Genesis 32:24-26. 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
God created us to live lives that were full of his goodness. Lives of worship in his glorious presence.
But sin causes us to fall short of God’s glory as we rebelliously try to find our own blessing through self-determination.
But we weren’t meant to bless ourselves. “Following your heart” or “be your true self” is just a self-imposed standard that we can never live up to. We need a blessing that comes from outside of us. We need an imputed identity from someone greater than us who loves us unconditionally. Someone who will call us what we aren’t so that we might become what we were meant to be.
Jacob spent his whole life “wrestling” for this blessing. This identity. He wrestled with Isaac, with Esau, with Laban. He wrestled for love and respect. And all along the way he wrestled with his own soul. His own shame and fear.
And then he wrestled God.
Jacob and his family had finally broken free from the deceptive Laban and were travelling back home. But now they were headed straight toward Esau. Tomorrow morning Jacob will see the brother that he stole from, the brother that swore to kill him. Jacob’s greatest shame and his greatest fear is marching toward him with 400 armed men.
Night has fallen, and Jacob is now left alone and praying to be delivered from Esau’s wrath. That’s when a man attacks him, wrestling with him all night long. But the man was not Esau. It was God. The Lord himself came down, grabbed hold of Jacob, and allowed him to prevail for hours, until Jacob begged him for the blessing his heart so desperately needed. But before blessing Jacob, the Lord wounded him – he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.
This amazing story illustrates our entire lives. Aren’t all of us, somehow, both desperate for God and yet defiantly wrestling with him at the same time? Don’t we grab tight to God while also trying to prevail against him? Don’t we daily cry for God’s blessing while defiantly making demands? God is the one we all wrestle with. The one we all try to prevail against.
And God in his mercy reaches down and touches our hip and wounds us.
Two thousand years later Jesus came down as a man once again and allowed himself to be prevailed against on the cross. He lost so that we might be able to grab hold of him and cry for the blessing of his unconditional love and grace. A blessing that comes only when we are willing to be wounded by Christ. To have our pride and self-sufficiency torn out of us. To give up our will in submission to him. And, in so doing, to forever finding our blessing in our dependence upon him.
“To live is Christ” is to live in the blessing of the wound of Christ. The wound he took for us, and the wound he gives to us. The wound that comes when our selfish pride is finally replaced with the blessing of living in complete submission to God.
How is Christ wrestling with you to expose your pride?
You in Christ
You are only in Christ if you have been both blessed and wounded? What does this mean? Have you experienced the blessing of being wounded by God?
Christ in you
To live as Christ is to live from the power of the wound, the limp. How can you live from weakness today and yet find strength?
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