it would be easy, but He does promise that He will fight for us and that we can be more than a conqueror through Christ who loves us so much and died for us and who is our strength!
Dear Heavenly Father…
Thank You so much, for this day. Thank You for helping me through this. Thank You Lord for the lessons You have taught me in the past weeks. Lord I praise You for bringing me through the battle despite myself. Lord I praise You for the victories that You have brought me and all of Your children through. I ask today that You help us to remember who You are and that we do not have to wrestle against You but with You. We know that You will never leave or forsake us but that when we draw close to You, You will draw closer to us. Father You are a very present help in times of trouble and You are our strength and our refuge. You ARE our Salvation! Help us to latch on to You and never let go knowing that You always win and You already have our victories planned out ahead of us, all of them! Thank You LORD for all that You are. Help us to run to You and wrestle the things out that we must and to always know that You are our refuge and our High Tower. Help us LORD to be a refuge to others who are hurting today. Please bless this ministry and help us in our labor of Love for You and for Your Kingdom. Help us to bear much fruit for Your glory and Honor. Thank You for loving us and keeping us everyday in You. We will forever love You and praise You. In the lovely name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
November 1, 2009