Wrestling God Closer

“Wrestling God Closer”
--from February  4th  --

Day 1

Read Genesis 31:1-16
Is there anything quite like family struggles?  Maybe it’s the idea that family is supposed to be the one that you can trust and rely on, and when they aren’t, it’s just tough to have your guard up for that. Unfortunately, we are products of our family life to some extent.  We don’t have to be, but we do find it when we look long enough. Jacob came from a family of favoritism and chaos and then he finds himself married into another version of the same thing.  There is only so long that you can exist in chaos before you start to look for something else.  I am sure that you have experienced it too.  Jacob unfolds his feelings on the chaos of what his new family has been living in and decides it is time to pack up and move on, somewhere.  Sadly, Laban’s daughters have no high view of him and are happy to break away from the manipulation and trickery as well.  So another family falls apart, with the hopes that Jacob will be able to amend his past and reconcile his family.  
Who have you been around or what have you experienced that is like this and someone just needs to leave the chaos of family to find something different?

Do you think that the struggles in their own family are like the struggles they experienced growing up in a home with someone like Laban?

How do you think they feel through this whole process?  

How does this look like your own family story?

How can this be part of your prayer today?

Day 2

Read Genesis 31:17-35
Jacob was not confident getting out of town was going to be an easy task.  So he snuck out.  His plans seemed to never go accordingly, and he soon found himself caught up to by a very angry Laban.  That is one of those moments that you find yourself in over your head.  Have you ever had a plan, executed the plan, and then found yourself stuck in a plan that didn’t work and you have to deal with the consequences?  Laban was angry because his gods had been stolen also, and that wasn’t even Jacob’s fault.  Rachel had stolen them.  
Plans fail and we find ourselves in tough spots.  Not only that, but sometimes we find ourselves in chaos and struggle in our plans because something beyond our control has crippled the hopes we have.  Interestingly, in this version of that story, God showed up and intervened on Jacob’s behalf.  He didn’t ask for it, because he wasn’t even aware he needed it.  But God showed up.
Is there a time in your life when you found yourself at the crumpled end of a failed plan?

Are there times that God has shown up that you didn’t even know you needed help or you didn’t even ask for it when you did?

How does this inform your prayers for today?

Day 3

Read Genesis 31:36-55

Jacob was running from his problems.  Then he had to face them and a confrontation happened.  Many people do all they can to avoid this moment right here.  As for Laban’s part of this story, this is where it ends for him.  He is not brought up again and the best that we can tell, it is the last time that he sees his daughters and grandchildren.  Even as enemies for years, Jacob and Laban find a way to leave on peaceful terms.  What sticks out to me most in this passage is that Laban is getting exactly what he deserves, he dug this hole and ran them off with his actions.  Jacob has lived that very same thing with Esau, he got what he deserved with his time with Laban.  But now he is getting ready to face that reality and will receive what he doesn’t deserve…which he has been getting the whole time.  Think about it: Jacob got what he deserved but he also didn’t get what he deserved.  The difference seems to be that God was involved in the Jacob story while we never hear of God in the Laban story unless Jacob is around. 

How have you received what you have deserved in life?

How have you not received what you deserved in life?

How has God been the difference in your life for that?

Day 4

Read Genesis 32:1-21

Have you ever noticed that little beginning to this chapter in verse 1?  The angels of God show up in this story and they get one verse with what seems like no context.  Laban leaves, and the angels show up.  I have noticed the pattern of God showing up in really strange places in this story:  Jacob’s dream before he gets married, Jacob’s dream as he figures out how to deal with Laban, and then here.  The text mentions them, but that is really all it does, mention them.  Then it moves on.  Jacob is struggling with his life’s chaotic result as he runs away from home, and God shows up and just lets him know He is there.  Jacob is struggling with the misery of his job and family that is cheating him, and God shows up.  Then Jacob finally leaves Laban and avoids his anger, and then God shows up.  It’s a nice reminder that God shows up when it is needed.  

What are some times that you remember feeling like God just showed up in your life?

How is it comforting to know that God shows up even when we are not looking for Him?

How does this become part of your prayer today?

Day 5

Read Genesis 32:22-32

I love this text so much.  It reads like Jacob was a 10 year old boy writing about a fight with his dad.  Years ago, I remember how we would wrestle with my dad and he seemed to be invincible to our small frames.  Eventually, us three boys would team up and he had to fight us off in more creative ways, but it was always possible.  Until the day that two brothers were going for a kick and caught his thumb.  He thought he broke it and instantly stopped the fight.  At this moment, compassion would have been good and we should have checked on him, but I remember our approach was to celebrate what we never thought was possible, we just beat dad!

I feel that in this story.  Jacob prevailed and seemed to win.  The story reads like a ridiculous account that is not possible, Jacob out wrestled God!  But then, with a simple touch, Jacob is left injured, as if the text is letting us in on the reality that God let this happen.  But what kind of a God would let a man beat Him?  The kind that desires more than winning, to bless that man.  That’s a picture that moves me to tears.

Do you think this is the way that we are supposed to see this story?

How is this just like the story of what Jesus did?

Who is someone that you could share this story with?

How does this fit into your prayers today?

No Comments





no tags