Take Hold of God
Topic: Wrestling with God Passage: Genesis 32:22–32
TAKE HOLD OF GOD
An Exposition of Genesis 32:22-32
By Pastor Brian Wilbur
Date: November 19, 2023
Series: The Book of Genesis
Note: Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
THE SCRIPTURAL TEXT
Holy Scripture says:
22 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob's hip on the sinew of the thigh. (Genesis 32:22-32)
How do you prepare to meet the person or the situation that you fear? When you are greatly afraid and deeply distressed about some circumstance or trial that is staring you in the face, what do you do? How do you proceed? What steps do you take? Do you become preoccupied with the person or the thing that you fear, so that your fear paralyzes you? Do you undertake practical actions in order to manage your fears? Do you keep pressing forward? Or do you turn away from the challenging path in order to find an easier one? Do you trust the Lord and remember His promises? Are you open to the Lord meeting you first before you meet the person or the situation that you fear?
In Genesis 32, Jacob is on his way back to the land of Canaan, at the Lord’s direction. Jacob is on the path of obedience (Genesis 31:3, 13). Staying on this path of obedience requires Jacob to meet his brother Esau, the one who was enraged at him twenty years earlier. When Jacob learns that Esau is coming to meet him with an entourage of four hundred men, Jacob is “greatly afraid and distressed” (Genesis 32:7). Jacob is fearful that Esau might come against him and attack his camp. What does Jacob do? Jacob does four things prior to his encounter with God:
- First, Jacob takes the practical step of dividing his camp into two companies in order to cut his potential losses in half. If one company gets attacked, the other might escape. (Genesis 32:7-8)
- Second, Jacob stands on God’s promises, remembers God’s faithfulness, and asks God to deliver him and his family. (Genesis 32:9-12)
- Third, Jacob takes another practical step by preparing a large present of 580 animals for Esau. Such a large gift demonstrates goodwill on Jacob’s part, and Jacob hopes that the gift appeases Esau and makes Esau favorable to him. Jacob sent this gift – five droves of animals – ahead of him, so that these gifts would precede him into Esau’s presence. (Genesis 32:13-21)
- Fourth, Jacob keeps moving forward on the path of obedience. He doesn’t turn away. He doesn’t flee. He doesn’t run. He presses on. The very fact that Jacob prepared a present for Esau and intended to follow the present into Esau’s presence, shows that he was staying the course.
All this is well and good, but something else of great importance is just about to happen. Before Jacob sent his messengers ahead of him to meet Esau (Genesis 32:3), God sent His messengers ahead of Him to meet Jacob (Genesis 32:1). Jacob’s messengers met Esau first, but this anticipates the fact that eventually Jacob is going to meet Esau directly. Likewise, God’s messengers (“the angels of God”, Genesis 32:1) met Jacob first, but this anticipates the fact that eventually God is going to meet Jacob directly. The order of these events is important: God sends His messengers to meet Jacob before Jacob sends his messengers to meet Esau. Therefore it comes as no surprise that God meets Jacob beforeJacob meets Esau. Thus Jacob sees the face of God before he sees the face of Esau. In all this, we learn that God went before Jacob and prepared Jacob to meet Esau. God will also go before you and prepare you to meet your fears. Only trust Him!
WALKING THROUGH THE PASSAGE
Let’s begin walking through the passage.
There are times when you will be left alone for your own good (v. 22-24a)
First, there will be times when you are left alone for your own good (see v. 22-24a). We rightly emphasize family and church community and the covenant fellowship that we share together in Christ. Last week’s sermon rightly called us to pray together. We are not lone ranger individualists, but are part of God’s household in which we walk with the Lord together. Nevertheless, there are times when you must be alone with God, when you must stand on your own two feet in the presence of the Holy One.
I am not saying that Jacob had a grand strategy here to have alone time with God. From Jacob’s perspective, being left alone may have simply come about accidentally, though it is also possible that he intended to be left alone. It is possible that Jacob intended to seek after God in the quiet of the night. But the text is silent about any motivation that Jacob might have had for being alone. In any case, sometime during the night when Jacob was with his family in the camp (Genesis 32:21-22), Jacob took his immediate family members and sent them, along with their possessions, across the stream (Genesis 32:23). As a result, “Jacob was left alone” (Genesis 32:24). What Jacob would have done while he was alone, if God hadn’t come out to meet him, is impossible to say. But what you do when you are alone reveals what kind of person you are. Maybe you are “left alone” because others have forsaken you. Maybe you are “left alone” because you deliberately chose to be alone, whether to seek God or to simply retreat from the bustle of human activity. Or, maybe you are “left alone” more or less by very ordinary circumstances, such as when you drive your commute to and from the workplace. Consider the possibility that there are times when you will be “left alone” for your own good. Consider the possibility that the Lord will show up in a powerful way when you are “alone”, and not a moment sooner. “And Jacob was left alone” – and as it turns out, he was left alone for his own good.
God will shape you in remarkable ways when you are alone (v. 24-29)
Second, God will shape you in remarkable ways – and prepare you for difficult things – when you are alone (v. 24-29). Now lest anyone get the wrong impression, I’m not at all suggesting that you should expect to have the same kind of dramatic encounter that Jacob had in verses 24-29. Jacob’s encounter with God is indeed dramatic and unusual – Jacob himself only had this experience once! Even so, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the living God who is also at work in our lives. The living God, through His Word and His Holy Spirit, instructs you, convicts you, assures you, leads you, warns you, helps you, and transforms you. Don’t be surprised that some significant parts of God’s molding and shaping work in your life will happen when you are alone with Him.
Of course, none of this happens simply because we decide that it will happen. Jacob did not decide to do verses 24-29. It is God who took the initiative. God initiates, we have the opportunity to respond. God invites, we have the opportunity to respond. God reveals, we have the opportunity to respond.
The way that God initiates this encounter with Jacob has an element of mystery to it. How could the infinite, holy, and transcendent God encounter us without there being a mysterious element to it? In this case, the encounter is immediately mysterious in that the initiator is referred to as a man: “And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.” (Genesis 32:24, italics added) Then verse 25 begins: “When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob” (italics added). We suspect, however, that this man is no mere man, and it becomes clear by verse 28 that Jacob has been wrestling with God, and in verse 30 Jacob testifies, “For I have seen God face to face”. So, Jacob is going toe to toe with God appearing in human form. The Lord had also appeared to Abraham in human form back in Genesis 18. For the sake of simplicity, let’s refer to ‘God appearing as a man’ as ‘the God-Man’.
So, Jacob is drawn into a wrestling match by the God-Man. The wrestling goes on for a long time, until daybreak. (v. 24) Remarkably, the God-Man did not prevail against Jacob (v. 25a), and therefore the God-Man wounded Jacob in the hip: “he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.” (v. 25b) Wrestling with God is not for the faint of heart, and He may leave you disjointed and limping.
There is progression in the text: first the wrestling until daybreak, then the wounding, and then the God-Man tells Jacob to stand down: “Let me go, for the day has broken.” (v. 26) Jacob, however, is undeterred by the hip injury and unwilling to comply with the request. Jacob is absolutely determined to maintain a tenacious grip on the God-Man until the God-Man blesses him: “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” (v. 26) At this point we realize that Jacob’s wrestling opponent is neither a mere man nor an enemy: instead, Jacob’s wrestling opponent is superior to Jacob and has the ability to bless Jacob. The sort of blessing that Jacob seeks is the blessing that a superior person bestows upon an inferior person. It is the greater who blesses the lesser. But Jacob the lesser “will not let go” until God-Man the greater blesses him.
So far, so good. But the God-Man will not bless Jacob until another matter is cleared up. So He asks Jacob, “What is your name?” Many years ago I heard Ravi Zacharias offer some profound insight on this question, and it has remained with me all these years, and I share it with you now. Keep in mind what is happening: Jacob wants the God-Man to bless him, and the God-Man wants Jacob to identify His name. Does this remind you of something else? About twenty years earlier, Jacob wanted his father Isaac to bless him, and so Jacob went in to his blind father, and blind Isaac asked the son who had come to him, “Who are you, my son?” (Genesis 27:18) And Jacob lied: “I am Esau your firstborn.” (Genesis 27:19) Isaac had his doubts and eventually asked, “Are you really my son Esau?” (Genesis 27:24) And Jacob lied again: “I am.” (Genesis 27:24) Jacob obtained the covenant blessing from his father, and it was truly his, but he had obtained it dishonestly.
Twenty years later, in a wrestling match with One far greater than his father Isaac, in a wrestling match with the God-Man who is not blind but who sees everything perfectly, Jacob would not be able to obtain the blessing dishonestly. This greater blessing, from the God-Man Himself, would have to be obtained honestly. “What is your name?” This question and its background are all the more pressing in light of the fact that Jacob is fearful of Esau, the one whose identity he falsely claimed back in Chapter 27, and the one he is about to meet again in Chapter 33. Tell me your name, son. No disguise or pretense this time around. Jacob answered honestly and simply: “Jacob.” (v. 27) And with that, Jacob was poised to receive the blessing of the Most High. There is a great freedom that comes from confessing the truth. Are you able to be honest with the Lord? Are you able to tell him what you really desire? (“I will not let you go unless you bless me.”) Are you able to tell him who you really are? (“[I am] Jacob.”) In this moment, Jacob was intensely and honestly engaged in seeking the God-Man’s favor.
After Jacob identified his name, the God-Man renamed Jacob: “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28) The name “Israel” is formed from two Hebrew words – ‘strives’ and ‘God’. So, Israel means either ‘He strives with God’ or ‘God strives’ (ESV footnote). The significance of the name being conferred upon Jacob is made clear in verse 28: “for you [Jacob] have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Jacob was a man who had struggled with, striven with, wrestled with both God and men, and Jacob had prevailed, overcome, and triumphed. In terms of this passage, Jacob had wrestled with God and prevailed. In terms of the bigger picture of Jacob’s life, he had struggled with his twin brother Esau in the womb; he had successfully maneuvered against Esau for his birthright and for his blessing; in more recent years he had overcome the schemes of Laban. So Jacob, the man of faith, was characterized by overcoming both God and men. Of course, when we say that Jacob wrestled with God and prevailed, we do not mean that Jacob defeated God, but rather that Jacob secured the outcome that he desired. The prophet Hosea summarized Jacob’s triumph this way: “In the womb he took his brother by the heel, and in his manhood he strove with God. He strove with the angel and prevailed; he wept and sought his favor.” (Hosea 12:3-4a) The angel of the Lord, who is distinct from the Lord and yet equal with the Lord, is the God-Man that Jacob wrestled with. Notice that Jacob had such a tenacious and triumphant grip on God’s grace, that he obtained the favor and grace that he sought.
Do you have a tenacious and triumphant grip on God’s grace? Are you the kind of person that if the Lord engaged you in a wrestling match, you would stay in for the long haul until you had his blessing in hand? Or do you quickly bow out, let go, and walk away because it’s easier? Do you short-circuit God’s potential work in your life because you want it to be easy, because you don’t want to do the hard work of struggling and wrestling, because you’d rather have no blessing and no pain than to have true blessing accompanied by a limp from a disjointed hip joint?
Are we willing to earnestly seek God in prayer? How often do we camp out in our own small world of practical solutions and outward comforts, and only give a little lip-service to prayer? Where is the earnest expectation? Where is the desperation? Where is the confidence in the God who hears and answers prayer? “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; know, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Your heavenly Father knows how to “give good things to those who ask him!” (Mathew 7:11)
Let us learn from Jacob, who persevered and prevailed – so much so that it came to characterize him, and the God-Man named him accordingly.
After Jacob received his new name, Jacob asked the God-Man, “Please tell me your name.” (v. 29) This request of Jacob was not granted. The God-Man asked Jacob, “Why is it that you ask my name?” (v. 29) That rhetorical question never receives an answer. Then the passage concludes by telling us, “And there he blessed him.” (v. 29) This was the very thing that Jacob had so adamantly sought: “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he got it: “And there he [the God-Man] blessed him [Jacob].” The God who blessed Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28, and who blessed Noah and his sons in Genesis 9:1, and who through Melchizedek blessed Abraham in Genesis 14:19, and who blessed Isaac in Genesis 25:11, now blesses Jacob in Genesis 32:29. God is at work through the blessed one to bring blessing and encouragement to us all.
When you wrestle with God and prevail, the experience is impactful (v. 30-32)
Third, when you wrestle with God and prevail and receive His blessing, the experience is impactful (v. 30-32).
Once the God-Man spoke blessing over Jacob, Jacob would have felt free to finally let go, and thus he was left alone again to contemplate his experience. The impactful nature of Jacob’s experience is evident in three ways.
THE FIRST IMPACT
First, Jacob named the place where he had wrestled with God: Jacob named it “Peniel” which means “the face of God” (ESV footnote). Then he gave the reason: “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” (v. 30) Jacob had the good sense to realize that seeing God face to face might have utterly ruined him. So he processed the experience with humble awe at God’s grace.
There is more going on in verse 30 than a simple explanation for naming the place Peniel. Remember that the context of Jacob’s encounter with God is his great fear and deep distress at the prospect of meeting Esau. Jacob wanted Esau to be favorable to him. Look at what Jacob says in verse 20: “I may appease him with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterward I shall see his face. Perhaps he will accept me.” (Genesis 32:20) The English translation obscures the repetition of the word face. The Hebrew text literally says, “I may appease his face with the present that goes before my face, and afterward I shall see his face. Perhaps he will accept my face.” Do you understand? Jacob is expressing his desire to see Esau face to face, and for Esau to be favorable to him. Or to put it another way: Jacob is expressing his desire to see Esau face to face, and for Jacob to be delivered from Esau. This is what Jacob prayed in verse 11: “Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him” (Genesis 32:11). And after Jacob wrestles with God in verses 22-32, what is the next thing that happens? Chapter 33 begins, “And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming” (Genesis 33:1). Jacob is about to see the face of Esau. But God intervenes in Jacob’s life before Jacob sees Esau face to face, as if to teach Jacob: Jacob, you need to see God face to face before you see Esau face to face; you need to obtain favor from God before your meeting with Esau; you need to experience deliverance from a holy God in God’s presence before you venture forth on your hoped-for deliverance from Esau’s presence.
Now if you understand that potential hostility from Esau represented a great fear and deep distress in Jacob’s soul, then you can learn a vitally important lesson about how to come face to face with your fears. Obviously no one should expect to have a dramatic Jacob-like experience every time you are weighed down with fear. But there is an important lesson: you need to meet God before you meet your fear. Maybe you need to be reconciled with someone. Maybe you need to have a difficult conversation with a loved one, with a parent or child or sibling. Maybe you need to make a tough decision that will affect the rest of your life. Maybe you need to make an appointment with a doctor to see about that pain that’s been bothering you the last six months. Maybe you are being called to do hard things in hard places. Maybe God is calling you into a more costly obedience. The temptation is to rush into such things while the Lord is distant. But what does Jacob’s encounter with God teach us? You need to see God face to face before you see your fear face to face. You need to obtain favor from God before you meet your challenging circumstance. You need to experience deliverance from a holy God in God’s presence before you venture forth for a hoped-for deliverance from an earthly distress.
We don’t credit Jacob for being the wise architect of his experience with God in verses 24-29. God initiated the wrestling; God wounded Jacob in the hip; God spoke the first words and set the agenda for the conversation. By way of application, I would say: when you are on the cusp of encountering one more anxious trial or when a distressing circumstance is closing in on you, don’t be surprised if God nudges you to seek Him, or prods you to open your Bible, or invites you to pour out your heart in prayer, or even does something dramatic and unusual in order to get your attention. When the Lord opens the door for you to seek Him, He is doing it because He wants to be found, He wants to be laid hold of, He wants to be prevailed upon – not because He needs you, but because you need Him and because He wants to be glorified as your merciful King and mighty Deliverer.
THE SECOND IMPACT
The second impact of Jacob’s experience is mentioned in verse 31: “The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.” God wounded Jacob in the hip and it left Jacob with a limp. God will wound you, too. It is God’s way. The fact is that everyone in this world has been and will be wounded in thousands of different ways by thousands of different people. The beautiful thing about God’s way is that He wounds you in order to heal you; He bruises you in order to bless you; He disjoints you in order to deliver you; He knocks you down in order to lift you up. Even so, we carry the limp with us all the days of our life. Verse 31 is striking: Jacob passed by the place Penuel, which is a variation of Peniel, both meaning ‘The Face of God’. Jacob passed by ‘The Face of God’ limping because the hand of God had put his hip out of joint. Those who would walk before the face of God must embrace the limp.
THE THIRD IMPACT
The third impact of Jacob’s experience is mentioned in verse 32. The passage had begun with a reference to Jacob’s immediate family in verses 22-23. The passage concludes with a reference to Jacob’s big extended national family that descended from him: “Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh.” (v. 32) The patriarch Jacob’s experience with God not only got him a new name, but that experience also came to shape his people. Jacob’s experience with God did, in part, define the Israelite’s understanding of God. They remembered the wounding touch of God. It affected their eating habits. They also remembered that Jacob had strived with the God who wounded him and that Jacob had prevailed. The whole nation was to understand that we prevail, not by our own might, not by our own power, not by our own wit, but only by imploring God out of our weakness to bless us. Don’t treat God lightly: He has the power to wound you. And don’t turn away from Him: for He alone has the power to truly bless you. Jacob was made ready to meet Esau, and Israel would be made ready to meet its challenges, and we are made ready to meet our trials, only as we remember the God who wounds and saves His people.
Brothers and sisters, face your fears by facing God first. Take hold of God first, then meet the challenge. Hold onto God and receive His blessing, then run to the battle. Respond to God’s overtures of grace that draw you into His presence, and hold fast to Him and His promises.
The surprising grace in this passage
Don’t miss the surprising grace in this passage. Perhaps the most striking part of Jacob’s encounter with God is God’s willingness to condescend to meet Jacob in such a way that Jacob could actually and literally grasp God. I am using the word ‘condescend’ in a good sense. The holy God who dwells in unapproachable heavenly light is infinitely greater than lowly Jacob, a finite sinful man dwelling upon this fallen earth. But the Holy One lowers Himself to appear as a man. And not only that, but the Holy One allows Himself to be wrestled with and grasped and laid hold of. And not only that, but the Holy One allows Himself to be prevailed upon, and to have a demand for blessing placed upon Him, and to have His face seen by the lowly Jacob. Infinite deity humbles himself in the form of vulnerable humanity, and invites Jacob to interact with him in that vulnerable human form. Behold the Holy One who is utterly free and totally outside the control or manipulation of anyone or anything else! In His sovereign freedom, He chooses to come to Jacob in the form of a man, and to interact with Jacob in a way that Jacob understands.
The God-Man in Genesis 32 and in the New Testament
We get an important glimpse of the wonderful mystery of the God-Man right here in Genesis 32, but this mystery comes to climactic fruition in the incarnation of our Lord. God momentarily appearing as a man in Genesis 32 anticipated the future day when God the Son, the second person of the holy Trinity, would permanently take on manhood: “though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:6-7) Thus the apostle John tells us that he heard the God-Man with his hears, and saw the God-Man with his eyes, and touched the God-Man with his hands, and of course he was also able to observe the God-Man live a human life for three years (see 1 John 1:1-3). And what is remarkable is that the God-Man who had the upper hand in His encounter with Jacob in Genesis 32 was put in a position where He had to occupy the lower hand in His relationship to the Father as He approached the cross.
In order to help us see the Lord Jesus through the window of Genesis 32:22-32, let’s compare and contrast Jacob in Genesis 32:22-32 with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and at Calvary.
In Genesis 32:7, “Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed.” But in Matthew 26:37-38, the God-Man was “troubled” and “very sorrowful, even to death”. What did Jesus, the God-Man, do when great sorrow and the cup of God’s judgment and death itself was pressing against him? Jesus faced the most intense agony that any human being would ever face, for He who was without sin was about to bear the guilt of His people on the altar of God’s justice. He didn’t turn away, but He pressed forward on the path of obedience. And, most importantly, He went directly to His Father through prayer.
In Genesis 32:24, “Jacob was left alone.” And humanly speaking, Jesus was left alone in the garden of Gethsemane. He had gone to Gethsemane with eleven of His disciples. Judas the betrayer had left and would return with a group of hostile men to arrest Jesus. Jesus told eight of His disciples to sit in one place while He found a place to pray. He took Peter, James, and John with him a little further and told them to watch with him – but of course, they fell asleep. The God-Man stood alone before the Father, and He “knelt down and prayed” (Luke 22:41): “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
In Genesis 32, Jacob was unwilling to let go of God until God blessed him. In Gethsemane, Jesus was unwilling to let go of the Father’s will even though it meant suffering God’s curse.
After he wrestled with God, “Jacob lifted up his eyes” (Genesis 33:1) and saw Esau and Esau’s four hundred men – they came in peace, and all was well. After Jesus wrestled with God, a hostile group came against Him – “Judas… and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.” (Matthew 26:47)
Jacob had his hip socket put out of joint. Jesus was put to a shameful death on a Roman cross for the sins of the world. The vulnerability of the God-Man in Genesis 32 pales in comparison to the vulnerability of the God-Man at the cross. But He had prepared for this ultimate distress by first facing His Father and by surrendering Himself completely to the divine will and by trusting His Father to vindicate Him in the resurrection.
Jacob passed by Penuel with a limp. The risen Jesus invited Thomas to see his nail-marked hands and to place his hand in his pierced side. (John 20:27)
Jacob’s hip injury shaped the memory and eating habits of Israel. Jesus’ cross does far more: it defines our very lives, and it also is reflected in our eating habits – for every time we partake of the bread and the cup, we remember that our salvation is found in the broken body and shed blood of our crucified and risen Lord. The Father wounded His Son in order to heal you; God Almighty bruised the God-Man in order to bless you.
Brothers and sisters, fix your eyes on Jesus. For “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” is seen “in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
In Jesus alone, we are able to face the greatest distress of all: our sin, our guilt, our shame, our alienation from the Father, and the just punishment that hangs over us. Through Jesus we have deliverance, forgiveness, and reconciliation with the Father.
In Jesus alone, we are also able to face all of our other distresses: our trials, our weaknesses, our adversaries, our sufferings, our difficult responsibilities. His strong grace is made known and made perfect in the context of our weaknesses. Only trust Him.
Brothers and sisters, face your fears by facing Jesus first. Take hold of Jesus first, then meet the challenge. Hold onto Jesus and receive His blessing, then run to the battle. Respond to the Lord’s overtures of grace that draw you into His presence:
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)