Tag Archives: clinging to God

Get Behind Me

Once as I was reading Matthew 16 aloud, my daughter advised me that verse 23 was her new favorite verse. In this verse, we read, “Get behind me, Satan,” which she thought would be a great thing to say to Satan to tell him to back off. There was a brief pause after she spoke, and then I advised her that Jesus was not even talking to Satan; he was talking to Peter. She was amazed. Why was Peter called Satan?

Yes, Jesus spoke like this to Satan as well. When we look at Matthew 4, we read of Jesus’ time in the Wilderness. After the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit led Him into the Wilderness. Satan tempted Him in three different ways, each way resulting in a response with God’s Word. Satan tempted Him with power, prestige, possessions, and pleasure – the same temptations we face. When He was tempted to bow down and worship Satan, He responded, “Be gone, Satan,” which sounds a lot like, “Get behind me, Satan.”

The reason Peter heard these harsh words, “get behind me, Satan,” was because he was speaking about going against God’s Divine plan. Jesus had just spoken about what was to come—His death—and Peter was against this plan. When Peter heard what Jesus said, his response was “far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (v. 22 ESV). He couldn’t understand what needed to be done, and when he rejected God’s plan, he became a stumbling block.

When I read today’s verse, I consider Jesus speaking this to you and I as we reject the plans of God. Are there moments when we become a stumbling block? Are there moments when Jesus is saying to us, “Get behind me, Satan,” because we are not walking the course set before us? Let us continue to dig deeper into His Word, to walk closely with Jesus, constant in prayer, so that we can keep our steps aligned on the path of God’s plan, and by doing so, may we never be a stumbling block to God’s plan.

“But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.’” – Matthew 16:23 [ESV]

“Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”” – Matthew 4:10 [ESV]

Wrestling God

When many people read Genesis 32, they may wonder why someone would wrestle with God. This is God, the God of the universe, the Creator of everything. He is the all-powerful, all-knowing, the great I AM. It seems crazy to even imagine thinking you could stand a chance wrestling with God. Yet, we all wrestle with God.

Each one of us is separated from God because of sin. He is holy and He will have no part of sin. The truth is sin is anything that goes against God. But as we wrestle with God just as Jacob did since birth, something happens. Jacob started out as a deceiver, a liar—some would even say a cheat. As Jacob was following his own way, God still was reaching out. The wrestling was always there as it is with us—God always reaching out to bring us back to Him, and us always pulling away following our own way.

In the passage we know as Jacob wrestling with God, the wrestling match has changed. This wrestling was very different from the past. Jacob was alone with God, just as we are alone with Him so often as we approach during quiet time in prayer. He fought with God in a different way. He clung to God. He desired God.

We read that God touches Jacob’s hip socket. With one touch, his hip is out of joint; this is something no man could do and it demonstrates the power of God. The fact is God could have done more to Jacob than cause a hip to pop out, but God does not wish to overpower us. This is a reminder that we cannot prevail by our own power. However, He wants simply for us to desire Him, not by force but freely. Jacob’s response shows his desire. He stated, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (v. 26). Basically, I am going to cling to You. I am not letting You go. You can do whatever You want with me. I am sticking with You.

God won’t try to overcome you with power. He could but then that wouldn’t be a relationship; it would be a dictatorship. All the gods of this world attempt to overcome with force. Our God spreads His arms open wide, humbles Himself and dies so that we can live. And when we wrestle with Him, when we declare that we will not let go of Him, He embraces us right back.

This does not just end with Jacob winning a match. God gives Jacob a new name. No longer will he be a deceiver; for he has wrestled with God and prevailed. This means he clung to God, he hung on with everything. Renamed Israel, this man asked God to tell him His name. Why? That’s what Jacob was asked. We don’t read of a response from Jacob because it wasn’t necessary. Jacob wanted not to know another name for God, but to have a deeper revelation, a greater understanding of Who God is. He was given that from that day and onward. As we continue to cling to Him, He continues to reveal Himself to us daily. He is too great and too glorious for us to understand. But we know that the glory of God, the beauty of Christ, is the Light of the gospel—the rest will have to wait (2 Corinthians 4).

I pray that you will evaluate where you are at with your wrestling match with God. Have you been running around the wrestling ring taking jabs? Have you been avoiding situations and blocking the right hooks? Or have you embraced Him, have you clung Him tightly and proclaimed, “I will not let You go” my Lord? I will not let You go. I will not let You go.