“And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.” (Genesis 32:30-31).
Running from his brother Esau, Jacob left alone, encountered the Lord and wrestled with Him. This was the day Jacob “saw God face to face”. Yet we know no man can see God and survive.
“And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” (Exodus 33:20).
So what could he mean?
It was the day he “saw” God’s plan for him and accepted it; the day he made his ways right before the Lord: the day he got born-again.
All his life he had been controlled by situations and circumstances, and what people thought about him. He lived in the paradise of other people’s imagination, consequently ended up supplanting his brother, deceived his father and cheated his uncle. He was on his way to inherit God’s possession (Canaan) pronounced on him by their father, Isaac. Indirectly, he was going to possess God’s gift by manipulation. Yes, God had him in mind for that land but not through lying and deception. He connived with his mother to lie to his father; certainly God cannot be in a lie, this was not His way! Again, no unclean thing can inherit the possession of God.
“And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called, The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the way-faring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” (Isaiah 35:8).
“Who shall ascend upon the hill of the LORD? and who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” -Psalms 24:3-5.
This was a land that God chose for Himself before the foundation of the world to be His headquarters on earth; a land that rejected and “vomiteth” the inhabitants whose ways were not right with God.
This was the land Jacob, in his carnal, “fleshly” nature was going to inherit?
God does not change; in nature and in principle. Jacob had to be stopped: hence the wrestle with the angel; in which Jacob was brought down “dead” while “Israel” came to life. Jacob did not inherit Canaan, because of his supplanting nature; Israel did!
After this experience with the angel, he became transformed, he became changed, he became a brand new man.
“Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17.
For the first time in his life, he noticed the Sun rise upon him. He had been in the sun before however this was no ordinary sun, but the Sun of righteousness, giving approval of the new man who has come to know the Lord for himself: a man who now has power “of agreement” with God to enter Canaan and possess it. For the first time, he saw himself in a different light.
God had been walking with him like He walks with everybody today; to lead, to guide, to protect and to bless. But we have to mend our ways: to agree with Him.
“Can two walk together, except they are agreed?” – Amos 3:3.
The blessing of God does not come by how much we work; even for the Lord: how much we run around, where we go, who we meet or associate with, or by what methods we employ. No. The blessing of God comes by obedience and agreement with Him.
“If ye are willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:” – Isaiah 1:19.
“Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: by this good shall come to thee.” – Job 22:21.
The word “acquaint” is old English for “agree”. In other words “agree with Him then good shall come.” Good comes only when we are in agreement with Him.
“By this” (Websters)
“By that” (Amplified).
Just this one thing: agreement!
Whatever comes outside agreement with Him, does not stay, yet multiplies sorrow.
Jacob was at the verge of losing everything to Esau (a man of the flesh; a man of the world), thanks to God for His mercy, his life was preserved.
If we have to experience not just success but growth: the increase that establishes success, we MUST AGREE with Him. Only by agreement with Him do we have the Sun of righteousness lead us.
“But to you that fear my name, shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” Malachi 4:2.
“Breaking forth” and “growing up” are things we pursue everyday, but can only get when the Sun of righteousness rises over us, taking the lead and ordering our affairs.
The Sun rising upon Jacob means he agreed to walk with God in total surrender, led by God. Not like before when God walked with Him; no, it was different now: he walked with God!
His conduct and character changed. He began to see things from a new perspective, his mode of dressing changed, his language and speech changed; all reflecting his new found life in God. Even his manner of walk changed! He began to limp: unable to do certain things he did easily in his former way of living, or should we say he felt ashamed of those deeds and could not indulge in them anymore. However way we interpret it, Jacob became a new creature and old things passed away, paving the way for the new – Israel.
The power to live holy comes, when we surrender to the Lord and agree with Him to drive our life. Let us learn from Jacob so that the sweet fragrance of God “shut” in us would find expression.