FROM JACOB TO ISRAEL: THE PENIEL EXPERIENCE

BIBLE READING: GENESIS 40; ROMANS 8:18-28

“And Jacob was left alone, and a Man wrestled with him until daybreak. And when [the Man] saw that He did not prevail against [Jacob], He touched the hollow of his thigh; and Jacob’s thigh was put out of joint as he wrestled with Him. Then He said, Let Me go, for day is breaking. But [Jacob] said, I will not let You go unless You declare a blessing upon me. [The Man] asked him, What is your name? And [in shock of realization, whispering] he said, Jacob [supplanter, schemer, trickster, swindler]! And He said, Your name shall be called no more Jacob [supplanter], but Israel [contender with God]; for you have contended and have power with God and with men and have prevailed. Then Jacob asked Him, Tell me, I pray You, what [in contrast] is Your name? But He said, Why is it that you ask My name? And [the Angel of God declared] a blessing on [Jacob] there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel [the face of God], saying, For I have seen God face to face, and my life is spared and not snatched away. Genesis 32: 24-30(AMP)

In the study of Jacob’s Peniel Experience, Jacob was never the same after this Divine Encounter. His name was changed from Jacob (Supplanter) to Israel (A Prince that has power with God and with men and Prevailed).

Peniel, translated from the Hebrew language, literally means “The Face of God”. In this Peniel Experience,
Jacob’s natural strength was dealt with and he realized his weaknesses and inadequacies. What he used to be boastful of became a thing of shame to him. Before now he used to think of himself as more important than others. He used to take undue advantage of people’s weaknesses with his strength and grace. But after the Man touched the socket of his hip and dislocated it, the way he walked and portrayed himself changed: pride, cheating, lying, self-centredness and the flair for worldly things and pleasure disappeared. The wealthiest and most peaceful period of Jacob’s life was at his old age in Goshen.

Joseph’s Peniel Experience was in the prison. He too had no respect for his seniors and often used his father’s favoritism to take undue advantage to exercise control over his senior brothers. Both Jacob and Joseph became so humbled just because they were children of purpose and they had to be conformed to purpose by the process of Divine Discipline. All they went through was not to kill them but to change and pattern them for purpose. (see Romans 8:18, 28, 35-39).

For the Word of God to Abraham according to Genesis 17:6 to be fulfilled, Jacob’s natural life had to be dealt with. And for His Word in Genesis 15:13 to be fulfilled, Joseph had to be humbled through the prison life. Many of us are children of destiny but lack the humility to attain the height of destiny and so we need to be disciplined to suit the purpose for which we were created.

In this Peniel Experience, i.e., “The Transforming Process”, God touches us with His Spirit of Light, (see Psalm119:130; John 6:63). The closer we are to His Glory, the more we see our filthiness, weaknesses and inadequacies and the more we cease to see our strength. The prayer of Isaac for Jacob in Genesis 27:28 was fulfilled in Genesis 45:18.

God will not change His Plan, Purpose and Agenda but would rather change a person. Money can fail, (see Genesis 47:15), but Purpose sustains. Whoever runs after money, evidently, has not yet discovered purpose. When you find purpose, people and resources will seek you.

PRAYER:
Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23- 24 (AMP)

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