I will not let you go unless you bless me—Genesis 32:26
What comes to mind when you think of wrestling? You probably picture muscular athletes grappling and straining in a gymnasium or stadium. The Bible presents a different image of wrestling—one that takes even more strength and courage.
The name Habakkuk means “One Who Wrestles.” We don’t know what Habakkuk’s parents were thinking when they bestowed this name on their child, but as it turns out, their choice turned out appropriately. An Old Testament prophet, Habakkuk, wrestled over unanswered prayer and injustice. He looked at his violent world situation and was not sure he trusted God’s plan.
Habakkuk’s struggle with God echoes that of Jacob, who once wrestled with God all night. Wrestling was also a fitting image for Jacob’s life. He struggled through difficult relationships with his brother and father-in-law. His wives and his sons were often in conflict with each other. He grieved the loss of his favorite child and led his family through a famine. Yet it was through this man that God brought forth the twelve tribes of Israel.
So again, what comes to mind when you think of a wrestler? A prophet? A patriarch?
Do you think of yourself? Perhaps you never watch American Gladiator or promote World Wrestling Entertainment. It could be, though, that you are staring across the ring at some of the same challenges biblical characters knew well. Doubt, confusion, guilt, unanswered prayer—all strong opponents in daily life.
In this study of Habakkuk, you are invited to wrestle honestly with your questions about God and spiritual life. The hope is that when you are finished with the study you will say with one of the biblical wrestlers, “I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered” (Genesis 32:30).
Making It Personal
Wrestlers in the Bible faced many of the same problems we face today:
-conflict in marriage -disobedient children
-unanswered prayer -a volatile world situation
-estranged siblings -doubt about God’s plan
-frustration with God’s people -hunger and scarcity
Circle any of the problems above that are part of your life. Add any other issues you are wrestling with:
Taking It Home
Honestly wrestling with God over events that don’t seem to make sense may bring you closer to Him than you have ever been before.