Disciple Up #157
Wrestling with God, Sin & Self
By Louie Marsh, 4-29-2020
Thoughts on Perspective & Other People’s Struggles
Wrestling Against Sin & Satan:
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” Hebrews 12:3-6 (ESV)
Resisted (antikatestēte). Second aorist active indicative (intransitive) of the double compound antikathistēmi, old verb to stand in opposition against in line of battle, intransitively to stand face to face (anti) against (kata), here only in the N.T.
Unto blood (mechris haimatos). “Up to blood.” As was true of Jesus and many of the other heroes of faith in chapter Hebrews 11.
Striving (antagōnizomenoi). Present middle participle of antagōnizomai, old verb with the same figure in antikatestēte.
Against sin (pros hamartian). Face to face with sin as in Hebrews 12:1.
- Word Pictures in the New Testament.
Wrestling – Greco-Roman Wrestling
Greek wrestling (Greek: πάλη, translit. pálē), also known as Ancient Greek wrestling and Palé, was the most popular organized sport in Ancient Greece. A point was scored when one player touched the ground with his back, hip or shoulder, or conceding defeat due to a submission-hold or was forced out of the wrestling-area. Three points had to be scored to win the match.
One particularly important position in this form of wrestling was one where one of the contestants was lying on his abdomen with the other on his back trying to strangle him (back mount). The athlete on the bottom would try to grasp an arm of the one on top and turn him over onto his back while the athlete on top would try to complete the choke without being rolled.
Wrestling was the first competition to be added to the Olympic Games that was not a footrace. It was added in 708 B.C. The competitions were held in elimination-tournament style until one wrestler was crowned the victor. The wrestling area was one square plethron or stremma. This event was also part of the pentathlon. Wrestling was regarded as the best expression of strength out of all of the competitions and was represented in Greek mythology by Heracles
These are the rules of the ancient sport Palé
- No intentional hitting or kicking is permitted
- No gouging the eyes or biting is permitted
- It is at the discretion of the referee whether or not twisting the fingers with the intention of forcing the opponent to concede defeat is permitted
- Grasping the genitals is prohibited
- All other holds intended to persuade the opponent to concede defeat through pain or fear are permitted and are an integral part of the contest
- Infractions shall be punished by immediate whipping by the referee until the undesirable behavior is stopped
- Three points must be scored to win the match
- A point can be scored in any of three ways:
- the opponent’s back touching the ground at any time
- by the opponent tapping or in some other way making clear that he concedes defeat through pain or fear
- by the opponent making contact with ground outside the allocated wrestling-match ground with any part of his body, or by being lifted and carried out
- After scoring a point, the opponent must be given time to rise on his feet and a few moments more before the wrestling may continue
- The match is both started and ended at the signal of the referee
Wrestling Against God (Self):
22 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Genesis 32:22-25 (ESV)
26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” Genesis 32:26-30 (ESV)
31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh. Genesis 32:31-32 (ESV)
The Hebrew verb is translated “to wrestle.” There are no Semitic cognates of this verb to assist in translating, but the cognate of “dust” (HED #75) indicates it is something done on the ground
Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary – Aleph-Beth.
Wrestling For God:
28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. Colossians 1:28-29 (ESV)
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. Colossians 4:12 (ESV)
17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 1 Timothy 5:17 (ESV)
12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 1 Thessalonians 5:12 (ESV)
9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 1 Thessalonians 2:9 (ESV)
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