I will not let You go unless You bless me! Genesis 32:26.
There is need of earnest work, that we may have strength from God to resist the enemy when he shall come in like a flood. We must agonize in order to subdue self; for self-ease and self-indulgence are the most deceptive of sins, stupefying the conscience and blinding the understanding…. We need the earnest desire of the importunate widow and the Syrophenician woman—a determination that will not be repulsed.
Many, very many, are making a fatal mistake by failing to heed this lesson of God’s providence. Peace and rest can be secured only by conflict. The powers of light and darkness are in array, and we must individually take a part in the struggle. Jacob wrestled all night with God before he gained the victory. As he pleaded with God in prayer, he felt a strong hand laid upon him, and thinking it to be the hand of an enemy, he put forth all his strength to resist Him. He wrestled for hours, but gained nothing over his Opponent, and he dared not relax his efforts for one moment, lest he should be overcome and lose his life…. Then the Stranger brought the conflict to a close. He touched the thigh of Jacob, and the wrestler’s strength was paralyzed. It was not until then that Jacob learned who his Opponent really was, and, falling crippled and weeping on His neck, he pleaded for his life.
The Angel could easily have released Himself from the grasp of Jacob, but He did not do this. “Let me go,” He pleaded, “for the day breaketh.” But the answer came from the suffering but determined Jacob, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” The suppliant’s tears and prayers gained for him what he struggled in vain to obtain. “What is thy name?” the Angel asked. “And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed…. And he blessed him there.” …
Resolution, self-denial, and consecrated effort are required for the work of preparation…. Only by earnest, determined effort and faith in the merits of Christ can we overcome and gain the kingdom of heaven. Our time for work is short. Christ is soon to come the second time.—Youth’s Instructor, May 24, 1900.