Kerry Shook: Wrestling God



I don't know about you but I've never really been into the Twilight series probably first because I'm not a teenage girl but secondly because it seems to me there are a lot of real-life vampires out there problems and other people and pressures and circumstances that do drain you of your energy that just suck the life and the passion out of you but the real issue the real vampire is not your problems it's not your circumstances it's not those people out there that rub you the wrong way you're a real problem my real problem is my control issues and we all have control issues and it seems the more you try to control your problems and you try to control other people and you try to control your circumstances the more your anxiety and your worry and your stress spin out of control we're doing a character study of Jacob and the Old Testament so I want you to open your Bibles to Genesis chapter 32 because Jacob had some control issues let's look at it just follow along with me so Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him until daybreak when the man saw that he could not overpower him he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man then the man said let me go for it is daybreak but Jacob replied I will not let you go unless you bless me and the man asked him what is your name Jacob he answered then the man said your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel because you have struggled with God and men and have overcome and Jacob said please tell me your name but he replied why do you ask my name then he blessed him there so Jacob called the place penny o saying it is because I saw God face to face and yet my life was spared the Sun rose above him as he passed penny out and he was limping because of his hip therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip because the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon now what I want us to do now is go back to the beginning of Jacob's life to see where the control issues started and to see what kind of control issues he had but I know that you're gonna find your control issues in Jacobs life as well because we're all control freaks to some degree and that's our real problem first we see that Jacob was the manipulator Jacobs name meant manipulator last week we saw that Jacob and Esau were twin boys born to Isaac and Rebecca and the Bible says that Jacob and Esau wrestled in their mother's womb so Rebekah has these twin boys wrestling in her womb and jostling around and she even praised God what does this mean this is crazy what does this mean and God says you have two nations in your womb Jacob the father of Israel he saw the father of Edom and then God says the younger which is Jacob his nation will be stronger and he will be the one to carry on the family birthright he will be the one to carry on the family legacy and spiritual leadership and blessing well Esau was born first and then Jacob was born and the Bible says he was holding Esau's heel he it almost appeared that this little baby was wrestling Esau trying to be the firstborn and as he comes out they named him Jacob which literally means supplant or manipulator it literally means someone who pushes someone else down to get ahead in life that was his name how would you like for your name to be manipulator you know sometimes I am manipulator shook sometimes you are the manipulator because we want to manipulate and work things out and make everything work out just right well Jacob's mother I'm sure many times had told him about the promise that God had given her that he would be the father of a great nation that he would carry on the birthright the spiritual legacy of the family but Jacob didn't trust God to fulfill his promise so Jacob felt like he needed to assist God so he tries to control the situation through manipulation he actually as we saw last week he tricks isaw out of his birthright and he saw a gives it up for a POTUS too and then he tricks and manipulates the father Isak to receive the blessing from the father and so what God had already promised Jacob he tries to manipulate he tries to control because he just doesn't trust that God is gonna take care of the situation he feels like he has to help him out now Esau didn't deserve because of his outward rebellion the blessing and the birthright but that's not the point Esau had outward rebellion – Jacob had inward rebellion and whenever you manipulate whenever you try to control things behind the scenes that's inward rebellion it's just as bad as outward rebellion see Jacob was the one that always was polite yes sir no sir yes ma'am no ma'am he always obeyed he was totally in controlling the outside he was totally out of control on the inside Esau was out of control on the outside but we see here that after Jacob manipulates and gets the blessing in Genesis 27 36 Esau said isn't he rightly named Jacob this is the second time he's taken advantage of me he took my birthright and now he's taken my blessing so Esau saying Jacobs living up to his name he is deceitful manipulator that's his name and Jacob was trying to play God and that's mankind's oldest problem trying to play God trying to help God along and the more we try to play God and control our situation we try to control other people we try to control our problems who try to control our image we try to control our pain and the more you try to control the more your life spins out of control and that's exactly what happened to Jacob and Jacob leaves and he goes back to where his family is originally from but then Aaron and he hopes to marry a woman who loves God rather than the pagan women in the area where he is and so he goes back to Aaron and here we see he's also the bargainer he's the manipulator and the bargain or because Jacob gets about halfway there and he spends the night and this is where he has a stairway to have an experience here was not a drug-induced dream we're led zeppelin's showed up he laid his head it says on a pillow that was a rock and then Jacob's Ladder appeared Jacob's Ladder which was angels ascending and descending on this ladder into heaven and back to the earth and into heaven and so God speaks to him after this dream and he says my promise that you've heard from your mom is really true you're going to be the father of a great nation your descendants are gonna be so many you know you can't count them like the dust of the earth and I'm going to see you through I'm gonna watch over you and you're gonna come back to this land and all this land that you've walked upon is going to be yours one day and I'm gonna watch over you I'm gonna bless you I'm going to take care of you and after the stairway to heaven dream and after God speaks to him here's what Jacob does and Genesis 28 then Jacob made a vow saying if God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I'm taking will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's house then the Lord will be my god and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house and of all that you give me I will give you a tent that sounds like a great prayer but Jacob was basically saying God let's make a deal here hey if you come through on all the things you just promised me then I tell you what I'll surrender my life to you if you bless me and watch over me and take care of me and and you do all these great things you promised then you know what I'm gonna put you first in my life in fact if you bless me financially a lot I'll tell you what I'm gonna do god I'm gonna tithe I'm gonna give you ten percent of all that you give me bargaining have you ever bargain with God God if you get me out of this Jam I promise you I'll go to church every week God if you bless me financially then I'll tie it God if you'll help me win the Powerball lottery I promise you I'll tithe on it I'll tie it at least one percent on that God God if you do this for me then I'll do that the ever bargain with God God if you just get me out of this situation if you just work a miracle here I'm in a desperate situation I promise you I'll surrender the rest of my life to you we bargain with God and God says obey first God says pray first trust first surrender to me first and then you'll see my real blessings if you want to experience God's real blessings in your life don't bargain with him just obey Him now for the next 20 years God patiently works on Jacobs control issues and I love this because God doesn't say don't you ever bargain with me again in fact I'm gonna see to it I'm gonna strike you with a bolt of lightning boom no he doesn't do that God loves him just the same God is patient with him and he works on him for 20 years and God allows people to come into his life that kind of sucked the life out of him God allows some pressures to come into his life to chip away at the control issues God allows some problems to come into his life that he can't solve delpan finally turned to the Lord and depend upon him Jacob runs into his uncle Laban who had never met before and Laban gives him a job God's providing and then he sees Laban youngest daughter Rachel and he falls in love with her and so he comes to Laban to make a deal because Jacobs really good at that he's really good at negotiating working things out and so he says uncle if you will give me your daughter Rachel in marriage then I will work for you for seven years and so they yeah great deal Laban agrees to it so he works for Laban for seven years and the Bible says he was so in love with Rachel that it seemed like it was just a few days to him he had it bad he works for seven years he's so in love with Rachel say oh this is wonderful it just seems like a few days and so on the wedding night he lifts her veil and in Old Testament times they would wear these veils you couldn't even see the bride's face but he lifts her veil on the wedding night and it's not Rachel at all it's her older sister Leah and so the master manipulator has been manipulated by Laban he has been deceived he's been tricked and he goes back to labeling of what is the meaning of this why did you do this to he said well it's custom in our area that the firstborn daughter gets married off first didn't you know that no I didn't know that you didn't tell me that and he said I tell you what if you'll sign up for another seven years of work for me then I'll go ahead and give you Rachel I'll throw her in the deal – that's pretty much what happened and so Rachel you know he has Rachel his wife Leah as his wife and I'm sure God used that in his life two wives you know to really take away his control issues he was not in control anymore that's for sure for the rest of his life he just didn't know it at this time it's amazing to me God used pain and problems and God even used someone who was deceitful to rip him off to get him to the place where he'd finally give up control but God also used blessings at the same time it was two tracks and that's the way God works in our lives he was blessing and two he blessed him with kids he blessed him with a huge family his business just boomed his flocks his livestock he was so successful and so you see at the same time all these problems were chipping away at his control issues but then God's goodness was chipping away his control issues and that's the way it is in our lives God brings us to problems and allows them into our lives problems we can't handle so that will turn to him but he also gives us blessings so that we'll see that he is a good god who loves us that we can see that we can trust him as he keeps coming through for us in spite of our doubts and sins and fears so both barriers and blessings is what God used to start bringing him to this point where he was no longer a manipulator he was no longer a bargainer he's getting to that point where he's giving up full control to God but laven keeps trying to cheat Jacob so God tells Jacob you need to go back to the promised land you need to go back to the land I promised you you need to go back home but Jacob knows what this means it means facing his past it's been 20 years since he saw Esau last and Esau wasn't very happy the last time he saw him and now God is bringing him back he's got to face his past and he's afraid but Jake is a different man than he was twenty years before and so he does it the obeys God he's bringing back his whole business all the flocks his family and everything and he's bringing them back and he's just thinking well maybe Esau's forgotten about this over 20 years maybe this is okay and then he gets a report from one of his servants who says Esau is on his way and he's got an army of people with him well Jacob just paralyzed with fear and here's what he does in Genesis 32 7 in great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who are with him into two groups and the flocks and herds and camels as well he thought if he saw comes and attacks one group the group that has left may escape so here we see that he becomes the schemer he still got a little bit of control issues in him because he was one of those uber planners you know he's one of these guys that control through planning as well nothing wrong with planning we need to plan but but he had that in him and so what he did was he thought oh what am I gonna do what I'm gonna do what am I gonna do and he's I've got to make a plan I've got to fix the situation so he says I'm gonna separate everything I have my families and everything and in at least if he attacks one the other one I might be able to escape so he's thinking and he's planning but then the next thing he does is praise so yeah he's still scheming a little bit but at least he prays you know it's kind of like well I've done everything else all of us left to do now is pray you know like it's really bad now you know and that's what we do so many times with God God says I want you to pray first pray first and then plan pray and plan pray and plan and pray and plan it's good to plan but pray first but he's scheming he's planning first but then at least he prays so you see these a different man than he was 20 years ago because he's praying and this prayer reveals that he's a different man his character has been changed because it's a prayer of dependence upon God it's a prayer where he says God you're gonna have to come through and he reminds God of his promise you promise me this God that you're gonna take care of me watch over me I need you now desperately it's a humble prayer but there's still a little bit of selfish control left in Jacob and God has to literally wrestle it out of him and he becomes the wrestler and I see we've all been schemers we've all been bargainers we've all been manipulators we've all been wrestlers it says in verse 24 so Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him till daybreak so the night before he was to face Esau he goes off by himself all alone with just his thoughts he's getting ready to face his past the next day he's a different man than he was but he goes off by himself and underline that Jacob was left alone because everyone must wrestle God for himself no one else can do it for you you have to have a first-hand personal encounter with God it doesn't matter your parents were great Christians it doesn't matter if your uncle is a pastor doesn't matter that you live in America of what matters is have you had a personal encounter with the Living God do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ is always up close and personal and you can't wrestle with God unless it's just you and God and last it's just a face-to-face encounter a personal that's the only way God works in your life and that's why when we gather a group and we sing in a group and we praise in a group God's commands us to do that because that worship takes place best in a large group but yet God speaks to your heart individually and that's why God takes this message that I'm preaching right now and he takes this general message of biblical truth from God's Word and he puts it right down in your heart and he custom fits it into your heart and he speaks to you personally because he has a purposeful and personal plan for your life God is not some cosmic force out in the universe that I can't relate to God is Jesus Christ and so here we see Jacob and he's all alone and in verse 30 after he'd wrestled God all night it says so Jacob called the place Peniel saying it is because I saw God face to face and yet my life was spared penny all just means the face of God as god it just means the face of God and so he said I know I wrestle with God and I saw him face to face and so Jacob was saying I've heard about God from my father Isaac and grandfather Abraham I've even seen God work in my life I've even had God speak his promises into my heart but now I've seen him face to face now I have encountered him in a personal way and this is where he finally comes into that personal relationship with God you can know all about God but do you know God you got have grown up in church but do you really know him personally not known about it it's not head knowledge it's heart knowledge have you really surrendered your life to him that's what it's all about and look at verse 25 it says when the man saw that he could not overpower him he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man so Jacob wrestles with the man all night wrestles with God all night and so in a sense Jacob had been wrestling God his whole life he'd been wrestling in his womb his brother Esau had been wrestling for control of his birthright wrestling for control of the blessing wrestling for control of the family he had been wrestling with God all of his life for the very things that God already promised to give him and John Piper says this that is a true picture of mankind we fight others and we fight God to enjoy the blessings that God would give us if we would just yield to him and God wants to give you so many blessings God wants to give you the deepest blessings of peace and happiness and meaning and those are the things were striving for that were manipulating for that were scheming for that were bargaining for those are the things were trying to control those are the things we're trying to get and God says he could just let go and give up control I'll give those things to you I'll give you the very things that you want how ironic he'd been wrestling with God his whole life by the things that God was trying to give him if he would just yield and give up so Jacob wrestles all night and then God sees that Jacob is not giving up there's still some control issues there and so Jacob just keeps wrestling and wrestling and wrestling and when God sees this it says he touches Jacobs hip and match over it's done all he was touch his hip his hips out of socket God wins and whenever you're wrestling for control whenever you're wrestling God there are a couple things you need to understand number one you're gonna be fatigued and number two you're gonna fail you always fail when you wrestle God and so God touches his hip boom the match is over but I love this because it shows me God has such power that all he had to do in the first second of the match was just crushed Jacob he could his touch Jacob and just crushed the life out of him but God doesn't do that and God doesn't wrestle us to crush us he wrestles us to get us the place of surrender so that will surrender control of our lives and will yield and will rest in his love and his power and his strength God is not wrestling with you today to crush you God does not hate you God is not trying to destroy you God loves you and God is for you he wants the best for you more than you want the best for yourself but he will wrestle you and wrestle you and wrestle you until you finally wear out until you finally give up and you rest and receive all the things that you've been striving for your whole life and that's what happens he touches Jacobs hip he cripples Jacob at a source of strength and the battle is over and finally wrestling his whole life for control he gives up control he finally gives up control and that's the first thing I want you to write down very simple if you want to experience the blessings of God give up control give up control to God's care and control knowing that God cares for you that he loves you that he knows what's best for you that you don't have to be the general manager of the universe any longer because that's tiring it's frustrating it's fatiguing and you'll fail but when you give up to God's care and control then you see his blessings in your life and this is what salvation is at a point in time in your life to experience God firsthand you have to come to the place where you surrender control say God I give you control you have to surrender to the you can't get to heaven on your own you're not good enough because you're a sinner like everyone else and say god I I give up control of my life to you I give up and ask you to get me to heaven one day I give up to your forgiveness I give up that's what salvation is and once you do that he comes into your life he'll never leave you in verse 26 it says then the man said let me go for this daybreak so this dawn is breaking I mean this is a seminal defining moment in Jacob's life and Jacob replied I will not let you go unless you bless me so Jacob stops fighting to get away from God and he starts fighting to hold on to God and this is the second thing I want you to write down first give up control and secondly hold on to God those are the two things God wants you to get today you don't get anything else give up control and hold on to God with all your heart hold on to God give up control but don't give up give up control but don't give up on God give up control but don't give up on praying keep praying the blessing is just around the corner and and here Jacob holds on to God and he says no I want you to bless me I'm gonna hold on to you because I see that I'm no longer gonna fight you I want to hold on to you I want this relationship I want this blessing and so give up control but don't give up on God give up control but don't give up hold on to God some of you needed to hear that because you're in a marriage that's just falling apart and you pretty much decided it's over and I just want to say hold on to God hold on to God and persist in prayer God can still work a miracle and maybe the miracle is just around the corner maybe the dawn is just now breaking it's always darkest before dawn maybe Breaking Dawn is just around the corner but it looks like the middle of the night to you and so you're about to give up some of you're about to give up on a dream and God says hold on Breaking Dawn is just around the corner some of you are about to give up on life and God says hold on I have a breaking dawn for you just around the corner give up control but hold on to God and when there's nothing else to hold on to you hold on to God with all your heart and when you can't hold on to God any longer the good news is he will still hold on to you

1 thought on “Kerry Shook: Wrestling God”

  1. I can relate to this sermon, which was excellent. I am born again and I love Jesus, but sometimes I resist and fall away. I don't like when it happens because I feel it sets me back, but I can understand the issues Jacob had. Thank You for that Mr. Shook. Give up control to Jesus. Praise Jesus.

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