So like I told you earlier, I’ve been tracking down the names of God as they appear in the Bible. I’ve learned that the Hebrew word “el” actually means God, or the Lord. Immanuel, God with us. Bethel, the house of the Lord. Noel, the birth of the Lord. You get the picture. So here are some of the names I encountered early on:

El Roi, the God who sees me   (Genesis 16:13)

(this is my favorite one actually- but more on that later). God says this to a dejected woman who feels invisible, used, and hopeless.

 Elohim, the mighty God        (Genesis 17:7)    

who breathed out stars and set the world in motion and yet knows the innermost workings of your heart

 El-Olam, the eternal God    (Genesis 21:10)                                                 

 who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And finally,

Penuel, the face of God.

This one captivated me because above all else in this world, my heart longs to see Penuel. More than his blessing hand, more than his mighty outstretched arm, more than his protection and provision, I want to see his face.

The first time we see God’s face, penuel, in the Bible is after Jacob wrestles with him all night: Genesis 32:31– The sun was rising as Jacob left the face of God.

There is something about the face of God, about seeing and encountering him that changes you and has the potential to change your destiny. But sometimes in order to see that face, you have to be willing to keep struggling with God.

Keep asking the questions even when you’re not getting answers.

Keep praying those prayers even when you’re not seeing results.

Keep believing in what you know is true of God or yourself even when everything about your circumstances tell you the opposite.

Keep saying no to the temptation.

Keep forgiving.

Keep seeking God even in the darkness, for if you do, if you are willing to keep wrestling, you will see God’s face. And you will walk away changed.

This reminded me of Jeremiah 29:13 when God says you will eek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.

And that’s not supposed to be a good thing just for you.

We live in a broken, hurting, and dark world that needs us to keep pushing through to see God’s face because I firmly believe that when you truly do  encounter God, you can’t help but go into the world, into each day, with a renewed sense of passion and purpose. The experience of seeing God’s face opens the eyes of our spirits, and if we can see the world as Christ does, we would be a formidable force to the gates of Hell and the darkness here on Earth because Jesus saw opportunities where other people saw problems. God sees potential where others see lack. He sees grace and his perfect power where others see weakness. God sees through eyes of love, compassion, and acceptance where we see people whom we don’t like.

Another one of my favorite Christine Caine quotes (sorry- she’s my favorite) says that “your perspective will determine other people’s destiny.” Your perspective. What you see. If you see the face of God and you see things like he does, you have the ability to change not only your own life, but the life of others because you will start to see your life as less important and God’s mission as the highest importance.

He sees beyond the surface and into the heart, and that’s what he’s after. More than any other part of you, he wants your heart. He has plans for you, but he wants more than the work of your hands. He loves to hear you sing out to him, but not if that comes from empty words. He doesn’t want your mouth, your feet, your hands- any part of you more than he wants your heart. So keep pushing. Keep searching. Keep wrestling like Jacob. Seek him with all your heart, and you will see his face. 


About hopecshepard

I am first and foremost a follower of Christ. Then I am many things: a daughter, a sister, a friend, a coach, and a first year high school English teacher. I try to be intentional about making my teaching a ministry.
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2 Responses to Penuel

  1. kacinpoint says:

    This is fantastic! I wrote a series a few years ago on the names of God. I’ll have to dig it up and send it to you.


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