God Wrestles With Man! (Gen 32:24-32)
Speaker: Pr Joshua Yong
Date: 22 Mar 2020

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Sermon notes taken by:

Mrs Audrey Tam

Jacob had been “wrestling” his whole life: when he was born, when he stole his brother's birthright, when he married Leah and Rachel, and when he obtained his wages from Laban. Only later in life did Jacob understand that God was with him and had been blessing him. In Genesis 32:24-32, Jacob wrestled with the Second Person of the Trinity. God initiated this encounter to break Jacob, to humble and transform him completely.

God wrestles with man to break man .

The Lord Jesus chose not to prevail against Jacob, and He touched “the hollow of his thigh” (Gen 32:25, i.e Jacob’s hip socket, an important part of man’s body which helps man to walk properly).

Our response to adversities shows our trust (or lack of it) in God. One example is a student’s reaction when he receives his not-too-good exam results. The Covid-19 pandemic must wake us up to realise how puny man is. It should cause us to examine ourselves if we have been relying on the Lord or on our own self. It should humble us and help us see the importance of God in our life.

God wrestles with man to remind man that he has no one to go to except Him .

Jacob realized that the Man he was wrestling with was no ordinary man, especially when the Lord touched “the hollow of his thigh.” God taught Jacob that He is always with him, and he must always cling to God and rely on Him, especially in times of affliction. With his joint out of place, Jacob clung on even tighter. Jacob had no one else to turn to except God. Have we also come to the point where we completely surrender to the Lord and cling to Him?

God wrestles with man to transform man .

“Jacob” means usurper, and that was how Jacob had been living his life all these years. Now the Lord changed his name to “Israel,” the Prince of God. This is significant as it represents a change in Jacob’s life, and Jacob’s view of the world. Jacob named that place “Peniel” (Gen 32:30), for he had seen God face to face.

Adversities can be good for us if we are transformed by such experiences and we turn back to God. Let us remember God and not forget the lessons learnt.

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