A Greater Blessing
So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: ‘For I have seen God face to face, and my life is
preserved.’ (Gen. 32:30)
The life of Jacob is a colorful
one, filled with struggles alongside blessings. We often focus on Jacob’s
cunning—first against his brother Esau for the birthright, and then against his
uncle for possessions. Arriving empty-handed at Laban’s
household a fugitive from a furious Esau, Jacob left a wealthy man with
animals, goods, servants, wives and children. What he acquired was more than he
ever asked for or imagined.
But Jacob was still to discover the
greatest blessing in his life.
Jacob wrestled with God. “I will not let You go unless
You bless me!” (Gen 32:26). Such was Jacob’s determination. What audacity! What
courage! What blessing! It may seem characteristic of him whose name suggests
that he grabs all his life. But, this time was different than before. This
time, he received a greater blessing—to come face to face with God, to wrestle
with God and have God name him personally.
Jacob’s hardship and blessings remind
us to reflect upon what blessings we struggle for today. Often we hear of
thanks given for admission into a particularly renowned school, or for a much
coveted job, or for acquisitions of various types. Earthly or material
blessings have come to dominate the content of our thanksgiving and
intercessions. Because we easily forget what the ultimate blessing is, our
activities are not directed toward pursuing it.
Let us not forget that the Word
became Flesh not for the purpose of material or worldly peace. The Lord Jesus
came as part of God’s salvation plan to save us from eternal condemnation. Let
us not focus only on earthly conquests and miss out on the ultimate blessing
awaiting us at Peniel—to come face to face with God,
and be blessed by Him.
Question for Reflection:
What are some things in your life
that have blinded you from the greatest blessing?