January 16: “When God Injuries Us … On Purpose”

Today’s Bible Reading:

Genesis 32:13-34:31
Matthew 11:7-30
Psalm 14:1-7
Proverbs 3:19-20

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Genesis 32:25 (NLT): “When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

In Genesis 32:24-32, we read a fascinating story. We are told that Jacob was about to meet Esau for the first time in 20 years. He was unsure how that meeting would go. It could have easily ended in disaster. 

So, the night before the meeting, Jacob got away from everyone for some quiet time. Maybe he wanted to think and plan. Perhaps Jacob thought he needed to pray. 

Regardless of his reasons for being by himself, he was alone when an unidentified man showed up and picked a fight with him. A wrestling match ensued that lasted for apparently a lengthy amount of time.

Let’s ask a few questions, the first concerning the identity of the man who wrestled with Jacob. Maybe you already noticed it, but his identity is clearly implied in the text.

Genesis 32:28 (NLT):” ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob,’ the man told him. ‘From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.’”

Genesis 32:30 (NLT): “Jacob named the place Peniel (which means ‘face of God’), for he said, ‘I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.’”

Clearly, the man that Jacob was wrestling with was God … in the form of a man. In other words, Jesus! Jacob wrestled with Jesus!

(On a side note, if you want to investigate many of the times that Jesus showed up in the book of Genesis, click here.)

Now, let’s consider what Jesus did. He wrestled with Jacob. He talked with him. But, He did one more thing that just seems a bit harsh.

Genesis 32:25 (NLT): “When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket.” 

How bad did Jesus hurt Jacob? Just look at what this next verse says.

Genesis 32:31 (NLT): “The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip.”

So Jacob got into a wrestling match with Jesus and sustained a serious injury. That injury caused him to limp for a while. Might he have limped for the rest of his life? Maybe.

I’m writing a book and will self-publish it on Amazon in about a month (“Stories of God’s Grace: Looking for the Silver Lining in the Storm Clouds of Life”). In it, I tell story after personal story of how God’s grace sustained us through some very dark valleys. However, like Jacob, some of the things the Lord took Kim and me through have left us with a severe limp.

Why does an encounter with the Lord periodically cause injury, pain, and a lasting limp that reminds us of the meeting? There are many possible answers to that question. But the one answer that seems to rise above the rest is that the Lord wants us to be consciously aware of our own frailty. It usually takes terrible, painful, even traumatic experiences to bring us to our knees, setting us up to call out to the Lord for His provision.

It would be nice if we would rely upon the Lord when things are going well for us. But it usually doesn’t happen that way. When our life is easy, we tend to rely upon our own strength. So the Lord often has to “injure” us so that we cry out to Him.

Friend, don’t let life’s troubles push you away from the Lord. It could be that the Lord is using those very trials to draw you closer to Him. Sure, you may develop a limp like Jacob. But let that limp remind you of your human frailty and the God who is waiting for you to depend upon Him. Most certainly, if He desires to use you in some wonderful ways, He needs to make sure that you won’t depend upon yourself but upon Him.

So, yes, life gets tough. God brings terrible things into our life. But let those bad things do what God intended them to do – push you towards Him. And if you are limping, just lean on Him. He is more than strong enough to hold you in His arms.

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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