Our God is an intimate God and He always has been. People tend to characterize God in the Old Testament as distant and aloof, a rule-giver and judge, but then characterize God in the New Testament as near and intimate, a grace-giver and friend. Then they proclaim that God doesn’t change. This last statement is far closer to the truth than the first two, for God is the same today and forever. He has always been holy (separate) and intimate, giving both rules and grace.
Jacob meets our intimate, holy God in the night, and as he has his whole life, he wrestles with God. Since his birth, Jacob has been wrestling with God, and so God makes this wrestling literal. And in it we find a God who is intimate. He doesn’t have a shoot-out with Jacob, or an argument from two sides of an issue, or even a boxing match. All of these are done at a distance. No, God wrestles Jacob. If you’ve ever wrestled or seen a wrestling match you know that it is one of the most intimate contests we have. And so our intimate, holy God contests intimately with Jacob. And once they are finished, God makes sure Jacob remembers his intimate night wrestling with His intimate God by changing his name to Israel, which literally means, “Wrestles with God”.
This is our spiritual heritage, and so we are of a people who wrestle with God. But do we? When you fight with God (come on, we all do it) do you do so from a distance, with arguments and debates, lobbing reason and study at Him? Or do you wrestle with Him, emotionally, intimately? God loves you so much that even when you are fighting, He still wants to be intimate. Are you brave enough to share that intimacy with Him, too?