Sunday 19 Nov 2017
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John 6:35

Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

 

The Place Called Peniel

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Article Index
The Place Called Peniel
Peniel a place of divine transaction and exchange
The mode of transaction
The details of the transaction
Jacob received his blessing
Final words
All Pages

So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying 'It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared'. - Genesis 32: 30

For those who are familiar with the story of Jacob, the name or the place called Peniel would not sound strange to them at all, I say so because of the event that took place at this place. For the sake of those who not are familiar with the story, let us revisit this place and recapture the event that took place there and why it is worth talking about.

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till day break. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said let me go, for it is daybreak. But Jacob replied I will not let you go unless you bless me. The man asked him What is your name? Jacob 'he answered'.

Then the man said, Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared. (Genesis 32:24-28, 30).

You may be wondering by now what is important about Peniel, even after reading the account of what took place at the place? Well this whole exposition sets out to draw our attention to the importance of this particular event that took place in the life of Jacob as well as how it also relates to us. We need to understand that the stories that we read about in the bible relate to us in many ways, especially if it is in the same God that we believe and worship. If the God we are serving is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, then what took place in the life of Jacob, especially the event at Peniel must surely interest us beyond the cursory attention of just glossing over the passage during the moments of our bible studies.

The reason why I say this is because God is the same yesterday, the same today and same tomorrow, he is the one who does not change and he is an impartial God. His dealings with his creation may evolve, but he still deals with them on the same principle that defines who he is. If Jacob experienced God in the way and manner that he did at Peniel, then somewhere down the course of our fellowship with God, we would also come to our own Peniel someday.

That we would sooner or later come to our own Peniel is not the issue for discussion, but the real issue for discussion is to try to understand why anyone is taken to Peniel in the first place and what to expect if and when they do find themselves there. As a matter of fact, the real issue is to be able to recognise the place for what it is, just like Jacob found out, and ended up calling the place Peniel. This was the place where, he saw God face to face in the midst of the cloud of doom, that had gathered at the prospect of being re-united with his dreaded twin brother Esau.

Jacob could have called the place some other name, especially when one reads the context of the story and factor in the looming danger that made him to embark on some desperate measures in an attempt to save his own life. But after the encounter, he saw a different picture and a different face to what he was initially confronted with; he saw the face of God instead. You see it is possible to get to our own Peniel and fail to recognise it, it is possible to come to our own Peniel and struggle because we do not know what to do and how to handle the encounter we would encounter there. And it is possible to come to our Peniel and still leave empty handed, unlike Jacob who left with a limp, a new name and God's blessing. It is even possible to die in our Peniel by failing to make it out of the place alive or in one piece, unlike Jacob who saw God face to face and still lived to give his testimony.

So what exactly took place at the place called Peniel?


Before we can really understand what took place at Peniel, perhaps we should first of all try to look at what exactly the place called Peniel represents to both God and man. You see, Peniel was the place where divine transaction and exchange took place between Jacob and God, and it would always remain such a place between man and God. Peniel was the place where the will of man was broken and traded for the will, the purpose of God as well as the blessings that are attached to them.

Peniel was the place, where the weaknesses and the frailties that is synonymous with the will of man got exposed, it is the place where the limitations of the will of man got exposed for all to see, and it is the place where the mortality of man finally catches up with him. It is the place where the ignorance of man is exposed and the myth and arrogance that surrounds man is blown away. It is a place where man, stripped of all pretensions, stripped of all the trappings of self importance and ability, comes alone, naked, exposed and desperate before his maker pleading for a transaction and an exchange. This is the transaction to have what is in God's hand in exchange for his (man) battered will that lies on the floor completely, now broken and worthless. Sadly what man has to offer God in exchange at this point is worth nothing to God, yet what man desperately wants from God at this point is priceless and completely out his (man) reach. What man wants in exchange from God, he does not deserve neither can he afford the price, this is one transaction that solely depends on the love, mercy and the grace of God.

So let us revisit the story of Jacob and what happened to him at Peniel as this would help us to fully understand the sort of exchange that took place at Peniel. The full meaning of Jacob's name was The Manipulator or The Deceiver. The man lived up to the full meaning of his name. He did so by manipulating his way into his brother's inheritance (Genesis 27), as well into his Uncle's wealth (Genesis 30) and became stupendously rich and wealthy as a result. The big but was, he also made enemies in the process. The deadliest of them was his own twin brother Esau, the one whose inheritance he usurped. It was on his way back from his sojourn abroad that the fear of confronting the consequences of his past actions dawned on him and the reality of his mortality also became apparent to him. He employed his manipulative skills one more time in the vain hope that it would buy him forgiveness from his brother, but this time, even the manipulator of men could not rely on his own ability to save him, he found himself alone, he was afraid and he was desperate, very desperate.

I want you to note the state of Jacob's mind at this point in time; he was ready to throw away all that he had spent many years acquiring through deception and through his own will power, in order to save his own life. At this point in time his survival meant so much to him than anything else (Genesis 32:1 -22).

One could say by his actions that he was thinking, of what use to him were the riches and wealth if he cannot live to enjoy them? His brother might as well have them. Having done all he knew to survive, there was still no peace within; his restlessness brought him to the trading floor of Peniel.

What happened to Jacob on this trading floor? What form of transaction took place? And what exchange transpired?


He wrestled with God and prevailed?

When it was said that Jacob wrestled with God, many would struggle to understand what was implied, persuading them to accept such a notion remains an uphill task. For how, many would ask, can a man wrestle with and even be said to prevail against God? How does a mere mortal wrestle and prevail against the Almighty God, one may ask? The answer to this I would say, the wrestling implied is in the battle of wills, the will of man proudly or ignorantly pitting itself against the will of God. You see God, who made man in his own image, also gave to him a will, a will that he (God) expects man to freely submit to him in worship and in adoration. But man having tasted the fleeting pleasures of disobedience (which he ignorantly and arrogantly calls freedom) now struggles and finds it hard to bring his will, under submission to the one who made him. Puffed up with the pleasures of disobedience he sets out in defiance and utter disregard for his maker, on a journey to explore life on his own relying on his own will and instincts as opposed to the will and guidance of his Maker whose initial intent remains to be the one to guide and direct manin this quest.

So when it is said that man prevailed, does that mean that man defeated God in this wrestling match? With this question I can see the struggle going on in the mind of the one who posed it. I want you to know that there are two ways that a man can prevail in the battle of will against his maker and none of them would ever leave man claiming victory. I say this because the cost of coming into this supposed victory would sooner or later bring man running back in total surrender.

I will explain these points by re-visiting the scriptures;

a. Man may prevail only, and only because God allows man to have his way. God allowing this because he is faced with the prospect of having to destroy the man he created as an object of his affection in the battle of sovereignty of wills. God being faced with two options (wrath or redemption) as the solution needed to bring to an end man's rebellion, opted for redemption, he did this because of the love that he has for the man he made in his own image (John 3:16).

As a result of his choice, he had to withdraw as an act of mercy, from the battle that pitches his will against that of man, and this is how the scripture puts it.

First we revisit the book of Genesis;

Then the Lord said, 'My spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; and his days will be a hundred and twenty years (Genesis 6:3).

When it is said that God would not contend any longer with man, what exactly was implied here? Well Apostle Paul gave us a clearer picture of what was implied;

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonour their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen (Romans 1:23-25).

As we can see from Paul's letter to the Church in Rome, God left man alone , he gave man the freedom to live as he pleases, he gave them over to their will rather than engage him in the battle of will, which can only have one outcome. So what other option does God have if he had not taken this stance, could he not have taken a different approach? Well he could have if he wanted to, let us go to the scripture again;

God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, 'I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them' (Genesis 6:12 - 13).

In addition to the scripture above, this was also what God said to Moses as a result of the stubbornness of the Israelites, he told Moses he (God) would no longer travel with them and the reason he gave for this we find in the verse below;

.. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way  (Exodus 33: 3b).

What would the outcome of the battle of will between a righteous, holy and just God pitched against the mortal, sinful and helpless mortal be if i may? The answer for anyone who wants to know is that such an encounter would be disastrous for the mortal man. For no man (in his sinful nature) can see God and live. Therefore let no man make the mistake of thinking that Jacob actually prevailed against God, by overpowering the will of God. This is far from the truth. It must be stressed therefore that the consequences of God withdrawing from the battle of will due to his aversion and reluctance to bring mankind to sudden destruction is the reason why there is a place called Peniel. A place where the mortal man sees(encounters) God and lives to tell the story.

b. The second way that a man may be said to have prevailed against God, is when the wretched condition of man forces its way into the heart of a loving and merciful God, who being so full of compassion cannot hide his face and ears any longer from the cries for mercy from the man that he created to bring him pleasure, the creature he loved so much and made in his own image. This is when the love of God expressing itself through mercy and grace reaches out unconditionally and oblivious to the shortcomings of the mortal man. Using the arguments and the pleadings of Moses when God wanted to destroy the Israelites because of their stubbornness (Exodus 32: 9-14). For how could it be said that God would turn his face away from the very people he created and called his own, how can it be said that he turned his face away from the man he made in his own image.

Finally it may be said - 'how could God go against his own will and his eternal plans all because of the disobedience of man? Will he not be true to himself and show compassion, will he not be true and remain committed to his own plans by overlooking the iniquities of his people, by committing judgement to another time or carry it out on a substitute, in order that his own will may prevail eventually. Such is the mystery hidden to mankind the ways through which God allows mankind to have his way because he (God) decides to stay true to himself, by showing mercy to the one who does not deserve mercy.

Nevertheless irrespective of what may be said about the mercy and the faithfulness of God, let no man make the mistake of thinking that he could flagrantly have his way and come crying to God, just because he is the compassionate God and the one whose river of mercy never runs dry. The cost of entertaining such folly is high, very high indeed, once again it is the reason why there is a place called Peniel.

So when it was said that Jacob prevailed against God, which of the two options stated above is implied, I strongly believe that it was the second option (b), the one where God remembered his own promise and his compassion to his servant Jacob. You see not only did the pleas of Jacob for help touch God, but God also remembered the promises he made to Abraham, to Isaac and he also remembered his own commitment to the man Jacob, a commitment that Apostle Paul helps us to see clearly here;

And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, 'The older shall serve the younger. As it is written, 'Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.'' (Romans 9: 10-13).

Moses while speaking to the Israelites when they got to the promise land reminded them why God had overlooked their transgressions and had chosen instead to favour them, he said;

It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of the land, but on the account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Deuteronomy 9:5).

We can see from these passages that the use of the expression ‘Jacob prevailed against God’ actually carried more weight and reveals more than what was literarily conveyed across in the passage that we read earlier. While it is true that Jacob wrestled with God at the place called Peniel, but in this particular struggle his will was already broken, instead this was a wrestling match that was meant to have God accept what was left of his will in exchange for the will of God. With nothing left to offer God, he prevailed on the mercy of God, he prevailed against God by holding on to God, reminding God of his promises to his fathers Abraham, Isaac and he prevailed against God by reminding God of his eternal plan into which his life that was now at stake remains closely and irrevocably tied.

The question may then arise, what then does the scripture imply when it said that Jacob prevailed against men? Good question, you see while it is possible for man to prevail against one another in the battle of wills in a way and manner that we can easily relate to, the victory so implied is different when the same term is used with reference to God. It's a very true that Jacob was able to manipulate his way into his brothers inheritance, it is equally true that he was able to dig deep into his bags of tricks and outwit his wily Uncle called Laban in the battle of wills, to emerge from servitude to him with great riches and wealth. This was simply the will of man pitched against the will of another, none of which have an eternal structure upon which eternal victory can be guaranteed. The very same Jacob who prevailed against his brother by usurping his inheritance, now stands in dread of his brother, he was now willing to hand over everything back to his brother. Such it must be recorded is the inconsistency that plagues the battle of wills between one man and another. We should therefore be able to see that the victory implied in the battle of wills here differs, even as we restrict ourselves to the battle of will between man and his maker.

 


He knew that God had what he wanted.

Peniel was the place where Jacob realised for the first time that his riches and wealth could never replace what God had to offer him. It was there that he realised that his life was not complete despite all the riches without the will of God fully established in his life. It was at Peniel that he realised that despite all of his riches there still remain something which only God can give, something that was so important for which he needed to survive the impending doom. It was at Peniel that he was willing to trade everything he had, just to be with God and to receive whatever God had to give to him. For in his desperation he held on to God having discarded all he had toiled to own, saying in the process I will not let you go until you have blessed me.

What blessing it may be asked, would a man with so many riches and wealth be looking for again? Well it must be said there are things that money and wealth can never buy, while these riches may attempt to buy shadows and copies of these things, the riches and wealth of man, can never buy the original and it is only a matter of time before those counterfeits would be revealed for what they truly are.

It was at Peniel that Jacob found this out, confronted with the impending doom, Jacob realised his wealth was not enough to ward it off, he realised his wealth was not enough to expiate the wrath of Esau his brother; it was at Peniel that he realised he needed something more, something none of his manipulative skill would ever get him, something that was way beyond the reach of his power of manipulation of events around him. It was at Peniel that he realised that although he had stolen his brother's inheritance, only God can truly give the blessing (empowerment) that was needed to preserve the inheritance.

It was at Peniel that Jacob realised that he was yet to come into the blessings of God, what he had hitherto thought were God's blessings had been from his human endeavour, they had been more of the physical blessings as opposed to the spiritual blessing of carrying the promise that God made to his fathers Abraham and Isaac. What promise? This is the promise that Through your seed the whole world will become blessed. The promise of being the lineage through which, salvation would come to man.

Confronted with this rude awakening, Jacob reached out to have a transaction with God, but what does he have to offer in exchange? Nothing, absolutely nothing, he had given up everything hoping they would quench the wrath of Esau. Everything he had worked for, everything he had manipulated his way into, he had by now willingly given up and he was now all alone before God, desperately holding on to Him, while praying for the empowerment that comes from the hands of God. We must not allow this act to be lost on us, because what we see here is a man who had now surrendered his will. How you may ask? Well the picture of Jacob we see here is that of a man who had relinquished everything he possessed by this time. By the time he parted with his family and wealth, he had only a very slim hope of ever meeting up with them again, it can even be said that he gave everything up in order to save his own life. How did the Jesus help us to capture this scenario again, he said  'What does it profit a man to gain the possession of the world and lose his life'. This message it may be said must have motivated Jacob in his decision making, likewise it may be said that in his quest to save his own life, brought him to the point where he relinquished his will in exchange for that which is the will of God.

We too must learn from this, there are so many who are the shoes of Jacob, they are clinging onto the physical blessings believing it to be the same as the spiritual blessings promised. Many have mistaken the blessing of provision for the for the spiritual prize of the upward call promised by God, as a result they spent their entire life and their faith walk pursuing provisions instead of striving for the prize. For some it was only on their death bed that they realise that they do not have any assurance that they have the promised spiritual blessing of eternal life made by the Father through Jesus. The fear of death and what lies beyond remains a sure manifestation of this.

God broke his will

What was the significance of the Jacob's hip being taken out of place? The significance of this exercise represents the will of Jacob being broken forever. But I thought you said that it was through the second option that God was able to come to Jacob's aid, as opposed to overcoming the will of Jacob. Yes it is true, but Jacob having prevailed upon the mercy on God, submitted his battered and worthless will at the feet of God. God took it and broke it to pieces by what he did to Jacob next; God rightly had to do that.

You see the danger of Jacob going back to his old ways remain and the need to always remind Jacob about his frailties arose as a result. There is always a mark that we would carry on our body when we come to Peniel with such worthless commodity as a shattered and worthless will, while hoping to do an exchange for the glorious and priceless will of God. This price is always a reminder of how we came so short of being able to pay for what we hope to take away from Peniel and a reminder of what we were saved from as a result of the folly of trusting in our will. It will also serve to remind us of what we nearly lost as a result of trusting in our will instead of the will of God.

Up till now, I have been calling the will of Jacob worthless and you may be wondering rightly so, is our will always worthless? Far from it, our will prior to being battered and broken has a very high value before God. It only becomes worthless after it has become messed up and trampled upon by the way we have ignorantly and arrogantly gone about putting it to use in defiance to God.

You see when we submit our will with its worth and value intact at God's feet in exchange for God's will, He appreciates such a sacrifice and you will see why. You see, God gave us something very beautiful by giving us a mind that is capable of exercising the power of will. The beauty of our will is cherished by God when we submit it to him, this is where pure worship comes from and this is where pure adoration of God by the man He created, comes from. Yielding our will to God without coercion, without being forced, God places a high value upon the will of man that is submitted to him in this way and manner, the tag placed upon the will of man in eyes of God can only be comprehended when we look the bible verse below;

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11).

Hence the reason why the bible enjoined us to have the same mind as that of Christ who submitted his will to that of his God his Father and in exchange he obtained a glorious reward from God

When a man exchanges his will in its unadulterated and unblemished state for the will of God, such a man would not leave with a limp in his body like Jacob did, instead like Jesus such a man would be exalted high above every circumstances in life that may come his way. Let me add at this point, whatever it might have cost such a man to give up his will for God, would not leave any scar on the man. I say so because instead of God leaving a mark on his body, he would clean and wipe away the marks and the scars brought about as a result of the sacrifice. God will remove everything, if there are any found on such a man, replacing it with his crown of glory.

There is always a price to pay whenever we have to get to the place called Peniel before we decide to exchange our mortal will for that of the sovereign God.

A friend of mine who works as a radiologist in the local hospital, narrated the ordeal of a man who came in for an x-ray on his body in order to help determine the status of the malignant cancer that appeared to be spreading all over his body. What caught the attention of my friend was the rambling of this man, the man was pleading for forgiveness from God, and the man was asking for a second chance with God, the man at this point in time was willing to trade whatever was left of his will for that of God. I have no doubt in my mind that God can and may answer him, but the point I am trying to make here is that, this man need not get to this place where the will he is trying to trade in for that of God, has become completely worthless, nevertheless God is rich in mercy and he remains indeed a God of second chance.

God exchanged His own will for that of Jacob.

In blessing Jacob, it must be noted and going by spiritual protocol, the greater blesses the lesser (Hebrews 7:7). It must be established here that only the one who is greater can bless. Greater in what sense, well greater in the sense of what the lesser needs which only the greater is in the position to give. What made one greater is the fact that one possesses what the other does not have, this makes the other person lesser.

Staying on the side of this protocol therefore, one of the conditions for coming into this blessing is that; the lesser is required to submit his will to that of the greater, without which the power to bless is of no effect. It was at Peniel therefore that this exchange took place. It was at Peniel that Jacob did away with his will that was fully expressed in his manipulative ways, it was at Peniel that he submitted it all at the feet of the Lord and pleaded in exchange for the will of God.

Jacob was not, the only one who had this experience. Saul on his way to Damascus got to his own Peniel along the way, and there he too exchanged, his will (persecution of believers) for that of Christ (conversion of non-believers).

The exchange of will is a pre-requisite that must come before any blessing can be received. It is not possible to receive blessing from the one who is greater without submitting and accepting the terms of those blessings. The terms of those blessings are contained in the revealed will of the one who blesses.

So what were the hallmarks of this transaction and exchange of will? What symbolic gesture accompanied this act? To do this God had to change the identity of Jacob, he had to change everything that Jacob ever represented and stood for. The old Jacob had to go away and a new man had to emerge. So God gave Jacob a new name and a new identity, he called him Israel, a name that bears the identity that was in line with the will and the plan of God for his people and for the whole world. I want you to know that God's will is irretrievably tied to the identity he gives to us. As a matter of fact, our true identity is found in his will for us, we cannot walk in God's will with an identity that came out of the rebellious exercise of our own will, the same identity we had back when we refused to yield our will to him.

When Jacob left Peniel he left with a new identity. Saul of Damascus also left his Peniel with a new identity he came into his Peniel known as Saul and an identity he was later to become ashamed of, but he left with a new name and identity of Paul. I want you to know therefore that everyone who comes into their own Peniel would be leaving with a new identity. What becomes of the old identity, well it would be discarded, it is declared dead and as such is buried, it must never be allowed to live nor rise again. The mark Jacob bore on his body served as a reminder and a testimony to this fact.


God pronounced his blessings upon Jacob.

Perhaps it needs be stressed that the most important thing that happened in Peniel was not the blessing that took place there. Do not be taken aback because I say this until you have heard me out. You see God had always wanted to bless the man that he created; as a matter of fact without his blessing man can do nothing. God is a giving God, giving is in his nature, he created the world for man to inhabit and he gave everything in it to man. Without the blessing of God, man would struggle without much success in life and God is very much aware of this, he was not prompted before pronouncing his blessings upon Adam. Why do I harp on this? Well I want to make this point very clear so that those who make their way into Peniel would not do so with their focus solely on the blessing that is placed on the table. If they do this they would miss the very lesson for the encounter that took place there and they would in turn fail to obtain the blessing as a result. The most important event that took place at Peniel was not the blessing that Jacob obtained; rather the real event that took place at Peniel was the exchange of wills, the brokenness of man when confronted with his limitations. The greatest event that took place in Peniel, was the submission of Jacob's will, it was the exchanged of his will for that of God.

You see contained in the will of God is every blessing that a man would ever need to walk and work effectively in that will. Contained in the will of God is every blessing that man would need to walk in the glory of God's light, so it can be safely be said that, to walk in the will of God is to invoke or automatically activate the blessings of God upon ourselves.

Speaking to Prophet Isaiah, God told to him concerning the Israelites;

If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the Land (Isaiah 1:10).

It must be said that although Jacob came to Peniel seeking to be blessed of God, but God first had to walk him through the process that would make these blessings available to any man. The process that brings the will of man in submission under the sovereign will of the ruler of the universe, the LORD who is God Almighty. The man Jacob struggled to let go of his own will, it meant everything to him, it was all he had ever known and up till that point it had served him very well.

But when Jacob accepted the will of God by accepting the name Israel the road became clear for him to receive what he was looking for, the blessing that was pronounced upon him became immediately active, it was instantly activated. I would therefore want you, to note the relationship between the will of God and the blessing that was activated, especially from the way and manner that Moses put it to the descendants of Israel;

Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God:(Deuteronomy 28:1-2).

It must be noted that the blessing which we seek from God is closely tied to his will, they are inseparable and it is only when the will of God becomes enthroned in our respective lives that we can then come into God's blessings.

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised (Hebrews10:36).

There is no circumventing this protocol. Where is grace in this you may ask? You might even accuse me of promoting works over grace. Far from it, in fact it would still take the grace of God working in and upon us before anyone of us can willingly submit to the will of God. Listen it is God himself, who enables anyone of us to do according to his good will. This is what the scripture informs (Philippians 2:13).

for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

His grace does not only reveal his will to us, but also through the enablement of his spirit that dwells richly within, God himself is the one who makes it possible for us to yield and submit our own will to him. But it must be said that just as it was clearly stated by Moses so that we might understand how living in submission to the will of God invokes the blessings of God, so also it must not be lost on us that the very lesson and the reasons why we would also be brought to the place called Peniel, is to give us the opportunity to trade in our battered will as well, just like Jacob did in exchange for the will of God.


Final words

In conclusion therefore, Peniel is a place of hope; it is a place where we get another chance to get it right and to make amends for all the mistakes of the past. Peniel is not a place where people come to die, if it was it would not have been called Peniel. Rather it remains a place where we would get to meet with God in order to experience the transforming power that is available in his presence and get to live with the experience for the rest of our lives.

You may be wondering right now, but where is my Peniel? Well we do have a place called Peniel, it is located at the foot of the cross of Jesus, you see it has been debated if the man Jacob wrestled with was Jesus or an Angel of God, but what we know for sure is this, whoever it was that Jacob wrestled with, that person did it on God's behalf, for Peniel was called a place where man saw God face to face and lived to tell the story. We do have our own Peniel in this life and as we navigate through it. It is a matter of time when like Jacob the place called Peniel would confront us and Jesus will be waiting for us there, he would be waiting with an offer to trade in our will for God's will. Why Jesus? Well he is the one just as the scripture rightly pointed to us, the mediator between man and God, he is our High Priest and he is the only one through which Salvation was given to man.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

He is the one you are wrestling with, just like Jacob wrestled with the man at Peniel. He is the one that God has appointed that you and I submit our will under, while accepting in exchange his Lordship over our lives and it is through him that God's promised blessings are activated, God the Father having appointed and anointed him for that ministry and office.

So, what will you do when you get there? Are you coming there to wrestle with God holding unto your will while hoping to touch the blessing without dropping yours at his feet first? Do you think you can get what is in God's hand that you so desperately need without giving up what is in your hand?

Just in case you are there right now and the battle seems to be going on forever, why do you think this is so? Jacob need not have wrestled all night, but he did because he did not want to yield his will. You do not need to battle all night, all day and all of your life either, I say so because you have the benefit of knowing what God wants from you. What does he want from me you may ask?

All he wants from you is that you surrender your will to him so that through his will for your life he can lavish his affections upon you. Everything you want from God, everything you want him to do for you, they are all in his will for you, so why not stop the struggle and like Jacob hold onto God while saying, 'Lord I will not let you go until you bless me'. He wants to bless you and he will as soon as the transaction of wills goes through by submitting your will in exchange for his.

Home Expositions The Place Called Peniel The Place Called Peniel
Psalm 1:1-2
“[BOOK I Psalms 1?41] Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.”

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