Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
No, God wasn’t getting tired. No, God wasn’t going to turn into a pumpkin when the sun came up. Why then did He impose a time limit? Purely and simply out of His love for Jacob. God knew that having fought all night, Jacob was getting to the end of his strength.
The Bible teaches elsewhere that God will not allow our struggles to go beyond our ability to endure. This is how God worked with Jacob. He made Jacob fight to the end of His strength. Up to this point, Jacob always found the easy way out of his troubles.
The scheme, the bribe, the fixed fight, whatever it took to win without breaking a sweat – that’s who Jacob was. God, however, knew he was better than that. He was created to father a nation. Through this experience God taught Jacob that he was able to overcome by his inner strength and determination alone, without all the scheming.
God wants to do that with us as well. He’ll allow us to get to the end of our strength so that we’ll cry out to Him. Don’t drop out of your fight too quickly. Make the determination to lay hold of the prize God has called you to obtain.
The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
You would think that because he wrestled with God, Jacob would get in trouble. Nothing could be further from the truth. God doesn’t care if you struggle with Him as long as you learn the lesson He’s trying to teach you.
Up to this point in his life, Jacob had been trying to buy, fight, and steal his way to the blessing of God. Now he was to learn that the only way to obtain it is by freely receiving it from the Lord’s own hand.
He spent his life fighting God and man. Now God tells him that he has overcome. Overcome what? He has finally overcome himself. He now has the control to take his life and lay it at the feet of the Lord.
How do we know this? God gives him a new name – Israel – that means, “conquered by God.”
Perhaps you’ve been struggling in your walk with the Lord. Maybe there is an area in your life you’ve been refusing to turn over to God.
It’s time for you to give up and receive the blessing God’s been waiting to give you. Today, allow yourself to be overcome by God.
Questions: Are there areas, right now, where you’re struggling against God? What will it take for you to give up?
© Nick Zaccardi 2014