|I’m reflecting today on a couple of passages where an individual who has a calling and destiny from the Lord is required to push past an apparent “No!” from God in the quest to realize that destiny. The stories in focus deal first of all with Jacob in Genesis 32 where a heavenly Man – who Jacob later called “God” – wrestled with him all night. During that wrestling match, Jacob was demanding a blessing to be given, and the angelic Man was resisting, insisting that Jacob let Him go. Finally, Jacob prevailed through simple persistence and refusal to give up. The Man blessed him, and changed his name to “Israel,” one who prevails with God.
The other story concerns the relationship between Elijah and Elisha, found in 1 Kings 19 and in 2 Kings 2. In both those chapters, Elijah resists Elisha as the younger man attempts to press into God’s call on his life. Now, if I’m a young man, and the prophet Elijah tells me to go home and leave him alone, I’m not sure I’d push past his resistance. This is the guy that calls down fire from heaven – three different times! And not only did he call it down – it came! It’s one thing to declare something – it’s another thing to have what you declare actually happen! That sort of thing separates the men prophets from the boy prophets, and Elijah was THE man of God during that season.
Yet, Elisha pushed back against Elijah’s resistance, followed and served the cranky old prophet, and stuck beside him until the moment the Lord carried him away in the chariots of fire. Only then did he receive his calling and destiny, and only then did God uphold his words in the same way that Elijah’s words were upheld.
The New Testament stories that give the same message involve the Canaanite woman with the demonized daughter in Mark 7, and the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18. In both cases, the first answer is “NO,” but that isn’t the real answer. Sometimes when God says “NO” He really means “How badly do you want this promise? Enough to fight for it?”
If what God has promised is worth it to you, you won’t take “NO” for an answer. Instead, you’ll put on your big-boy pants and fight it out with God until He sees that you mean business, that you, too, are part of the Israel inheritance, and that you mean to have His Kingdom manifested in your life and experience here and now.
God’s our good Father. He loves to wrestle with His children, and He loves to have us defeat Him in the wrestling match. Take Him on, and don’t let go until He says “YES!”