Genesis 32:24-30 New King James Version (NKJV)
24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.
25 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.
26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.”
28 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.”
29 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.
30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
Jacob wrestled with God in prayer, "I will not let You go unless You bless me" (v 26). All night he prayed.
--Fervently plead with God. Repented of his sin.
--Brought all his past; his fears and doubts, to God.
--He came God's way, in humility, honesty, to be holy.
--He received God's blessing. So he may bless others.
--God has blessed multitudes. Let God bless you!
We need God's blessing today, as those of old did.
--Jacob, son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, knew God.
--These were men of faith, but Jacob not living right.
--He was like a lot of us. Not living close to God.
--Jacob did some wrong things. Now may be "pay-day."
--Father-in-law Laban, brother Esau, coming for him.
--He was troubled before God, and well he should be.
Listen to him, verses 9-11, "0 God .. I am not worthy, of the least of all the mercies .. You have shown your servant .. Deliver me from the hand of my brother Esau for I fear him ..." Like some today, he was afraid.
--He had not done right by God. Nor Laban or Esau.
--He needs to get right, with them, and the Lord.
So Jacob prays, "I will not let You go .. unless You bless me." It is Jacob's seventh recorded prayer.
--But the first where he shows sincere humility.
My friend, God blesses us beyond our imaginations, and blessed Jacob, despite his selfishness and sin.
--He went "over Jordan with nothing .. my staff."
--A shepherd's staff! "Now I have .. two companies."
--That is, a large family, servants, and livestock.
Let's count our blessings; see God's amazing grace!
--God has been good to us all. Have we been to Him?
--"The blessing of the Lord makes rich and He adds no sorrow with it" (Prov. 20:22). You ask, "Rich?"
--Yes indeed, we are, in more than money! God's grace.
--All who know the Lord grow in His grace, and love.
Jacob was blessed. He got right with God, and others.
--Made up with his brother Esau - reconciled in joy!
--It's God's way .. the sure way .. to blessing.
We may ask, "How can I get God's blessing?"
--May I suggest four simple steps that can bring it?
I. LAY HOLD ON ETERNAL LIFE.
--That's what Jacob had to do! He "laid hold on God."
--Genesis 32:24, ".. a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day," as Jacob held on to the Lord.
--Hosea 12:1-5, confirms it is the pre-incarnate Jesus, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, come down.
--As Jacob prevailed, in faith, God changed his name!
--He is not Jacob anymore, but Israel "prince of God."
--At daybreak, Jacob declared, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved" (v 30).
--What a blessing! Comes by laying hold on God!
The Apostle Paul wrote young Timothy, "Lay hold on eternal life." Mentions it twice in I Timothy 6:12,19.
--He wanted the best for this young man. All of us.
--It begins with one's salvation and forgiveness.
God mentions some things to "lay aside, lay down, lay up." Here he says, "Lay hold on eternal life."
--We can do that in receiving, obeying God in Christ.
--I'm so glad I did, as a young man. Best thing ever!
--We all have life physically. How about "eternal"?
--How about spiritually? Are we "born again" in Jesus?
I read about Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, the writer of over 2000 fine hymns; who was born in wealth, and educated in the finest universities, was "born again."
--He "laid hold on eternal life," in a yielded life of missions and soul-winning, with the Moravians.
--Overcame dead orthodoxy with a "Christianity of the heart," as he called it .. that was Christ-like.
--His motto, "I have but one passion, that is Christ."
We need such people today who make a difference.
--Young people, and adults, who "lay hold" on Jesus as Jacob did that memorable night to get the victory.
My friend, it beats going along with the world's crowd.
--When we follow the flesh, the world and the devil we can easily get into troubles of all kinds, that cost.
--I ask, on what are you "laying hold?" Eternal life?
II. LAY ASIDE OUR SIN.
--Let's not expect a holy God to bless our evil ways.
--In fact God says, "Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us, and rrunn with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:1). Fact is, "What we sow, we shall reap."
—Put Jesus as our pattern and power by His presence.
What does God mean, "lay aside every weight?"
--I remember years ago hearing Gil Dodds in Philadelphia, who was the world's fastest runner then; and, an outstanding "born again" believer.
--Kids loved hearing his testimony for Christ.
--Told about his running shoes. The weight was a factor - the smallest difference - in winning or losing a race. Talked about practice. Of discipline.
--My friend, temptation and sin is a heavy "weight" in life's race.
--Some things are "weights" - bad habits, disobedience and breaking God's commands - to cause us not to win.
--These, we need to "lay aside" and "look unto Jesus."
Most of us know what is God's will - right or wrong.
--It is in the doing .. the will to want to do right .. getting out of bed .. worshiping and obeying.
Lazarus, remember, had two sisters, Mary and Martha.
--Mary had "laid aside" her weights, sat at Jesus' feet.
--Listened to His teachings, and prayers, grew in God.
--Martha was "cumbered about many things," we read.
--Good things, but failed to take time to "behold Him" and to be holy, and Spirit-filled, as Mary.
--Jesus said, "Martha, one thing is needful, Mary has chosen that" (Luke 10:41f).
I Peter 2:1 also says, "laying aside all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow ..." That's what Jacob needed for blessing!
III. ANOTHER STEP, LAY UP TREASURES, IN HEAVEN.
--God says, "lay hold, lay aside," now, "lay up."
--"Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (Mt. 6:20).
--Here they are fleeting. In heaven, they're lasting.
Dear friend, we have treasures in heaven - Jesus, God!
--I have parents, loved ones, friends, there, to see.
--And, in time, I'd love to see you - all - there!
Jesus said, "lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven."
--He was speaking of our living .. and our dying.
--"Lay up yourselves." That's what Jacob had to do!
--How do we do that? Consecration and concentration.
--God has a "book of remembrance .. for those who love the Lord and who meditate on His name" (Malachi 3:16).
IV. BE WILLING TO LAY DOWN OUR LIFE FOR OTHERS.
--That's what Jesus did. What Jacob needed to do.
--And, thank God, Jacob did, for his family, others.
--For God to bless us, we must humbly serve as we can.
--Jesus came, as God, "not to be ministered unto, but to minister to others," even going to a cross for us.
I say, if more were willing to follow Christ, and "lay down our lives .. for others," there would be so much more harmony, love, peace, in our homes and world.
--And, so much less divorce, division, quarreling and misunderstandings among people! Lord, help us!
Genesis 32 shows Jacob a new man. With a new name!
--No longer Jacob, deceiver; but "Israel," which means, "God rules." Right with God. Yielded. Caring.
--That is the way to God's blessing, friends.
We stopped in Alabama, in Helen Keller's home town.
--You know of her - blind, deaf, could not speak.
--Talk of handicap, Helen Keller had it from age two!
--But what a mind she had! And care-giver she had.
--Anne Sullivan. They made a movie of their lives.
--Anne Sullivan became her eyes, ears, and teacher.
--She "laid down her life" in love for Helen Keller.
What a difference she made! Care-givers can do that!
--Parents .. spouses .. others. What a blessing they.
--What a blessing you are. That's right, you, to us.
--Are we a blessing to the Lord? To others?
May I ask, what are we doing for Him? Family? Others?
--Come to Christ. Let Him "bless you. " Follow Him.
--In daily prayer, and His Word, blessings will flow.
--That's what we need!
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 806