Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!


The story of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32 has got to be one of the most intriguing stories in the entire Bible. For me it poses far more questions than answers:

  • Who exactly did Jacob wrestle with?
  • Was it a man? Was it an angel? Was it God Himself?
  • If it was indeed God, why couldn’t He overpower Jacob?
  • Why did the “man” (or God) dislocate Jacob’s hip?
  • Why did the “man” (or God) have to all of a sudden leave because it was daybreak?
  • Why did the “man” (or God) ask Jacob’s name?
  • Why did the “man” (or God) change Jacob’s name?

I don’t know that I have any solid answers to the above questions. But, think about it…the story is about a human being wrestling with God. Physically. Grappling. You have to admit, that’s intriguing, isn’t it?

The most captivating part of this account comes in verse 26 which says, Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Read that again…“I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Picture the scene. If Jacob was wrestling with God (which is a natural assumption based on verse 30 when he says, “I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared”), then it’s almost as if Jacob is clinging to God here. God wants Jacob to let Him go, but Jacob is desperately holding on to God for all he’s worth. There is something that Jacob urgently and frantically wants (or perhaps needs) from God. And he’s not going to let God go unless he gets it.

This is the question that stops me in my tracks. What do I desperately want from God? Not just what do I want from God…but what do I desperately want from God? And a natural follow-up question is what am I clinging to Him for? What is it that I am clinging to God for in such a way that I will not let go?

In Jacob’s wrestling with, clinging to, and desperation for a blessing from God, he got it. God blessed Jacob right there on the spot.

Are we wrestling with God in prayer?

        Are we clinging to God by faith?

             Are we desperately believing He will answer?

What do you desperately want from God?


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5 thoughts on “WANNA WRESTLE? …WITH GOD?

  1. I am thinking that God’s request for Jacob to release him was less about God’s capacity to get away and more about him asking Jacob to stop fighting, especially for the thing he wanted, God’s blessing. Jacob was always doing it the hard way, through treachery, when he stole his father’s blessing, or manipulation when he got his brother’s birthright. And even with Laban, where he almost met his match as far as clever manipulation, he was always trying to ‘get over’ on him.

    But with God, the thing he was struggling for was his all along. It took him nearly his whole life to understand that. He was always the one who was the inheritor of the covenant. (As we are in Christ.) When God touches him and wrenches his leg out of place, it is a pointer to me, that the fight was never an equal match between God and a man, but a man’s battle to overcome himself. When he lets God go, finally God can do what he always was going to do, bless him.

    I think sometimes we do have to wage a mighty struggle to fully grasp God’s grace for us, but ultimately the battle is one of overcoming ourselves and freeing ourselves from grappling and clinging and accept the grace he gives us freely when we just surrender. (Warning, God may let us bear the wounds of our struggle for the rest of our lives as a reminder that he was always in sovereign and in control.)

  2. Thanks, Paul. I couldn’t agree more with your comment, “the battle is one of overcoming ourselves.” And for Jacob, as with most of us, he battled himself most of his life. Overcoming our “self” is such a huge part of our spiritual growth and maturity.

    Thanks be to God for His amazing grace and sovereignty in allowing us to struggle…and ultimately overcome.

  3. thanks beth, by the way in my note above I made a typo in the first sentence, I meant STOP fighting, not START fighting.

  4. Got it, Paul. I edited your first comment above to say STOP fighting. Thanks!

  5. Pingback: “GO OUTSIDE AND WRESTLE!” | Beth Armstrong

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