• Jonathan Shuerger

You Probably Don't Fight God Enough (Spiritual)

Updated: Mar 15

Gen. 32:24, And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

America likes to hamster-ball.

We take our kids, our families, our friends and ourselves, and we insulate them as best we can from the dangers of the world. Just slap a turtle shell, blindfold and ear muffs on our kids so they never encounter temptation, that's the way, right?

Also, never question. Well, not never, right; it's okay to ask questions about what college to attend. Don't question the Bible, though, and never, ever, question God.

This is not a behavior God intended for us. A life insulated from conflict does not result in a better life. After we've gone as far as we're legally allowed to shelter our kids, we just have to sit back and hope they make the decisions we programmed into them.

I can't tell you how many reprobates I served with in the Marines who "used to attend church". I'd ask them about why they stopped, and they always said the same thing.

I couldn't ask any questions.

This is wrong, and the Bible tells us why.

Jacob is about to meet the brother whose life he stole. He just finished putting distance between the vengeance of Esau and his family, and before he passes over Penuel to join them, Jacob is attacked by a man we find out later is God Himself.

They wrestle all night long.

I can tell you right now, that never happens. The longest I've ever gone in a grappling match is 45 minutes, and most of that time was spent motionless, trying to figure out where to go next.

There's a couple things to notice here.

  • God doesn't annihilate him.

  • Jacob doesn't quit.

This may seem obvious, but God did not consider Jacob a threat. We know that because God does not kill Jacob, and He clearly has the power to do so, judging by what He does to Jacob's leg.

This fact feeds into the next observation: Jacob doesn't quit. All night long, Jacob and God remain locked in combat.

This concept is terrifying to God-fearing believers. You can't fight God! That's blasphemy!

It may help to keep this in context. Jacob was not trying to kill God, and God does not kill Jacob. Think of a wrestling match with your dad. Your dad isn't trying to hurt you, but he's not going to let you win, either.

As the dawn breaks, God tells Jacob to let Him go. Jacob refuses, citing his motivation for the combat as his desire to be blessed of God. This is a sharp contrast, by the way, to the first time Jacob received blessing, when he deceived Isaac his father into giving him Esau's blessing.

Esau is now across the river, likely waiting to kill Jacob for this theft. That path has not worked out for Jacob. Now, Jacob goes face-to-face with God Himself, because he wants His blessing.

There are people who fought God because they wanted to destroy Him. These are your skeptics, atheists, and God-haters. This is not the healthy conflict I'm advocating, because at some point, those people gave up. They disengaged from God, stopped learning about Him and settled on disinterest or hate as the conclusion they wanted.

Jacob stayed locked with God until he obtained His blessing.

To honor Jacob's relentless grit, God gave him a new name: Isra-el. Lots of people mistranslate this name as "Prince of God"; I know this, because I was one of them. Then I learned Arabic and realized that the name Isra-el means "he who wrestles with God".

Consider that again, because that is huge. The nation of Israel takes its name from this moment. The chosen people of God are not named the Abrahamites, the patriarch known for his faith. They are not called the Isaakites, for the good man who lived in quiet obedience.

God named them after the fighter.

Lock horns with God. Ask your hard questions, and don't give up until you get your answers. If you're not getting answers, you're not fighting hard enough, or long enough.