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A Greater Blessing

 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.

At Peniel, 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?

Author: Shuhong Lin