A Con Artist’s Struggle – Gospel in Life

A Con Artist’s Struggle

Tim Keller |  September 21, 1997

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  • Doctrine
Genesis 32:22-32
RS 83-03


How do we find God? We’re looking now to, I think, probably the strangest of all narrative accounts in the Bible of a human being encountering God.
It’s a long story. All of Jacob’s life, he’s been wrestling with his twin brother, Esau. He’s been away, but he decides to come back and finally have it out. He sends a bunch of gifts ahead of him, he divides his own family up, and he gets ready to meet Esau alone. And there in the dark when Jacob is alone, a mysterious man—not Esau—attacks him, and he wrestles him all night. Finally, as the day is about to break, Jacob realizes this is the Lord himself—that he’s wrestling with God.
Jacob meets God, and the encounter tells us how we can meet God and how we can check our own hearts to find out if we’ve met God. Four things: 1) an encounter with God is personal, 2) an encounter with God is personal wrestling, 3) an encounter with God is always losing, but 4) an encounter with God is winning through losing.

Genesis 32:22–32

Let’s talk about how being an active part of a small church community can help us understand our personal relationship with God. We’ll look at Jacob’s story, a man who had a difficult relationship with his brother Esau, to understand how we can find God and personal fulfillment. Jacob’s encounter with God teaches us four important things about our relationship with Him.

1. Meeting God is a personal experience

Faith is about having a one-on-one relationship with God. It’s not just about feeling His presence when you’re with others or in certain environments. If you only experience faith in these situations, it can leave you feeling lost when tough times come. This is why it’s important to spend time alone with God, to strengthen your faith and prepare yourself for life’s challenges.

2. Meeting God is like wrestling

Connecting with God isn’t always easy. It’s more like a wrestling match, where God challenges our beliefs and we have to grapple with difficult questions. This process can be tough, but it’s through this struggle that we find true joy in God.

3. Meeting God is about losing to win

When Jacob wrestled with God, he learned the value of surrender and seeking God’s blessings above all else. He started off only turning to God when he was desperate, but he eventually saw God as the greatest blessing of all. This story shows us that even when we resist God or go through hard times, there’s still the potential for God to bless us.



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