Sincerity, trustworthiness and honesty among people create peace of mind and promote relationships of trust. These values form the foundation of a sustainable, peaceful and harmonious society, and constitute the basis for a nation’s survival.
The Chinese character 真 (zhēn), also written as 眞 (zhēn), stands for truth, genuineness, and reality, and being authentic, right, accurate, or correct. It also refers to the qualities of being pure, honest, sincere, or divine. According to the first comprehensive Chinese etymological dictionary, ‘Shuo Wen Jie Zi’, (說文解字), 眞 depicts an immortal transforming and ascending to heaven. This meaning can be seen from the character’s components. The L-shaped radical at the top refers to transformation or change. 目 (mù) in the middle is the character for “eye”.
The L-shaped radical 乚 around the eye means to hide, to be unseen, or even to disappear. And 八 at the bottom refers to a vehicle of transportation, indicating the means by which the immortal ascends to heaven. It is said that cultivators seeking to achieve the Tao, or the Buddhist concept of enlightenment, strives to返本歸真 (fǎn běn guī zhēn), meaning to return to his or her original true self. A cultivator seeks to ultimately become a ‘true person’ or 真人 (zhēn rén), through cultivation. It requires one to speak the truth, behave truthfully, and be a truthful person.
Some people casually agree to other people’s requests without thinking things through. Later, they actually aren’t able to do it and even forget about it. How can these people be trustworthy? Therefore, when we make promises, we must give careful consideration and only do what we truly can. When we promise something to others, we should do what we say. A promise is priceless. Confucius also repeatedly spoke about the issue of sincerity and trustworthiness. He said, “For those without trustworthiness, it is not known how they can survive.” Confucius said, “When we are with our friends, we must keep our word.”
People and nations need to be sincere and trustworthy. Otherwise, they will have no future. If a ruler doesn’t care about being sincere and trustworthy, he or she will lose people’s trust and support. In other words, without trustworthiness, a person or a nation would not be able to survive.
The third eye refers to the gate that leads to the inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. In spirituality, the third eye often symbolizes a state of enlightenment.
How Did Jacob End Up Wrestling God?
Before we can really understand the significance of Jacob’s wrestling match, we should review his life up to that point. Jacob was the son of Isaac and Rebekah, and the grandson of Abraham, whom God promised to make a father of many nations. Jacob had a twin brother, Esau, who was the first-born, but Jacob grabbed him by the heel during their birth. The name Jacob means “the Supplanter” or “to grab another’s heel.” Literally speaking, it means to take what belongs to someone else. God even told Rebekah that her older son would serve the younger. When Jacob and Esau were grown, Jacob tricked his brother out of his birthright with a meal. Later, Rebekah conspired with Jacob to trick Isaac and steal Esau’s blessing. This resulted in Esau wanting to kill his younger brother, so Jacob fled. On his journey to his mother’s homeland, he had a vision of angels and a ladder to heaven. When Jacob reaches Haran, he meets his match in his uncle Laban. Though Jacob is in love with Laban’s younger daughter, Rachel, he is tricked into marrying her older sister, Leah. Jacob persists, however, and is finally able to marry the object of his affections. Jacob worked many years for Laban. Because of God’s protection and Jacob’s intelligence, Jacob was able to take much of Laban’s herd for himself. Finally, God directs Jacob to return to the land of his father. The problem with that is it means Jacob will have to face Esau. Will his brother’s rage still burn after all of these years? As he approaches home, Jacob sends messengers to Esau. They return to tell him that Esau is approaching them with 400 men. Things don’t look good for Jacob. He strategically divides his people and possessions and sends them across the Jabbok river. He stays behind and prays. It is then that he encounters a man whom he wrestles with through the night. The man injures Jacob’s hip, but still, Jacob will not let go until the man blesses him. Jacob knew that he wasn’t wrestling a man, but God himself, and refused to let go until He blessed him. Jacob names the place where the wrestling match happened “Peniel” which means “Face of God.” Here are five lessons we can learn from Jacob’s wrestling match with God.
1. We Need Forgiveness, and it Only Comes by the Mercy of God Jacob was guilty of what he did to Esau—and he knew it. Up until this point, Jacob had relied on his own wits for his success, but now he didn’t know what would happen. His survival was dependent on his brother’s forgiveness of his wrongdoings. Jacob had no control over his brother’s heart, but there was One who did. “So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak” (Genesis 32:24). It’s significant that the wrestling match happened at night. During the day we can be distracted by the busyness of life. The quiet and solitude of night makes us face the fears we hold in our heart. It was time for Jacob to see that he could no longer depend on his own strength. The forgiveness he needed to survive was out of his control. If we are to follow God, we need to come to the point of recognizing our wrongs and our weaknesses. It is only through God’s mercy that we can be forgiven, and his grace that sees us through to the other side of the night. 2. God Honors Perseverance, Especially in Our Seeking of Him “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’” (Genesis 32:25-26). Jacob had two admirable qualities. One was a spiritual sensitivity. This was seen when he fled from his brother and had the vision of the ladder to heaven, and again when he followed the voice of the Lord telling him to return to his homeland. The second quality was his determination. Jacob was not a quitter. His perseverance is highlighted in his pursuit of Rachel and his patience in serving Laban to have her hand in marriage. Jacob exemplifies both qualities in his wrestling with the mysterious man. He knew it was God he wrestled with, and he refused to give up until God blessed him. What makes this even more impactful was the moral consequences Jacob was up against. He didn’t deserve the blessing but was willing to face whatever judgment or consequence was necessary to receive it. The consequence was not insignificant. The wrestling match left him lame, but Jacob had his blessing.
3. Our Identity Is in Christ “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 humans and have overcome’” (Genesis 32:27-28). Jacob had an interesting heritage. By way of His grandfather’s faith, he was in the lineage of those who would multiply into many nations. He had inherited some of his grandmother Sarah’s jealousy, some his mother’s unscrupulous wit, and some of his father’s loyalty. He was named “supplanter” at birth and lived up to his name. Jacob in his early years was a selfish man. His love for Rachel and his loyalty to her family changes him partially, but it’s in his wrestling with God that Jacob reaches a turning point. He is given a new name: Israel, the Prince of God. What is the significance of a new name? It is a new identity. God does this many times throughout the Bible. Jesus does the same for every new believer. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (1 Corinthians 5:17). As we keep reading Genesis, we see that Jacob’s name switches back and forth from his old name to his new throughout his life. In Genesis 35:10, God reminds Jacob of his new name once again. This often happens with us. God gives us a new name — His beloved, a new creation in Him — but we forget who we are. Once we have wrestled with God, we should hold tightly to our new identity. We may stumble and forget who we are, but we can always come back to what God has called us to be.
4. God Wants Us to Know Him Intimately “Jacob said, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ Then he blessed him there” (Genesis 32:29). Jacob knew who God was. He knew God was the God of his father and grandfather. But the God Jacob wrestled with by the Jabbok was God in the form of man; the part of the trinity who would come to earth and who would bear “…our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness….” (1 Peter 2:24.) During the wrestling match, God became the God of Jacob’s heart. Many people know about God, but never have a true, life-changing encounter with Him. Knowing what God has done for others isn’t the same as understanding what He has done for you. God cares less about how successfully we appear to be living a righteous life and much more about the condition of our hearts. The only way to have a relationship with God is to spend time with Him. Reading the Bible, praying and worshipping with our hearts and minds fully focused on God brings us to a closer, more intimate relationship with Him. Sometimes the biggest obstacle to spending time with God is ourselves. Our priorities get mixed up. I know that when I start my day by spending time in God’s word and/or praying, the rest of the day goes better. The actual events in my day don’t change, but my attitude does because the peace of God is with me.
5. Closeness to God Requires Humility “The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip” (Genesis 32:31). Jacob was made lame by his wrestling match with God. For the proud, self-sufficient, quick-witted Jacob, this physical disability was a sign of his new humility. Humility, as defined by Marriam-Webster, means, “freedom from pride or arrogance.” In our world, humility seems counter-culture and counter-success. But in God’s world, we become better people when set aside our pride and rely on Him. Jacob wasn’t the only biblical person who was humbled by God. We see the same kind of stories in Simon Peter and in the conversion of Saul to Paul. In fact, Paul would later write about a thorn in his flesh: “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me — to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). No one would want to go through life with a disability or ailment to keep them humble, but God knows what we need and that our dependence on Him instead of ourselves is our greatest strength. The sun was rising on Jacob as he limped away. He had a new ailment, but also a new identity, a new name, and a new intimacy with God.
Genesis 32:30ESV / 31 helpful votes So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”
Matthew 6:22ESV / 20 helpful votes “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,
Luke 11:34ESV / 18 helpful votes Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness.
Genesis 3:5ESV / 12 helpful votes For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Matthew 6:22-23ESV / 11 helpful votes “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
Matthew 4:16ESV / 8 helpful votes The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”
Isaiah 4:1-6ESV / 6 helpful votes And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.” In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. ...
Revelation 22:2ESV / 5 helpful votes Through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
1 John 1:5ESV / 5 helpful votes This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
Hebrews 7:1-28ESV / 5 helpful votes For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever. See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. ...
Philemon 1:8ESV / 5 helpful votes Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required,
John 1:1-51ESV / 5 helpful votes In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ...
Zephaniah 2:1-15ESV / 5 helpful votes Gather together, yes, gather, O shameless nation, before the decree takes effect —before the day passes away like chaff— before there comes upon you the burning anger of the Lord, before there comes upon you the day of the anger of the Lord. Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord. For Gaza shall be deserted, and Ashkelon shall become a desolation; Ashdod's people shall be driven out at noon, and Ekron shall be uprooted. Woe to you inhabitants of the seacoast, you nation of the Cherethites! The word of the Lord is against you, O Canaan, land of the Philistines; and I will destroy you until no inhabitant is left. ... Daniel 7:1-28ESV / 5 helpful votes In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagles' wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ ... Daniel 4:1-37ESV / 5 helpful votes King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me. How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation. I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace. I saw a dream that made me afraid. As I lay in bed the fancies and the visions of my head alarmed me. ...
Ecclesiastes 5:1-20ESV / 5 helpful votes Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool's voice with many words. When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. ...
Genesis 32:31ESV / 5 helpful votes The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.
Revelation 5:1ESV / 3 helpful votes Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
Psalm 104:14ESV / 3 helpful votes You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth
Genesis 1:1-31ESV / 3 helpful votes In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. ...
Numbers 7:1-89ESV / 2 helpful votes On the day when Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle and had anointed and consecrated it with all its furnishings and had anointed and consecrated the altar with all its utensils, the chiefs of Israel, heads of their fathers' houses, who were the chiefs of the tribes, who were over those who were listed, approached and brought their offerings before the Lord, six wagons and twelve oxen, a wagon for every two of the chiefs, and for each one an ox. They brought them before the tabernacle. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Accept these from them, that they may be used in the service of the tent of meeting, and give them to the Levites, to each man according to his service.” ...
CREATING environments through the vehicle of Visual and Expressive ARTS to help plug people into their CREATOR by fostering Spiritual Growth. By combining Therapeutic Art, Christ-Centered CBT techniques, and Integrated Arts in Scriptural Education, I seek to Heal human brokenness and Redeem Fullness through the Transformative Healing Power of The Holy Spirit.