And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. (Genesis 32:24-25)
Jacob wrestled with an angel in this chapter. Some view this as a created angel, one in the presence of God (Isa 63:9). I find it more likely that it was Michael, the archangel, the angel of the covenant, the eternal Word. Michael Daniels has put together a wonderful compilations of quotes regarding the angel Michael and his connection to the Christ. I recommend this to you highly.
What evidence do we have that this is Michael the Arch-Messenger of God? Jacob engages in combat with him, which Hosea later identifies as a wrestling in prayer (Hosea 12:4). Christ, to whom we pray is our intercessor and is seated at the right hand of the Father (Psalm 110:1).
We understand in this passage that our wrestling with God in prayer is a weapon of spiritual combat. We must understand that the trials God set before us – as the trial Jacob faced with Esau – cannot be overcome but by prayer. God sets trial before us, not to destroy us or to make us hardened against him, but to make us fit for circumstances and temptations of this world. As Calvin comments “For as raw recruits are spared, and young oxen are not immediately yoked to the plough; so the Lord more gently exercises his own people, until, having gathered strength, they become more inured to toil.”
God both wrestles against us and for us in prayer and in our trials. He gives us strength fit to overcome it as much as He providentially puts the trial before us.
Do you face the trial with a spirit of bitterness or anger toward God? Does this root of bitterness spring up against others? Repent. Recognize that the Father has given you Christ as your intercessor, and the Spirit to overcome all things. He has made all-sufficient provision in your trials and sufferings and does so to make you fit for the Kingdom. Our sanctification is no easy journey; may we face it head on.