The Unseen Fight
Genesis 32:24 “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.”
Hello readers, I hope you had a good week. It’s Sunday evening here in Adelaide, we’ve had some rain for the first time in the last few months. Today I want to talk about something I know a bit about, and maybe you do too, or maybe you aren’t aware this is going on in your life but this is what really is happening.
There’s a fight inside many people going on. In fact, most people are fighting this fight, saved and unsaved alike. You don’t see my fight, and I don’t see your fight. Maybe people in our lives know something is up, but by and large, this battle is happening in a realm and area of our life that nobody else sees.
Today I am talking about “the unseen fight”, and I’ve titled that in reference to when Jacob wrestled God at Peniel. I’ve watched a bit of UFC in my life, and you’d think if there’s one guy you wouldn’t want to meet in the “octagon” it would be God himself!
To fight God seems to be picking a fight we can’t possibly win. And yet Jacob was doing pretty well. He was quite the fighter. And most people are quite good fighters when it comes to fighting God. I mean, it doesn’t make sense to be fighting God, but we all do it, and perhaps much more than we know.
Why would you fight God? Why would you fight your Creator? Why would you fight against salvation? Why would you fight against forgiveness? Why would you fight against truth? And yet, saved people often have a very big fight with God. They’re deeply personal fights, they’re fights with God about the things that are most important to us deep down in our lives.
So this is quite an unusual event in the Bible. You read about Jacob, and then reading this you kind of go… huh? I thought Jacob and God got along pretty well. And Esau’s coming, Jacob’s dreaded brother who last time he heard, wanted him dead. And yet Jacob is fighting God! God in his mercy has peeled back Jacob’s life just a bit here in the pages of the Bible to help us though, because for many of us, we are in the same, long running fight with God. This fight went all night!
And it is night, it is in dark places that the fight is on. We can have long dark spells in our life. But I really hope that in reading this that there will be a “daybreak” in your life. I hope the light can shine through those cracks and break the whole thing open. Because the night of sin is long. The night of fighting God is long. And when I thought about this, I knew I fight the flesh, fight fear, and fight all sorts of battles within, but really the biggest fight I’ve had is with God himself.
What was really unusual about this fight was that the Bible says “and when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh”… you realize what we just read here? You realize that God was not beating Jacob in their fight? Was God just taking it easy on Jacob? But there are things you’ve got to know about God in this fight. He could bust us up, but he doesn’t. And our power to fight back is very strong, and he won’t just play the God card on you.
But Jacob’s long fight with God shows how stubborn and resilient we are to God breaking through in our life. And think about this… God does want to bless us, and yet he has to fight us in order to help us. We are that opposed to God! We are hard to help!
If you haven’t read yourself, and I kind of take for granted a familiarity with this scripture, the context of this story is that Jacob has lived a real life out there in this world, and we know he took advantage of his brother in his moment of weakness, he lied to his father for him to bless him, and then he’s been on the run, out of sight and out of mind… but now after all these years he has to face up to some old faces.
The prospect of meeting his brother Esau has brought about a crisis point in Jacob’s life. C R I S I S. What is your crisis? Is there anyone you dread seeing? Is there anyone you dread facing? How many skeletons are in your closet that have not yet been resolved? For Jacob, facing Esau was a very, very big fear. And a fear heightened by what was at stake, and not just his own life. He had children and wives involved now in their conflict. And so Jacob has reached crisis point in his life, personal crisis… and we’ve all been there, or are there, or will yet be there. And Jacob is so used to trying to wrangle his way out of situations and turn them to his advantage, but in this one, it’s outta his control. As much as he’s tried sucking up to Esau, he knows he did Esau a bit dirty, and he knows he needs God… so naturally… he fights God about it.
When we should be clinging to God, we are instead fighting to God. But God would change his fighting to hanging on for dear life. And really at the end of the day, we’ve gotta hang on to God, not fight him.
But pause on that thought, and let’s rewind slightly to the night before he anticipates meeting Esau. He’s beating a retreat. Have you ever beat a retreat? Have you ever run away from issues. Are there issues you are fleeing form that you do not want to confront. I can think of some in my life. And we tend to run than face up. And yet in running, it’s still not dealt with. You know, he’s going to feel a lot of relief after this meeting, but before the meeting, he’s in personal turmoil.
And the Bible says the night before Jacob met Esau, that he was “left alone”. Have you ever been left alone? Often people are scared of being alone. Their life is so filled up with friends and family and work and sports and events that they never really have to be alone with themselves and with God. Honestly, many people are scared of being alone.
But God works on us when we are alone. He works in the unseen. Alone time is very important time in God dealing with us. And we shouldn’t get in the way of that. Even as Christians, sometimes the best thing to do is just leave people alone. Let God deal with them… because their fight is with God, so let them fight it out with God. And they need to sort it with God. Their problem is with God, so let them sort it with God. God is capable of sorting people out.
It’s incredible that we are talking about this, but of all the people Jacob is fighting, he’s fighting God. You’d think the last person we should be fighting is God. Firstly, he’s outmatched. But secondly, it’s illogical. It doesn’t make sense. God is his Creator, God has been his constant in his life, God has blessed him and kept him even when he knows he did not deserve it. Fighting God makes no sense, but we all do it. Because something in us fights him working in our lives. Something in us fights him, and when we can see his plan for our life and his blessing in our life, we fight him about it… and we are unhappy, we have no peace, and we are in cold, sweaty darkness.
Think of how deeply personal that God is. Although he created the heaven and the earth, here is that same God dealing with Jacob one on one. God does care about our lives. He does care about us individually. And he does deal with us individually. Unfortunately, we spend large wads of time fighting back, not letting him break what needs to be broken, that resistance power that works in us to oppose him.
Why do we fight God? Why do I? Why do you? I don’t know why I do it, but I do. Is it because deep down I really do not trust him with my life? Is it because deep down in me there is a man that opposes God and God’s working in my life? There’s something in me that opposes God. I can see his blessing on my life, I can see his way in my life, and yet inexplicably, I won’t let him do. And all we are doing is prolonging the night. Have you ever had a bad night and been thankful for the morning? You ever wonder how Jacob felt as he left Peniel that morning as the sun came above the horizon with it’s glorious and brilliant rays shining and warming him. If you are in the fight, know that there is a daybreak… but before the day break, something in you God’s gotta break. And he’s breaking you to free you. But here Jacob is, he’s in fear, he’s fretting, he’s a failure and he’s fighting God.
Think about what you are fighting God about. Maybe you’re fighting God about trusting God. Maybe you’re fighting God about who he is and what he wants for you in your life. I don’t know, Jacob’s crisis and Jacob’s fight was personal, and so is yours.
Has the fight ever stopped without the blessing? Maybe you just called it a draw. Did you fight and your power to fight was left unbroken and God left you? Because what happened here, and what God does in the life of a believer, is that he won’t leave you until you know you’re right with him. Do you want to be right with God? But for many people, they fight back, and God goes. They’ve beaten God. But they’ve missed out on the blessing. They’re going to go life alone, in their strength, without God.
What God did to Jacob here was that he crippled Jacob’s capacity to fight him. He touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh, shrinking the sinew, and put his hip out of joint. If you dislocate your hip, or break a leg in a fight, you can’t fight too well after that. It hurts. God changed Jacob’s walk permanently… and his name. Jacob was a new person. God might have to do something a bit drastic in our lives, it seemed pretty drastic. Jacob would limp for the rest of his life. Sometimes there’s some bad stuff that seems to happen to us, which is the best thing that ever happened to us. As strange as that sounds.
We all carry a few battle wounds which really are self inflicted. If he didn’t fight, it wouldn’t have happened. But God took away his strength to fight, but in so doing, increased his power. That seems contradictory. But Jacob hung on pretty well. He wasn’t fighting so well, but he didn’t let go. And hanging on for dear life is a bit different to fighting back. And God wants to get us to a place where we are not fighting, but hanging on to God. Hanging on to his precious word and his precious promises. Many people let go, they’ve let go of their Bible, they’ve let go of truth, they’ve let things slip, they’ve let him slip. But Jacob did not.
God may need to put you out of joint with some things in your life. He may need to shrink some things in your life. A well functioning hip is essential to fighting. And God may have to touch some places of your life which are powering your fight with him. He knows the right place to touch. He knows how to change it too. Jacob would never be a fighting man again, but he would be praying man, and he would be a blessed man, and he would be a new man. Jacob came to that place at night, but Israel left that place in the morning. Would you like a new name? Would you like to shed that old identity, that old man, that old person? Would you like a new walk and a new life with God? Rather than fighting with God, you’re going with God. See, he went from “against” God to “with” God. That’s a big difference.
So I don’t know what your unseen fight is. I don’t know where it’s happening, what it’s about, why it’s happening, nor how to resolve it. It’s between you and God. But I do hope God wins. Because God is worth trusting. He is worth hanging on to. And there may be some battle scars, but God didn’t do it to hurt Jacob, but to help Jacob. Why do we fight God so much in our lives? I don’t know, but we do. Stop fighting, starting clinging. You weren’t created for a fight, you were created for fellowship. Our fight shouldn’t be with God, but often that’s who our fight is with. Maybe that crisis in your life like Jacob had is God wanting to work in and through you, but you’re opposing him. You’re fighting him about it. Amazingly, Esau was not the real problem Jacob had, Jacob was fighting a battle with God. It had been a long battle, but a battle that was finally over that night. May God bring the breakthrough and the daybreak in our unseen fight with him in our lives.
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Joseph View All →
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)
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