Peniel

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Genesis 32:22-32

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 4:6)

Jacob is on his way back to the Promised Land to face his brother Esau. The night before he meets Esau, at the ford of the Jabbok River, he wrestles with a “man” who is a visible representation of God.

There is something frightening about this event, because as God later said to Moses, “You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” (Exod. 33:20). No wonder Jacob honors that ford at the Jabbok by naming it Peniel, “saying, ‘For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered’” (Gen. 32:30).

God’s face is indeed too glorious for us to gaze upon, and it is amazing that Jacob survived. His survival is prophetic of a plan God made to enable all of us to see his face in a way that will not destroy but deliver us—when we look at the tender, loving face of Jesus Christ. In his face we see the glory of God revealed in human flesh. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). “Grace and truth”; now, I like that!

PRAYER

Thank you, Jesus, for revealing the face of God, full of grace and truth. Amen.