Noah obeying God:
“And Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him.
Now Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of water came upon the earth.”
Jacob wrestling with God:
“Then Jacob was left alone,
and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.
And when he saw that he had not prevailed against him,
he touched the socket of his thigh;
so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated
while he wrestled with him. . . .
‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but
for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.”
Abraham wrestling with God:
“Far be it from Thee to do such a thing,
to slay the righteous with the wicked,
so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike.
Far be it from Thee!
Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?”
Moses wrestling with God:
“Then Moses entreated the Lord his God, and said,
‘O Lord, why doth Thine anger burn against Thy people
whom Thou hast brought out from the
land of Egypt
with great power and with a mighty hand? . . .
Remember Abraham, Isaac, and
. . . Israel
So the Lord changed His mind about the harm
which He said He would do to His people.”
Which takes more courage: to obey God or to wrestle with Him?
Which best demonstrates that we love God with all of our heart, with all of our soul, and with all of our strength?
Which best demonstrates that we love our neighbor?
Which takes more love? Which takes more compassion?
Once we have demonstrated our capacity to obey, perhaps God tests our love for Him and for our neighbor by appearing to command the opposite of His character. If we truly love Him, will we not “wrestle” with Him and call upon Him to live into His merciful promises? Such an act takes great courage. Consider the courage of Abraham: “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes” (Gen 18:27); and again, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak” (v. 30); and yet again, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once” (v. 32).
Given the courage it takes to wrestle with God, we must trust passionately in His mercy, His love, and His promises. Only with deep trust in the character of God can we put on the boldness to face the Lord. This boldness demonstrates our love for Him -- His true self – and His promises. When we come out boldly and wrestle with God, we pass a test. We demonstrate our love for that which God most loves.
And if we “obey” rather than “wrestle” when the Lord “commands” us into an act contrary to His character?
He “saves” us, but we may end our life here on earth drunk and naked:
Noah, toward the end of his life:
“And he drank of the wine and became drunk,
and uncovered himself inside his tent.”
Having learned obedience, may we now enter into the heart of God and show our willingness to wrestle with Him.