"I Have Seen God Face To Face"          

Genesis 32:30


     Jacob called the name of the place where he had met God "Peniel", because, he said, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." This was much more than a mere emotional experience. Jacob had met the living God! The hand of God had touched him. He had personally encountered his Redeemer. God, who might have justly killed him, blessed him with life. Jacob would never be the same. Having met the living God, it would be a small thing now to face Esau! He who has met God and lived has no need to fear anything or anyone! "And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh."

     As Jacob left Penuel, "the sun rose upon him." This was a token of God's favor. "The Sun of righteousness" rises and shines upon all who are blessed of God (Mal. 4:2). With the sun shining upon him, as he walked with God, Jacob might well have been assured that "the path of the just shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

     While Jacob walked with God, he "halted upon his thigh." The sinew of his thigh shrank, but it was not removed. Do you see a parallel in your own experience? Though God, by his almighty grace, subdues our flesh, he does not remove it from us in this world. As long as we live in this body of flesh, we will go halting through this world. Our weakness and infirmities in the flesh force us always to lean upon Christ. God will never allow his children to trust in themselves that they are righteous, or even strong. He graciously forces us to lean upon Christ.

     However, religious men and women who never experience God's grace will always substitute idolatrous superstition and works for the knowledge of Christ and his grace. "The children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank." Gill states that the Jews have an entire chapter in their Mishna forbidding the eating of the sinew which is upon the hollow of the thigh, telling men how to cut it out, and demanding that any who eat a piece,  even the size of an olive, are to be beaten with forty stripes! While carefully remembering Jacob's experience, they missed his God!



Don Fortner