In this week’s Parashah (Genesis 32:4-36:43) we find two amazing events that demands our attention. To ignore these details would be our loss and we would be amiss to ignore or marginalize its importance. First, after a 20 year stay in Haran, Ya’akov (Jacob) sends words via messenger to his brother ‘Esav (Esau) with the following message,
“I have been living with Lavan and have stayed until now. I have cattle, donkeys and flocks, and male and female servants. I am sending to tell you this news, in order to win your favor” (32:6).
Secondly, at a place (makom) of visitation, Ya’akov wrestled with a “man” until daybreak, and of whom he would not let go until this “man” blessed him and as a result, his name was change from Ya’akov to Isra’el. (32:23-30). It was therefore for this reason that Ya’akov named that location “P’ni-El” meaning, “The Face of God,” for it was there that he saw in this man who no mere man at all, but in fact was a physical manifestation of Adonai.
Like last week in Parashah Vayetze, there was a place of visitation marked by the reality of divine revelation Yet in Genesis 32, what we find is the section point where human responsibility and the presence of God meet! First, with Ya’akov whom God positions first reconcile with his brother ‘Esav (and where Ya’akov is the one required of Adonai to make the first move. Secondly, before and with God (through a theophany) our Patriarch receives a powerful visitation from The Holy, who in that visit, bless him and change his name to Israel and sends him forth to do the will of Adonai!
Sadly, in our culture and even in the Body - many think that God will do everything and all we have to do is just “show up” and be recipients of blessings and divine providence. But this is a lie and in no way reflects the truth! As with Ya’akov, we too must obey and follow the path of healing, righteousness and personal responsibility if we are to receive the full measure of blessings and promise! Yet in the weight of this powerful command, God by His Spirit gives us the strength and ability to fulfill His will and Kingdom purpose, and in it we receive in Messiah, exceedingly, above and beyond what we could ever ask or think! (Ephesians 3:20)
Does God desire to bless us? YES! Does He will that we suffer and go without? NO! But if we love Him we will do what He requires (John 14:15) and walk in the Spirit of Love, Reconciliation and the Power of the Ruach!
Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Mark
19th of Kislev, 5781 | December 5th, 2020
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