God’s transforming work in our lives
- Is it important for us to continue growing in our relationship with God?
- Do you think God wants us to grow?
- What are some ways that God might work to make us more mature as His people?
Genesis 32:24-32 (HCSB)
Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that He could not defeat him, He struck Jacob’s hip socket as they wrestled and dislocated his hip. 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.”
“What is your name?” the man asked.
“Jacob,” he replied.
“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.”
Then Jacob asked Him, “Please tell me Your name.”
But He answered, “Why do you ask My name?” And He blessed him there.
Jacob then named the place Peniel, “For I have seen God face to face,” he said, “and I have been delivered.” The sun shone on him as he passed by Penuel — limping because of his hip. That is why, to this day, 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.
What are some things you know about Jacob?
- Isaac was his father and Abraham was his grandfather.
- The promise God made to Abraham would be fulfilled through Jacob’s children.
- At this point in the story, Jacob was returning to Canaan and was afraid of his brother, Esau. He sent his people ahead of him with gifts for Esau as he followed behind.
Who do you think the man is in this story?
- Jacob refers to him as God and the man also claims that that Jacob struggled with God.
- Does it seem odd that God would wrestle Jacob? Why or why not?
- God engaged Jacob for the purpose of Jacob’s transformation.
- Notice that Jacob demanded God’s blessing.
- God did not only give His blessing to Jacob. Instead, He first changed Jacob’s name to Israel and only then blessed him.
- Here we learn that God will engage people in order to transform them or grow them.
- In this transformation, we become more like Christ.
- Romans 8:29 states that God’s people will be conformed to the image of Christ.
- Transformation, change for the better, happens when God engages us.
- If we find that we are just as mature in the faith as we were last year, we probably do not spend time with God.
- If we are against transformation in our lives, then we are probably guilty of ignoring the work that God wants to do in our lives.
- Every encounter with God causes us to grow, or to experience life change in a positive way.
- Jacob encountered God because God wrestled him. What are some ways we might experience God?
- The most prominent way is by our study of Scripture.
- Other ways include: prayer, fasting, worship in song, striving to please God in everything that we do.
- Jacob was wrestling God, we can also encounter God as we seek to please Him while we are playing sports, video games, in band, in school, in our relationships, as we watch television, and as we work.
- As we are transformed, we also become more humble.
- Greater humility is another evidence that we encounter God regularly.
- People who are overly prideful most likely do not genuinely encounter God on a regular basis.
- Notice that first, Jacob would not let the man go. He demanded the man’s blessing.
- Then, after the man had 1) dislocated his hip and 2) gave him a new name, Jacob was thankful that he had been spared.
- Notice that Jacob gained God’s blessing, but was also hurt in the process.
- The man dislocated Jacob’s hip.
- When God transforms us, He strips away the things that are not of Him. This can hurt us.
- We must know that we are always better off as God transforms us than we were before.
- The pain we might encounter as God grows us is always worth it.
- Why do you think that God “could not defeat Jacob?” (v. 25)
- Notice that He dislocated Jacob’s hip and that Jacob was thankful to be spared.
- This man could have easily killed Jacob if He wanted to.
- God has this amazing willingness to engage us no matter how imperfect or insufficient we are in order to raise us up and transform us.
- God “could not” defeat Jacob because His purpose was not to defeat Jacob. It was to test him and transform him.
- It was not beyond God’s ability to defeat Jacob. It was outside of His purpose and His plan for Jacob.