Posted by: springsinthedesert | August 20, 2010

A Place Of Changes

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 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 30:24-30

We are all familiar with the story of Jacob. The meaning of the name Jacob itself is “the one who supplants” or in other words ” to take the place of another through force”. From birth, Jacob lived up to his name. He deceived his brother by taking his birth right and tricked his father in getting his blessings. He had to flee from his brother and family because of his own selfish actions. When he was with Laban, his uncle, he had to work hard under terms and conditions to attain what he desired.All he thought was about enriching his own life and he did everything according to his selfish plans. But in spite of everything, God did bless him, though he did not recognize God hands behind his blessings.

But at the river of Jabbok, he had a great revelation of this God who sought after him. He was scared to death at the thought of facing his brother, Esau, whom he cheated. So he took his family to the other side of the river and he spent the night alone on the other side. There he wrestled with God till day break. That was a turning point in his life. He expressed himself before God. All his fears, selfish attitudes, his motives, everything was exposed before God. Till then, he was proud about everything that he has attained and at that night, for the first time, he looked above and saw the God who blessed him. Oh… what a revelation. It was a place where his name was changed from “Jacob” to “Israel”(meaning…prince of God). So he named that place Peniel.

Do you have the experience of Peniel in your life? A place where you have met God… A place where you confessed who you are and expressed all you are before your creator…. A place where you gave back the control of your life to Him who led you so far…What does Peniel mean to you? Is that the place where you feared about your next step and found out that the God who opened ways in the desert is with you. Peniel is a place of change. At that place, God changed Jacob, from a deceiver to the prince of God. His attitude changed and he approached his problem with great strength and a humble heart and saw the ways God works. He was scared to face Esau and if you read Genesis 33:4, we see “But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him”. All his life, Jacob feared that Esau will kill him and when he gave his fears and anxieties to God and gave Him the control of his life, he saw God’s ways happening around.

What is that bothering you today? Wrestle with God in prayer upholding your problem. Tell Him with Jacob “Lord, I will not let you go unless you bless me”. May be that problem of yours is going to be the place of Peniel for you. God is going to change your identity, your condition and also turn your problems to a blessing. Did you notice that when Jacob passed Peniel, he limped as he was touched by God. He could not walk the way he walked before. May be, at Peniel, you may experience a hurt, a painful exposure of yourself which will remind you God’s touch in your next steps. But remember, that is for your own good. You may not be able to walk the way you walked before, you may have to have a different attitude which is sometimes really painful. But, remind yourself, it is God who touched you in that area. He is the one who is in control and He will lead you in His strength and not yours.

The pain that you are going through right now, is to direct you to the place of Peniel. There you meet God face to face. The name and identity you carried so far is going to change. Trust Him.

God Bless,

Rani John



  1. I loved the part, “you may not be able to walk the way you walked before.” and often for me, I can’t walk the way others think I should. So thank you Rani, for this encouragement for what lies ahead at Peniel. You are in my thoughts and prayers! deb

  2. I loved the way you explained this story. Beautiful devotion Rani!

  3. Rani, Thank you for reminding me of my Peniel. I can clearly see myself in that place telling God to take control because I had done a terrible job of running my life myself. I needed to remember that because I think I have slowly tried to take back control over the past 12 years and it is time to let go again. Peace, Linda

  4. Rani,
    It’s been years (Feels that way ;)) since I visited your blog and coming back today was soooo refreshing as always. Thank you for taking the time and effort to explain the famous ‘wrestle’ and asking that question about Peniel. I do know how those struggles with God goes because I’ve often been there although with a lot of pride and God has to wrestle it out of me. The challenges I face in my life today can certainly do with some wrestling in prayer and I thank you for reminding me of it. Praying for you and your precious family.
    In Christ,

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