Genesis 32:24-26 “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”
II Corinthians 12:7-9 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
I think it would be safe to say that most people like the idea of being blessed and it is evident from the Word of God, that God has certainly blessed mankind!! Of the numerous individuals recorded for us in the scriptures, I want to look at two; Jacob and Paul. The record of their blessing is recorded for us in Genesis 32 and II Corinthians 12. There are two thoughts that I want to develop from the text.
The first thing that I want to look at is recognizing the blessing. When people bring up the subject of blessings, most have the idea of material blessings that revolve around the matter of money and health. They are blessings that are readily seen by all; self, friends, neighbors, and even by the casual observer. But, I wonder if most would recognize the blessing bestowed upon Jacob and Paul. In fact, a close examination leaves one with the impression that neither man had a full understanding of the blessing when it was initially given! With Jacob, his blessing revolved around his thigh, “touched the hollow of his thigh” and Paul’s revolved around his thorn, “there was given to me a thorn in the flesh.” Neither man would have associated a beating with a blessing. The word “touched” means to lay the hand upon as to strike. The word “buffet” means to rap with the fist. If neither of these men recognized the blessing, I think it would be safe to say that no one, other than God, recognized the fact that these men were being blessed. In fact, the lame Jacob and the maimed Paul would have been pitied, rather than praised. The point is; you may mistake the blessing of God as the buffeting of God!
The last thing that I want to notice is the results of the blessing. It was not until Jacob and Paul were made to understand the results of the blessing that the blessing was met with rejoicing rather than rejection! The nature of the blessing wasn’t secular, but spiritual. It revolved around the destruction of self and the elevation of the Sovereign. For Jacob and Paul, man was minimized, and the Master was maximized. With the increased presence of God came the increased power of God; “for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men” (Genesis 32:28) and “I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (II Corinthians 12:9).
Here in lies the problem; while all of us want a blessing, most pursue secular possessions rather than spiritual power! When it comes to getting a blessing, will you seek after that which is visible to the natural eye and temporal in nature or that which must be spiritually discerned and transcends time and eternity? Getting a blessing may tell you more about yourself than you want to know!