Get your blessing!

Notes and References from 2/18/01
Get your blessing!

The story in this week’s lesson is from Gen 32:24-30
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. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

First a little background. Remember that Jacob had a brother named Esau. Their father was Isaac and his father was Abraham. Also understand that the elder son, when blessed by the father would, have the status and wealth that would not be enjoyed by the other siblings. Our country was built by immigrants who were second sons and came here to build a future from the sweat of their brow while their older brothers stayed home in the line of old money and the idle rich. Finally, realize that Jacob was a real trickster. In fact, he and his mother plotted to steal Esau’s blessing and did so. When Esau found out he wanted to kill his brother. The mother helped Jacob escape to his uncle Laban’s farm where, up to his old tricks, he would con his uncle out of some land and cattle one of his daughters (The pretty one!) in exchange for working the farm for seven years and successfully getting the cattle to produce more milk cows (something Jacob knew how to do.). Laban tricked him back though. At the wedding he switched daughters and Jacob, unknowingly, married the ugly one. (Laban made him work another seven years for the other daughter.) When he finally left with two wives, children, cattle, riches and all, he heard that Esau was coming for him. He was afraid. It was at this point that we begin the story in this week’s lesson.

Mrs. Eddy’s gives us this interpretation of the story from S&H 308:16:
Jacob was alone, wrestling with error, — struggling with a mortal sense of life, substance, and intelligence as existent in matter with its false pleasures and pains, — when an angel, a message from Truth and Love, appeared to him and smote the sinew, or strength, of his error, till he saw its unreality; and Truth, being thereby understood, gave him spiritual strength in this Peniel of divine Science. Then said the spiritual evangel: "Let me go, for the day breaketh;" that is, the light of Truth and Love dawns upon thee. But the patriarch, perceiving his error and his need of help, did not loosen his hold upon this glorious light until his nature was transformed. When Jacob was asked, "What is thy name?" he straightway answered; and then his name was changed to Israel, for "as a prince" had he prevailed and had "power with God and with men." Then Jacob questioned his deliverer, "Tell me, I pray thee, thy name;" but this appellation was withheld, for the messenger was not a corporeal being, but a nameless, incorporeal impartation of divine Love to man, which, to use the word of the Psalmist, restored his Soul, — gave him the spiritual sense of being and rebuked his material sense.

Peniel: (Also known as Peneul), is that portion of the Jordon river between the torrent and the fords, in other words, a tough spot in the rapids that is difficult to cross. We have all had those challenges where the only option left is to pray because the answer is beyond human ways and means. Think of it as that “line in the sand” that requires our supreme dedication and commitment to cross over.

Now with that overview lets look at a couple of interesting points. Why did Jacob say that he would not let the angel of the Lord go until he had blessed him. First of all, he knew that he stole his father’s blessing. Secondly, he yearned for an escape for the desperate situation he was facing. But, third was a yearning for something deeper, a real change in character. He could run no more. Here Christian Science explains fully the process of inspiration and healing. When inspiration (the angel) comes to us we must make a choice. It is a tough choice because we are required to give up some comfortable position we are holding on to in exchange for committing to our spiritual identity and rising higher. We then are renamed in Science. (Look in Revelation; “To him that overcometh will …I give to him a new name.) Jacob’s name was changed to Israel. His human concept of himself was now elevated to the spiritual level required for success. We must not only solve the human problem we are facing but we must also solve the deeper problem we have in our thinking that makes us vulnerable to material limitations.

Elsewhere in the textbook, Mrs. Eddy talks about angels in the Bible. Look at the first page of the 2nd chapter in the Key to the Scriptures section of the textbook. The chapter is called Apocalypse. Let’s go to page 558 and 559: First she quotes from Revelation:

And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: and he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth.

She then explains:

This angel had in his hand "a little book," open for all to read and understand. Did this same book contain the revelation of divine Science, the "right foot" or dominant power of which was upon the sea, — upon elementary, latent error, the source of all error's visible forms? The angel's left foot was upon the earth; that is, a secondary power was exercised upon visible error and audible sin.

Here is the explanation of how Christian Science heals. It changes thought, rooting out the latent error. A secondary power also removes the visible result of wrong thinking, since it no longer has a source. This is totally consistent with her definition of Angels on page 581:4

ANGELS. God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality.

This inspiration separates the real from the unreal, the material from the spiritual. (See her definition of FAN in the Glossary on page 586:7) and it requires you to not only think correctly but act correctly.

FAN. Separator of fable from fact; that which gives action to thought.

It’s like the man who leaves town and a day after he leaves his burglar alarm goes off. It has a high pitched sound and becomes unbearable to the neighbors who by the time he returns have gone two days without sleep. He tried everything to turn it off but couldn’t. Finally, in desperation he cuts the wires to the alarm and, to the relief of all, the piercing sound stops. Have we missed anything? What about the burglar? (The source of the alarm.) Christian Science not only gets the burglar (wrong thinking) but also the terrible effects of wrong thinking.

By the way, Esau was not coming to kill Jacob after all. He embraced his brother and forgave him. The healing was complete.

In this weeks lesson on SOUL it is a perfect time to look at Mrs’ Eddy’s definition of Sun. It is interesting in that she changed the order of the synonyms for God from the usual Life, Truth and Love to Truth, Life and Love. Why? (See S&H 595:1)

SUN. The symbol of Soul governing man, — of Truth, Life, and Love.

The sun has two qualities, light and heat. When we think of Love we think of warmth or the warmth of Love. When we think or speak of Truth we speak of the light of Truth. Isn’t it logical to see God, Life radiate the light of Truth and the warmth of Love. Life is protected in the center. And, your life, like Jacob’s is protected by the same two qualities—a loving heart and a character of integrity. Remember those two ingredients the next time you come to a set of rough rapids in your daily life. When the angel of the Lord comes to you in the form of inspiration, listen to it’s gentle criticism. You might resist at first and wrestle with it, like Jacob did but in the end don’t let go of the inspiration until you are blessed by it. Speak and act in accord with that inspired thought. (Remember the part of the definition of FAN requiring you to give action to thought.)

In summary, look at this little paragraph from Retrospection 80:12

Though the divine rebuke is effectual to the pulling down of sin's strongholds, it may stir the human heart to resist Truth, before this heart becomes obediently receptive of the heavenly discipline. If the Christian Scientist recognize the mingled sternness and gentleness which permeate justice and Love, he will not scorn the timely reproof, but will so absorb it that this warning will be within him a spring, welling up into unceasing spiritual rise and progress. Patience and obedience win the golden scholarship of experimental tuition.

Are you experimenting? Sex, drinking, cheating on exams? Are you manipulating the human scene for your own advantage? Listen for the inspiration that lifts you out of those perilous rapids. Let the angel message change your thinking and acting. Hear your new name—God’s child, the Christ child. Once again remember the theme of our class fro the textbook on page 248:26-29

We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives.

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