“A Worthwhile Fight” – Sermon June 11

SCRIPTURE READING                     Genesis 32: 22 – 30   The Message

SERMON                            “A Worthwhile Fight”                                                                 Rev. Karen Bash

Artwork: “Jacob Wrestling with God“, by Jack Baumgartner  (visit his website at  https://theschoolofthetransferofenergy.com/)

Jacob’s History

Birth, mother Rebekah, brother Esau, father Isaac’s blessing

Journey to Laban, meets Rachael

Marriage to Leah

Marriage to Rachel

Leah has children, Rachel is barren but loved

Jacob asks for spotted sheep and goats

Laban becomes angry

Jacob leaves Laban with wives, concubines, children and flocks

Laban pursues him

Esau pursues him

Between rock and a hard place

Finds himself at the Jabbok River alone

Wrestles with a mysterious being

“I will not let you go unless you bless me”

Name changed to Israel

“I have seen God face to face and lived to tell the story”

How many of us have spent the night awake — wrestling with hard issues in our own lives

Weightlifting “The struggle is real” “the fight is worthwhile”

Story of man who fought with God all night. Funeral — a wonderful statement of faith for him God is real and the struggle is real.

Some of you recall that Sarah preached on the stages of grief during Lent – stage of anger — a natural response to loss

Whether we have been handed a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness, lost a job, or have had to bid a final farewell to a loved one we will find ourselves angry — angry at the doctor, angry at the boss, angry at the hospital or hospice team, angry at family members, angry at the deceased

Put your anger on the One whose shoulders are strong enough to bear the burden — it’s okay to be angry at God

Perhaps we are at a place in life where we are not angry but find ourselves in danger of losing our faith

I believe that a faith with which you have not struggled is a weak faith — an insipid faith

It is not a sin to wrestle with God — in fact God want us, God’s people to really get engaged in this faith business

Jacob was not a paragon of virtue, his life for the most part is not an example for our children, yet he wrestled with God and was chosen by God to be the progenitor of the nation of Israel — the people who took his name

No, the sin is not in wrestling with God, the sin is in letting go before you are blessed. Hang in and hang on so that you can be the recipient of blessing and grace.