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January 10, 2021

God Gives Us What We Needed Instead of What We Wanted

Pastor KJ Kim

Genesis 32: 22-32

I believe that returning to the homeland was not the best option for Jacob because he clearly knew about the things that he did to his brother, Esau. Jacob still feared his brother whom he had robbed.

In a late effort to repay the debt and bribe his own homecoming, Jacob sent hundreds of animals ahead of him---great flocks of sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys. Then, he moved everyone across the river—everyone and everything including his two wives, and his eleven children—and returned to the other side alone.

Jacob was not alone for long. No sooner had he caught his breath than there was someone on his back. The scripture says that “a man or angel wrestled with Jacob until the breaking of the day.” Whoever he was, he was strong enough to make Jacob’s hip cracks, but Jacob would not turn him loose.

The stranger spoke, “Let me go, for the day has broken,” So, Jacob, did what he did best, made a deal. “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”

Strangely, the stranger responded by asking Jacob his name. “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”

If we listen hard to this question, we may hear the echo of another question, another time when Isaac who could barely see asked Jacob to identify himself. “I am Esau,” Jacob said at that time,
but twenty years plus this night have changed him. “I am Jacob.” Then, he was no longer Jacob, the supplanter. He became Israel, the survivor, the striver with God.

My questions and the challenges from today’s passage for each of us are these: Are we wrestling with God and striving to build a loving community with God? Isn’t it true that we may have been wrestling with God for what we wanted instead of what we needed?

Are we really wrestling with God to bring all People to know Jesus, even if we may hurt?
Are we really wrestling with God to unite all people with the Family of God, even if we may sacrifice ourselves?
Are we really wrestling with God to grow together, even if we may deny ourselves?
Are we really striving to use our God-given gifts in building the kingdom of God?
Are we really wrestling with God to join with all Christians for the glory, honor, and worship of God, even if we all may not gather in-person?

Of course, these questions might remain as just a talk until we have got to do something like a dream that may remain as a wishful thinking unless we do something about it.

Let’s keep wrestling with God. Amen.

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