Alfred Place Baptist Church

The Glorious Sight of God

 

Genesis 32:31&32 “So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.’ The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.”
 
Jacob had this transforming encounter with God. Although previously a devious and crafty man, the Lord dealt with Jacob in this unusual way and he would never be the same again. He learned obedience and trust in God, and humility towards his fellow man.
 
  1. JACOB NAMED THE PLACE PENIEL.
 
Jacob called the place where he had wrestled with the angel ‘Peniel.’ It means ‘The Face of God.’ It is a lovely word compounded of two Hebrew words. It takes the word meaning ‘face’ and it links it with one of the great Hebrew words for God, ‘El.’ That divine name had in fact also become part of Jacob’s new name ‘Israel.’ It is the name for God as the one with infinite being and energy. The name speaks of his power and strength. That is the one Jacob had had dealings with on the banks of the Jabbok, the Lord of boundless might. He is omnipotence harnessed by love, and that combination is the essence of the grace of God.
 
So later that day, as Jacob crossed the Jabbok and caught up with the rest of the family, he’d have to give some explanations to the boys as they came running up to their father as he limped towards them, “We missed you Daddy. Are you all right Daddy? Why are you limping Daddy? You look as if someone’s been fighting you Daddy.” He told them all about his encounter with the angel and why he had given the place where the ford crossed the river Jabbok this name. “Do you understand what I am saying boys? I have called it Peniel because there, last night, I saw God face to face, and yet my life was preserved.” That was the blessing that Jacob had desired from the angel. “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (v.26) he’d said, and a sight of the living God was the blessing Jacob had received: “Then he blessed him there,” (v.29). When he had been in Bethel and seen the staircase from heaven and met with the Lord who had spoken to him Jacob had said, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it . . . This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (Gen.28:16&17). Now Jacob has had deeper fellowship with the Lord. He has wrestled with him, and in the darkness seen him face to face.
 
Do you remember the great words of the Aaronic blessing in the closing verses of Numbers chapter 6? God said to Moses that he needed to teach Aaron these words in order to give this blessing to the people. This is what Aaron was to say; “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face towards you and give you peace.” Then God added, “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them” (Num. 6:24-26). There are certain people who want the blessing of seeing with their own eyes Jerusalem, or Mecca, or the Taj Mahal, or New York. Or they want the blessing of seeing their children getting married and having children themselves. Or they want the blessing of reaching retirement age. But what high blessing can compare to this, to see the personal Creator of the universe, the Maker of the Milky Way, the God who is and is not silent, the God who has individual dealings with men and women, the God who is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, unchangeable in his being, power, holiness, wisdom, justice goodness and truth? To see him face to face. It is the beatific vision that Christians imagine receiving:
 
Father of Jesus, love’s reward, what rapture it will be
Prostrate to lie before Thy throne and gaze and gaze on Thee!
 
That was also the hope of a compatriot of Jacob’s, the patriarch whose name was Job. He said these famous words; “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25). What Job longed for Jacob saw. That was the extraordinary privilege of Jacob’s, but it was not unique to him.
 
Remember that the people hearing these words of Moses about Jacob in Genesis 32 in this our text, read out to them for the first time, were in fact Jacob. They were Israel. They were a people often dissatisfied with what they had of God. They were tempted by the idols and temples of the nations around them. They wanted something to look at and touch, and so in one of their bouts of rebellion they had cast a golden cow and their foolish leaders had said, “This is your God O Jacob!” They gazed and gazed at this image of a calf and had danced before it. Then what judgment had come upon them all for such idolatry and unbelief and ingratitude to the one true and living God who’d delivered them from slavery. So Moses is telling them in this incident we have been studying that the patriarch they follow, whose name God himself takes when he says, “I am the God of Jacob.” Jacob had seen God face to face – and they were excited about looking at the statue of a cow!
 
Again, how had Moses survived all the years he was growing up in Pharaoh’s court in Egypt?  Think of the temptations that unchallenged power and authority give you to fulfil the desires of the flesh and the mind. How did Moses survive? We are told, “as seeing him who is invisible.” Moses endured Egypt and endured the deliverance of the people from Egypt and their rebellions and whinings as he saw him who is invisible. Invisible to the physical eye. He saw him with the eye of faith, and soon Moses would see him on the mountain and Moses’ face displayed such reflected glory that a veil would be needed to be hang over his face. Then soon the Tabernacle in the midst of the camp would glow with heavenly glory too. The people who were sons of Jacob would themselves have a glimpse of what Jacob saw at Peniel. I am saying that they also were Jacob.
 
The hope of soon seeing the one living and true God is the confident expectation of the mere Christian. John speaks for us all; he stands in solidarity with us in that great word, “we” when he says, “now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:2). Every single one of us whose trust is in the Lord Christ – we shall all see him as he is. Even the youngest, newest Christian, elect infants who died in the womb, the most backsliding Christian, the chief of sinners who has sought God for mercy, David the adulterer, Abraham the liar, Peter who swore, Saul of Tarsus the torturer – and all who have sought forgiveness in Christ, who have said, “Have mercy on me for Jesus’ sake,” we worms who creep out of the dust shall see him!
 
And we shall see him not as he was, the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, not the one whose sweat was as blood, not the immolated suffering man hanging on Golgotha, but we shall all see him as he is, transfigured, and glorified. All that his Fa
ther can do to make him the most beautiful being in the universe has been done. The divine aesthetic has wrought a miraculous make-over. We are going to see Christ with the blazing light of God’s glory shining in all its strength in him and from him. Unregenerate sinners will be crying out, “Depart from me !” But his people shall gaze and gaze upon him, and we shall live. In fact, we are going to come into his presence with exceeding joy! We are Jacob! While we are here in this world we cannot enjoy a full sense of God, but let me close my eyes in death and go out of this world and I shall see God as he is in another world. Be of good comfort, you shall shortly see God in all his sparkling beauty and with his welcoming smile to know and experience that same love with which Jesus himself is loved by his Father. You will feel loved with that same love when you are in his presence. Then do not be discouraged; our light affliction is but for a moment; before us is an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Ten minutes there and you will forget all your sufferings here.
 
That is our future hope, but what of today? I say that now, every time we read the Bible or hear it preached with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven, then every place is hallowed ground – it is Peniel. I have seen Jesus born in a stable in Bethlehem and the fields all around full of millions of angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest.” I have seen him baptized in the Jordan and heard the voice of God saying. “You are my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. I have sat on the mountain and listened to him preach the Sermon on the Mount. I have seen him in a storm speaking to the winds and waves and they have obeyed him. I have seen him give sight to the man born blind, and cleanse the leper, and raise the dead. I have seen him transfigured on the Mount standing with Moses and Elijah. I have seen him hanging on the cross crying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!” I have seen him rise from the dead and stood alongside 500 others as he walked and talked among us for hours. I have seen him ascend to heaven and a cloud hide him from view. I have with the eyes of faith seen all this, seen Jesus Christ with an unveiled face. I have beheld as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, and so I, in solidarity with all the people of God, am being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of God. I spend all my days in Peniel. Having once seen Jesus I cannot spend my life anywhere else.
 
How can anyone see God? God is a Spirit. God is invisible. God is immense, infinitely immense, with no dimensions of height and width and depth and breadth. How can any creature see God? The true Christian, of course, sees him in Jesus Christ, in God the Son, in the Word who was made flesh and remains flesh for ever. A man there is, a real man, now in the midst of the throne of heaven. It’s him whom we shall see. That is how a sinner can see God and live. Though God be uncreated holiness, though he be an all consuming fire; though he be light and in him is no darkness at all we sinners shall yet see God in Jesus Christ, for he says, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9). By the grace of his redeeming love he reveals himself to us. Paul gives his testimony to the Galatian Christians and he tells them how he came to see the glory of Christ, “God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me” (Gals. 1:15&16). Paul is saying, “I had been blind. I had seen him as a liar and a fake, but then the blindness went when God was pleased to reveal his Son in me. The change had to be wrought in my inner being. When my heart was purified then I could see him. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God’ said our Lord. Thus I have seen Jesus as the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of his being.” So you must pray, “Father, reveal your Son in my mind and affections. Show me his glory. Show me the truth about him. Help me to see and understand him as he really is.”
 
So you can imagine generations after this encounter at Jabbok’s brook a child walking with its father and they come to Peniel and the little one says, “Daddy, why is it called ‘Peniel’, the face of God?” And the father saying, “That’s a very interesting question. It is called Peniel because here the Lord met with our great forefather Jacob. God changed him. He changed his name to ‘Israel’ at this place, and that is why we are called the children of Israel, and he wanted us to know that men can meet with God. Son you can meet with the Lord too. I am praying that you also have a close encounter with the Lord.” There are many places in this church building where people were sitting and listening to the Word of God and there they met with God, and then outside the church, on a rock on the beach, on top of Constitution Hill in the quiet of the early morning, there others met him.
 
Douglas MacMillan said, “I remember conversing with a fine old Christian on the island of Lewis and he started talk­ing about times of revival that he had known when he was a young man in his native village. ‘You know, Douglas,’ he said, ‘there is hardly a stone or a stream or a rock down on the shore but men and women could point to them and say, "There God graciously met with me and there God changed my life.’" I am sure that everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ can look back to some place and say, ‘Yes, there God met with me in Christ; and because he met with me I call­ed it my "Peniel" — I looked on the face of God and was not destroyed.’ If you are a Christian, I am sure you have done that again and again. Encourage your soul in this way. When did you last have a place to which you could point and say, ‘God met me afresh and my life has never been the same again? I have been more humble because I was blessed, and I have been more blessed because I was humbled.’” (Douglas MacMillan, Wrestling with God, Evangelical Press of Wales, 1991, p.126).
 
So this whole incident can be summarized for us, as for Jacob, in one basic idea. Encounter involves a meeting with God and living to tell of it. “Yet my life was spared,” said Jacob. God did more than save Jacob from his own worse behaviour. He spared him from that in order that for the rest of his days he lived a god-fearing life. Salvation is never only ‘from’ it is also ‘to.’ It has to be positive as well as negative. Restored as he was, forgiven by God as he knew himself to be, now Jacob was ready to go and meet his brother Esau. He was going as Jacob, but also going there as Israel.
 
  1. JACOB WAS LIMPING BECAUSE OF HIS HIP.
 
We are told, “The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.” (v.31). It’s a moving picture isn’t it? The long night is finally over. It is a new day and a new chapter in Jacob’s life. The sun is rising upon Jacob as he leaves the place of necessary solitude and darkness. He goes forth with the blessing of God upon him. “The sun rose above him . . .” Jacob went from Peniel in the knowledge of a new experience of God’s grace. That grace had enabled him to prevail with the Lord, and has given him a new confidence that the Lord would fulfil his covenant purposes and give him the land and bless all the nations of the world through his children.
 
Yet there is a contrast drawn on the natural and physical level. The splendour of
this sunny day highlights Jacob’s new physical weakness as he leaves Peniel behind; “he was limping because of his hip”. This was a brand new limp, not the rolling gait of a man who had for years had this weakness and never thought about it. Every step Jacob took was painful. He had rarely had a physical problem and none as serious as this. The sun shone down on him from heaven, but Jacob limped down below fording the river Jabbok and on to catch up his servants, cattle and his wives and children. That is the paradox in which henceforth Jacob would live his life, blessed by the Sun of Righteousness with every spiritual blessing, and yet limping along conscious of his past sins, and the follies of his children and the grief that they brought into his life. Jacob would limp all the way home to glory.
 
Jacob has had power over the angel, but in that conquest Jacob has had his pride and self-confidence put out of joint. He had been taught very clearly that a consciousness of spiritual weakness and an awareness that he could only survive by the power of God day by day, that that was the only place he could find spiritual strength. It is only as I am weak and clinging to God, then I am truly strong. So you find here these contrasts in where Jacob had been and what he once was: the anonymous place, named now; the absent light, risen now; the athletic man, limping now – three realities, caught in those little phrases, tell us who was the real winner of this wrestling en­counter. “The sun rose above him  . . . as he passed Peniel . . . and he was limping.” The Angel who initiated the conflict, who dictated its course, who ensured its outcome, has achieved a marvelous spiritual advance in the heart of Jacob. Jacob has been conquered, but has demonstrated a persistence which owed itself to the help of God, and which culminated in the sort of submission that only grace can bring about.
 
Here is the same conflict in the apostle Paul. He had been given great gifts by God, but especially great experiences of God as no other man in the world. He had been caught up to the third heaven and seen sights and heard words it was impossible for him to repeat to anyone, they being so sacred. Experience is very dangerous, because it does not take much effort or sacrifice and it sticks in the memory. People say, “No one will ever take that from me.” Its greatest danger is pride, and a proud believer in Jesus’ finished work is not someone trusting in Christ because the believer in Christ pours contempt on all his pride. He has been saved as a hell-deserving rebel by Jesus Christ alone, by his life and death, not his own experience or knowledge or by any things that he has done, only in what Jesus has done. So, in order to prevent Paul becoming puffed up and full of himself and useless in writing his letters – which the church in the next 2000 years would need – God encountered Paul and humbled him by pushing into his body a thorn. Whatever it might have been, a distress, a weakness, a necessity, a persecution. Physically it was a trifle, but it smarted; it stung; it throbbed; it demoralized; it would not go away; it drove him to three long sessions of prayer pleading with God to remove the thorn, but the answer Paul got was, “It’s OK. You will do all I want you to do much better with the thorn than without it, and my grace is sufficient for you to evangelize and write and pray and preach more effectively than if you did not have the thorn.” So Paul, for the rest of his life walked and talked and lived with this weakness. It was essential for his usefulness in the gospel, just like the limp was necessary for Jacob’s usefulness.
 
3. TRUE CONVERSION IS AN ENCOUNTER WITH THE LIVING GOD WHO CHANGES PEOPLE.
 
The chapter ends on a note of anti-climax doesn’t it? “Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon” (v. 32). What is all this about? It is an editorial note from Moses explaining a dietary fussiness which had been accepted by the children of Israel and attributed to this episode. It is not a law that is found in the words that God gave at Sinai. During Moses’ days, he tells us, the people didn’t eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, and when children asked their parents why they threw that tendon away they were told of this incident when the angel of the Lord dislocated Jacob’s hip. Children were none the wiser. It would be as sensible as us refusing to eat whale meat to honour the whale that had saved the life of Jonah! You get dietary traditions like this all over the world. For centuries Roman Catholics did not eat meat on Fridays, only fish. They connected eating meat with Friday being the day Christ was crucified. So that tradition spread and we Baptist and Methodist and Anglican boys and girls were served fish by our mothers on Fridays in the 1940s and 50s because the fishmongers always had fresh fish for the Catholics on that day. So superstitions and the works of man spring up instead of real religion, because people want to be doing, doing, doing or not doing, not doing not doing, and feeling they were somehow holy because of their prohibitions; “we are too holy to eat a tendon attached to the socket of the hip.” The Jews had an entire chapter in the Mishnah giving many rules prohibiting eating the sinews which were in the hollow of the thigh of any animals. In fact anyone who ate a piece, even the size of an olive, was condemned to be beaten with 40 stripes . . . Come on! Is this how you show you know God? Is this what true religion is all about? Meat for the belly and the belly for meat? God will laugh with scorn at both!
 
This chapter was not written to introduce a dietary regulation. It tells us about an encounter between a sinner and the living God, and that is what real religion is all about. I have mentioned my friend Douglas MacMillan from the north of Scotland a number of times in these four sermons. He spoke on this incident in the Aberystwyth conference in 1983, and in 1991 the addresses came out in a book called Wrestling with God which I have quoted from a few times. He has been dead for ten years, but if he were here I would ask him to come and tell us about his encounter with God, and he would stand here unashamedly and tell us all his story. Most of you have such stories and they are more interesting and more redemptive than many of the celebrity memoirs published in our day. I am glad to let Douglas tell you his story in the context of the Big Story of God’s great drama of Creation, Fall and Redemption. The Bible is one big Story that comprises a lot of individual stories like Jacob’s. I have invited Douglas into this sermon to tell his story not to exalt him but for his testimony to the same grace that met Jacob. He will bear witness to what God did in his life and you will find it helpful because God’s Holy Spirit has a tendency to work in similar ways in all of our lives. All our stories matter and all are worth telling and re-telling because each one of us is always alive before the presence of God. Individuals matter. Today Douglas and the patriarch Jacob know one another in the presence of God, and our hope through Christ is one day to join them. God does not save chunks of umanity. He saves Jacob and he saves Douglas. He pays attention to people.
 
Douglas MacMillan grew up in a Christian home, his father had been an elder in the church, his family was very active in their local congregation, but as a teenager he fell under Communist teaching and rejected belief in God. He lived a very worldly life. Even when his mother died, she bore witness to him. It didn’t soften his heart. One thing after another happened, but he never softened his he
art. Let him carry on and tell his own story:
 
“My older brother used to drive my father James to the midweek service in the church six or seven miles away. But on one Wednesday around that time, my brother was away at a cattle sale, and I got the job of driving my father to church. I intended while he was in church to go to the pub for a drink, and then to go visit a girl. However, as we came near the church I had an idea. I asked my father, ‘Who will be preaching tonight? Is it that young preacher?’ ‘Yes,’ my father said. I thought this is my chance to find out what everybody is talking about in the village. I went in with my father, but as soon as I sat down in the church amongst all those old people, I began to wonder if I was going mad. What if my friends knew that I had spent my Wednesday evening at church? Then the door behind the pulpit opened, and I got quite a shock. I thought that all preachers were old men, ready to crumble and fall into the grave. They were religious because they had nothing better to do. But David Patterson was just a little bit older than myself, and he looked as if he had a broken nose. In fact, his whole appearance reminded me of my hero, Freddie Mills, the British cruiser weight boxer who was then the champion of the world.
 
“At first I was disappointed when he began to speak. His voice was low as if he were afraid of the old ladies on the back row. But his text was from Revelation, chapter 3. ‘Because you say I am rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing and know not that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I counsel you to buy from me gold that is tried in the fire.’ To this day, I am amazed that he chose to speak on a text like that when he must have expected to address a group of older Christians. Anyway, he described what he found in the text the spectacle of a soul worshiping itself. What took my breath away was he gave an exact description of me and of my life. I was living for myself for pleasure and for what I could accomplish. I drank, I enjoyed the company of the lassies, but there were also hard ambitions which have taken over my life. I lived for money. And there was another thing. I used to do the round of the highland games and I was often featured on the prize list for the heavy event. I was especially keen on hammer throwing, and I’d been doing it since I was fifteen. And I thought that in about four years I could reach the top. But as I listened to the preacher in that quiet country church, all those things lost their dazzle. The very things which had become the focal point for my driving ambition began suddenly to look pathetic and empty. What was the point in giving my life over to these things? The mask, you see, was being removed from my life. I began to wonder, did my old man tell this preacher that I would be here? But no, I didn’t even know myself that I was going to be there until I entered the door.
 
“I was not converted that night, though I promised the preacher that I would come to church again. And it was three weeks before I saw him. I was driving along beside the sea in an old truck that we used at the farm, and I spotted him walking beside the road carrying a gas cylinder. He had about a mile to go yet, and I said to myself, ‘Will I stop or will I go roaring past him? If I give him a lift he’ll ask me why I haven’t been back to church.’ In the end I stopped, and I said quite roughly to him. ‘Want a lift, Jock?’ He wanted a lift all right. He threw the cylinder in the back, he climbed up beside me and, just as I thought, the first thing he said to me was, ‘You never came back to church.’ ‘No, I’ve been busy,’ I said. ‘You’re a liar,’ he said. ‘That’s a terrible thing for a preacher to say, but you are a liar. It wasn’t because you were busy, am I right?’ ‘I suppose you are.’ He shouted above the sound of the old engine, ‘You know what I think? I think you’re running scared. I think you’re scared that you’re going to be converted.’ ‘No, I’m not scared. Actually, I would like to be converted, but I don’t think I can be.’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘Well, since that night I’ve asked God two or three times to change me and nothing has happened.’ By this time we reached where he was staying and he said, ‘Why don’t you come in?’
 
“I went in with him, and he talked to me as no one has ever talked to me before. He said to me, ‘If you’re really serious about this, what about going down on your knees and we’ll ask God to change you right now?’ I wasn’t very keen. I was embarrassed. And then I said to myself, “I want this if I can get it.” So I went down to my knees. At first he wanted me to pray, but there was no way I was going to do that with him there, and I said, ‘You’re the one who’s paid to do the praying, you pray.’ He began to talk to God as if he really knew him. And he continued and he quoted John 3:16: ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ I had known these words all my life, but as he quoted them it was as if someone had drawn aside a curtain so that light came into a dark room. I saw that Christ had finished all that was necessary for my salvation. I didn’t have anything to do to save my soul. I got hold of the preacher’s arm, and I said, ‘Say that again.’ He stared at me. ‘Say what again?’ ‘Say that bit again about God loving the world. Say that again.’ He repeated the text. And I said, ‘Does that mean that if I really believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross of Calvary to save us from our sins, and trust Him because of that, I will be saved?’ He said, ‘Yes, that’s exactly what it means.’ And I said to him, ‘It can’t be as simple as that.’ But although I was arguing like that, I felt as if I were understanding the way of salvation for the first time in my life. What I had known in one way for so long, now seemed so new. And as I believed it for the first time a great peace began to flood into my heart and a stillness came over me.
 
“Then I thought that’s all right, but you know how a Christian is supposed to live. I began thinking of all the things that I would have to stop. He saw my face changing, and he said, ‘What’s wrong now?’ I said, ‘I don’t think that I could live like a Christian. I’d have to give up too much.’ ‘Listen, Douglas,’ he said, ‘You think through everything you feel you’d have to give up. You think about it very carefully.’ And then he said, ‘In this hand, (holding out his right hand), ‘I’ll give you everything that you are afraid of losing. And in this hand, I’ll give you Christ. Which one is it going to be?’ He didn’t make it easy on me. And I’m sure I must have sat there for ten minutes. He said afterwards that it felt to him like an eternity. I thought deeply about what was involved, and then at last I absolutely knew which one I had to take. I said, ‘If I can really have Christ as my Saviour, I’ll take Him.’ As soon as I said that my heart was filled with love and joy.
 
“Then I suddenly remembered my father James. I had dropped him off at the village at 2:00. He was to collect his pension and visit a friend and I was to pick him up at 4:00, but by now it was half past 7:00. I said to the preacher, ‘I’ve forgotten my old man. He’s been waiting for me for three and a half hours.’ And so I jump
ed into the old truck and I went roaring off, back to the little bungalow where he would be. The lady of the house came to the door and let me in. I hurried in ahead of her to the living room. My father was sitting opposite the door, and as soon as I came in he got up and he crossed the room, and he took me in his arms, and he said, ‘Douglas, thank God.’ And I said, ‘Why?’ ‘You’ve been converted.’ ‘How do you know?’ ‘I can see it in your face as soon as you came in the door. I knew my prayers had been answered.’”
 
God dealt with Jacob that night personally, like he dealt with Douglas MacMillan and as he has dealt with so many of us. When one of our members, Bud Mort, read the above, he said, “After I was saved I went to my wife and she knew that I was saved before I said anything. Then I went south to Neath to see my mother who had prayed for me for years, and before I said anything she saw me and knew I have been converted.  
 
God has been holding out to you in one hand all the things that we men and women like Jacob have wanted, then God has held out himself in the other hand. He has said to us, “Which is it going to be?” Every single one of us is facing that choice now, and there’s really only one response to make, isn’t there? Just one . . . just one . . . just one . . . and Jacob chose aright.
 
6th February 2011 GEOFF THOMAS