ODJ: Wrestling and Restoration

March 19, 2018 

READ: Genesis 32:22-32 

“Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won” (v.28).

Whenever I counsel couples considering divorce, I always start by asking them this question: What kind of relationship did your parents have? Children whose parents divorce are far more likely to do so themselves—in fact, men whose parents are no longer married are 35 percent more likely to divorce, and for women the likelihood is a startling 60 percent. Sometimes in order to heal our broken relationships, we have to look back at the relationships in our past.

Jacob had many broken relationships but perhaps none more wounded than the one with his twin brother, Esau. After gaining his brother’s birthright and blessing through trickery (Genesis 25:29-34, 27:1-29), Jacob decided to flee his brother’s murderous wrath (27:41). Much of his life story was lived out in the context of his attempts to stay away from his brother. But later in his life Jacob finally faced his brother once more (32:5).

But before that happened, he had to confront another with whom he shared a broken relationship—God Himself. Jacob had become alienated from God through his constant and selfish scheming, and so he first had to literally wrestle with God, an experience that changed not only his heart but his name: “You will be called Israel” (32:28). It was only after this transformation that his relationship with his brother could be restored (33:4).

The sad reality is that many of us have broken relationships we want to heal. But perhaps the first relationship that needs to be healed is the one with our heavenly Father. When we’re reconciled to Him, we can experience the eternal peace and perspective necessary to seek reconciliation with others.

—Peter Chin

365-day plan: 1 Samuel 1:1-28

Read 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 to see how our work of sharing the gospel flows from our reconciliation with God. 
What broken relationships do you have? In what ways might those they be affected by your relationship with God?