Justin Tucker, LHC Worship Pastor

Genesis 32:22-32

22 During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two slave women, and his eleven sons, and crossed the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, along with all his possessions. 24 Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not defeat him, he struck Jacob’s hip socket as they wrestled and dislocated his hip. 26 Then he said to Jacob, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 “What is your name?” the man asked. “Jacob,” he replied. 28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” he said. “It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he answered, “Why do you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. 30 Jacob then named the place Peniel, “For I have seen God face to face,” he said, “yet my life has been spared.” 31 The sun shone on him as he passed by Penuel—limping because of his hip. 32 That is why, still today, the Israelites don’t eat the thigh muscle that is at the hip socket: because he struck Jacob’s hip socket at the thigh muscle.

A couple years ago my parents started getting year passes for the Nashville Zoo for my family and my sister’s family as Christmas presents. Let me just say this before I go any further… greatest gift ever. Since we have them, we try to take the girls about once a month. They love the zoo. It has three of their favorite things there: animals, a playground, and ice cream. Well, a couple of weeks ago we took the girls. The day started out great. We got there with no issues, we hit the playground and the carousel, and then we started to make our rounds to check out the animals. All the girls were minding, they weren’t running off. It was gonna be a good day. Michele and I had already talked and decided that if the girls kept being good that we would go back to the playground and get them some ice cream. But Ellie… on a side note, have you ever noticed that in the Bible when there is a “but God” moment, something good is about to happen? It’s the polar opposite in our family. When there is a “but Ellie” moment, there is going to be an absolute Chernobyl experience. We were in the back of the zoo at the Andean bear exhibit and Ellie had a complete meltdown. She’s crying, she’s whining, she’s defiant. We decided that we’ve got to go home. NOW.  So the wrestling match begins at the back of the zoo and it goes all the way to the parking lot. Parents, I know you’ve been there before. You duck your head and you get out of Dodge as fast as you can. As you can probably guess, the playground and ice cream didn’t happen on that day. 

God has a longview for our lives and He wants to bless us just as I have a longview for my kids’ lives and I want to bless them. Sometimes we have to learn lessons from the Lord just like our kids need to learn lessons from us. Sometimes they aren’t easy. Sometimes there is a wrestling match that happens between us and God that seems like it goes on forever. Those wrestling matches are lessons that God is teaching us in obedience or humility. Could you imagine the humility that Jacob had to live with limping around for the rest of his life? He is teaching us a lesson in intimacy with him. Many people know about God, but never have a true, life-changing encounter with Him. Knowing what God has done for others isn’t the same as understanding what He has done for you. The only way to have a relationship with God is to spend time with Him. Reading the Bible, praying and worshiping with our hearts and minds fully focused on God brings us to a closer, more intimate relationship with Him. 

I want to encourage you to spend less time wrestling with God and spend more time drawing near to Him. I’m pretty sure both He and us prefer hugs instead of headlocks. I know that with Ellie, we are both much happier when we are on the same page instead of squaring up.


Father, forgive me for all the times that I choose to wrestle with You instead of trust You. Forgive me for the times that I choose my ways instead of Yours. Lord, remind me to draw near to You through Your Word, through prayer and through worship. Remind me of Your goodness and sovereignty when my faith and trust are lacking. Thank You for loving me and saving me. In Jesus’ name, amen


1 Thessalonians 4:1- Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.