March 6th. Wrestling with God.

March 6th. Wrestling with God.


Genesis 32:24-32

24 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” 31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh. 32 Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip.

“Wrestling with God” by Jim Fisher

Genesis 32 tells the story of Jacob, wrestling through the night with a nameless man, revealed to be none other than God Himself. It is only at daybreak, after a long night of wrestling, that the Lord entreats Jacob to end his struggle. However, Jacob refuses to release his grip until he receives a blessing. The Lord responds by asking, “What is your name?” Jacob then gives his name, at which point the Lord immediately informs him that his name is about to change. From now on, the Lord says, Jacob will be called Israel because he has “struggled with God and with human beings and overcome.”

“Jacob” did not become “Israel” because he overpowered the Lord, but because he had the audacity to wrestle with God, holding on until he received the “blessing” for which he fought.

There are many passages in the Bible where the translators, unable to make sense out of the Hebrew word here, chose to remove the word “wrestling” and replace it with something that makes more sense.

Similarly, this happens with other words too such as with the word “voice” in Genesis 3:8 – “They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day,” If you drill down into the Hebrew word translated as “sound”, you will discover that it “qowl” which means “to call aloud”. In 383 other places where this word appears in the Bible, it is translated as “voice”.

But the “voice of the LORD God walking” doesn’t make sense. It makes more sense to translate it as the sound of God’s footsteps rather than words from God’s mouth.

Or does it?

Wrestle with it. What does the “voice of the LORD walking” sound like? If I stand still, it moves off into the distance and I can no longer hear it. I can’t hear the instruction, but neither can I hear the blessings. I have to keep moving to keep up with the LORD.

What does the “voice of the LORD walking” sound like? What does “wrestling with God” look like?

Even with a hip out of joint like Jacob, I’ll to keep moving to find out.


God, we want to be a people who join with you as your voice walks through the world. We want to be a people who face you and wrestle with you. Grant us courage and fortitude to do so. Give us grace and love to persevere. We will continue to move forward, longing to hear your voice, following you in all things. AMEN.


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