Genesis 32:31 New King James Version (NKJV)
31 Just as he crossed over [a]Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip.
A difficult night and a glorious morning.
Life certainly has its rhythms. It has its ebbs and highs. But we must be conscious that some of our deepest struggles are just before our greatest triumphs. Like I have often heard it said, the darkest night is just before the break of dawn.
Jacob just left his uncle turn father-in law’s home, after a twenty-year sojourn that was marked with hardship, cheating and difficulties. Imagine him having to negotiate his wages 10 times in those years, working 14 years to purchase his wives and six years to earn a living. No wonder he chose to leave. Then he came to Peniel and came face to face with God. Peniel means Face of God.
At Penuel, he had to face the brutal truth about himself, because he was going to meet his elder brother Esau, who he cheated out of the birth right and stole his blessing; Esau had vowed to kill Jacob after Isaac passed. Hence his flight to Padan Aram to the house of Laban. He had to face God and God faced him. The God who knows him better than he even knows himself. He had to look into the face of God.
Just before he met Esau, he spent a night alone at Peniel. He was met there by God and they wrestled till all night. Now this is a most interesting situation. How can a mere man wrestle with God? But what really happened here was Jacob held on to God and will not let Him go until…
Until he received the assurance that Esau will not kill him. Until he received the blessing of the Lord. Until he got a character transformation. Until he was free of his old nature. Until his name was changed and he got a new identity. Until he obtained mercy and received grace from the face of God.
Just read the exchange and get a glimpse of this epic struggle.
Genesis 32:24-31 New King James Version (NKJV)
24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the [a]breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He [b]touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”
But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
27 So He said to him, “What is your name?”
He said, “Jacob.”
28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but [c]Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.”
And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the name of the place [d]Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
Have you got a major adversary who has promised to deal with you? Are you troubled by a situation that defies all natural remedies? Have you arrived at a place where you know unless your character is changed you will be a big failure in life? Or are you perhaps in the battle of your life at your own Peniel. Do not let God go. Do not let Him rest until He meets you at the point of your need. Remember this may be a dark night, but the morning will break soon. Just don’t let go of God.
New Living Translation
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5
As the day was breaking, God granted Jacob all he needed. He was left with a limp, but he was also a transformed man. He was broken, but he had been fixed right in God’s way.
Now to this incredible phenomenon the bible captures on Jacob as he crossed Penuel.
31 Just as he crossed over [e]Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip.
The sun rose on him. This was God showing that this is a transformed man and now all of creation will work in concert with Jacob now turned Israel to fulfil his destiny. It signaled that Jacob had become a Prince with God and this Prince will always prevail. It signaled a new beginning. It signaled an everlasting favour of God. It revealed that God had just joined himself to this man.
Jacob had a very rough and dark night, but his morning was glorious. He started the night as Jacob, but by day break he was already Israel.
Your dark and troubled night will also pass and day break will come and you will be transformed.
Let’s Pray: Father thank you for your dealings in our life. Help us to learn to surrender in time, so our struggle does not get prolonged. We recognise that coming face to face with you will change us forever positively. So we ask for this encounter with You. We desire Your transformation in our lives. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen.