Jacob wrestled an Angel
Jacob was going to see his twin brother, Esau for the first time in years. Esau was still holding a grudge for what Jacob had stolen from him—the prized possession of a birthright, which gave a first born son privileges over any of his brothers. Plus, Jacob had fooled their dying father into pronouncing the family “blessing” on him instead of Esau.
Jacob was awakened by a disturbing dream and began to wrestle with an unknown enemy. All night long they tussled and, by daybreak, there was still no victor. Jacob would not stop until he had been blessed by the stranger. Only after his foe vanished did Jacob realize he had been struggling with the Almighty. The “angel” with which Jacob contended on the banks of the Jabbock River that night was representative of so many things in his life.
Fear of his brother’s wrath, putting his family in danger, his past and losing everything he had gained were some of what he was facing and part of our struggle with the angels from time to time.
We wrestle with angels, too
We struggle with the sins and indiscretions of our past, which causes us to fear the future because of what we have done. We wrestle with anger—at others… at ourselves… at the situations that are out of our control. We have a sense of helplessness when we find ourselves powerless in the face of overwhelming odds, like Jacob did. We struggle against a fear of the unknown—what the future will be like because of what we have done. We know that if we give up our past, we will have to move into an unknown future of acting like—of being—the children of God. Then, if we win our battle against helplessness and fear, it is expected that we will DO something to make a difference.
We don’t know the specifics of the blessing that Jacob received from this unnamed foe, but considering what he was facing (revenge-seekers on both sides of his family) and trying to overcome (his guilt, his fear, his future), it is safe to assume that Jacob wanted assurance that everything was going to be okay.
When we wrestle all night, we also want the same thing. We want to know that God has heard our pleas. We want to know that God will be with us tomorrow and the next day and every day thereafter. We have this guarantee—this “blessing” if you will—through our faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. – 1 John 5:5
When you are wrestling an angel…or with yourself, hold on. Like Jacob, our promise of victory comes with the morning.