“The man said, “From now on, your name will no longer be Jacob. You will be called Israel, because you have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won.”
-Genesis 32:28 CEV
Jacob Wrestled With God
Can you imagine literally wrestling with God? To be face to face with divine in a struggle? This is where Jacob found himself. He was left alone in the wilderness, and God met him, and they wrestled. Not only that, but Jacob won! And as a result, received a Covenant blessing from God, changing his name, and his legacy. In one night he went from Jacob to Israel. Jacob: the child who held on to his brother’s heel, who usurped his brother’s birthright, who stole his father’s blessing (Genesis 25:19-34, Genesis 27). Israel: the father of a nation, forgiven and loved by his brother, one who had wrestled with both God and man, and won! (Genesis 32: 22- 33:17).
God Wrestles with Us
Something I see about God in this story, is that he sees how messy our lives can be. He sees, and knows our struggles. Even more so, he enters into the struggle with us. God wrestled with Jacob, and God did not curse him. Instead, he blessed him, and changed him. I find so much hope in this, knowing that God sees us, he sees our struggles, and he does not leave us alone. Even when our struggle is with Him! When we are asking questions about our churches, our theology, and even what we believe about God, he does not abandon us. Instead he welcomes us in, and will struggle with us.
Praying with Toddlers
I have not found many storybook Bibles with this story laid out for littles. However, there were a few podcast episodes I found for littles, and of course you can always read the story to littles from your own Bible. Either way, it’s a lot of listening for littles, which called for a coloring activity! Click the link below to download this FREE printable Lucha Libre mask, for littles to remember the most epic wrestling match in history.
While you color, give one of these podcast episodes a try: