Genesis 32:24-30 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
In the most extreme moment of his life, when his entire household was threatened with annihilation, the Patriarch Jacob wrestled with a Man through an entire sleepless night. Somehow, after this astounding encounter, Jacob came to the realization that he had been wrestling with God, and face to face! Once again, the Lord God of heaven showed Himself as a human being to a man He loved; this time, for the purpose of rescuing, blessing, and preserving the man’s destiny.
Jacob was relentless during this struggle and his perseverance changed him profoundly, forever, in several ways: he was wounded and walked with a limp for the rest of his life, a sign of human weakness and dependance on the Lord; he was given a new name and with it a new identity, as a prince with God, and one whose struggle with the Almighty saved his life, his family, and his God given inheritance and posterity; and finally, Jacob received the long-awaited relief and closure with the brother whom he had deceived and enraged so many years before.
So this wrestling match with God was a massive turning point in Jacob’s life, and though it must have taken every ounce of human effort he could muster, the victory he won affected every human being in history, since, of course, the Man that Jacob wrestled with was almost certainly the same Man who became his most important descendant, the Savior of the world, Yeshua, the Messiah; (Jesus the Christ).
How often difficulties and crises are used by the Lord to bring us closer and to develop intimacy with Him. It is sometimes the Lord’s will to draw us to Himself through extreme and even terrible circumstances or threats. The inner transformation that can take place when we pass through these intense prayer battles, cannot perhaps, be accomplished any other way. But consider the fruit and the blessing which can result from these mighty wrestlings. And consider how being that close to God Himself may change you forever. So, you who are gutting out that anguishing trial–don’t let go until you receive the blessing, the change, the victory. I believe the Lord also wants to say to you— that you have struggled with God and with men — and have prevailed!
Your family in the Lord with much agape love