Facial recognition ∙

Facial recognition ∙

Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” – Genesis 32:30

Genesis 32:24-31

 24 This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break.

 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket.

 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

 27 “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.”

 28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”

 29 “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said. “Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.

 30 Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.”

 31 The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip.

Facial recognition software “could herald the end of public anonymity,” said Kashmir Hill in The New York Times. There is a new app called Clearview Al. It scours the Internet searching for images of faces. It stalks social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. It has scraped more than 10 billion photos and stored and indexed them in a database. The company’s algorithm matches faces to this database using the seemingly, ubiquitous surveillance cameras located in major cities. Clearview’s facial recognition can identify faces from any angle. It can match any scanned face to what is stored.

Clearview licenses its technology to thousands of law enforcement agencies including the FBI and DHS as well as commercial organizations. Such technology invites potential abuse. In the future, we will be searching for someone by face in the same way that we Google a name today. The surveillance society is just around the corner (The Week, February 07, 2020).

Jacob developed his own facial recognition firmware using his brain and eyes. He had a close encounter with the God of the third kind. He finds himself wrestling all night with a mysterious figure. Jacob must’ve been a powerful person with tremendous stamina and endurance. The match was essentially a draw. Jacob refused to let go or give up until he received a blessing. Jacob asked to know the person’s name with whom he was wrestling. He did not get a direct answer. But instead, he received an indirect one. This is the time and place when the Father changed Jacob’s name to Israel.

Genesis 32:25-28

 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket.

 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

 27 “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.”

 28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”

Jacob understood and called the name of the place where the wrestling match occurred, Peniel.

Genesis 32:30 Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.”

The identity of this mysterious person is clarified in the book of Hosea. He was the Angel of the Lord, and He was God. The Angel of the Lord is a unique angel who frequently appears in the Old Testament. He is the pre-incarnate Christ, but that is a story for another day.

Hosea 12:3-5

 3 Even in the womb, Jacob struggled with his brother; when he became a man, he even fought with God.

 4 Yes, he wrestled with the angel and won. He wept and pleaded for a blessing from him. There at Bethel he met God face to face, and God spoke to him –

 5 the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, the LORD is his name!

For example, if you look closely, He is present and speaks from the burning bush to Moses. He clearly identifies himself as God.

Exodus 3:2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up.

Exodus 3:14 God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.”

REFLECT & PRAY

In the Father’s kingdom, we often win only when we lose.

Father may I follow the advice of Corrie Ten Boom, “Hold everything in your hands lightly; otherwise, it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”

INSIGHT

There is an obvious lesson to be learned. The Father is more than willing to allow children of the King to wrestle with Him or His angels. He is not upset or angry when we do this. Undoubtedly, in human terms, He expects it. I would imagine that He is a tad bit amused that we would be so brash and bold. But that is simply the way He made us.

But ultimately, whether we wrestle physically or verbally with the Father, we will never win. The best we can hope for is a draw. Jacob did not defeat the Angel of the Lord, but he prevailed. But there is often collateral damage.

Genesis 32:25-31

 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and dislocated it.

 31 The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip.

What is the name Israel mean? There is a play on words here that is not obvious in English. The Hebrew word translated as striven, struggled, or fought is sarita. Sarita has the sense of contend, struggle, contest with or persist.

Genesis 32:28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”

This sentence explains why Jacob’s name was changed to Israel. In Hebrew, the word translated as striven (struggled) is sarita. The first part of the Hebrew verb sarita is linked in sound to Isra in Isra-el. The word God in Hebrew is Elohim. El is a common abbreviation for Elohim. El is the second part of the compound name Isra-el. Thus Israel is more or less the shorthand for you have struggled with God (Sailhamer).

The focus here is on Jacob’s assertiveness, strength, and endurance. He can cling to his stronger opponent despite his injury and the pain. He would not give in nor give up. He was persistent and insisted upon receiving a blessing before he would let go (Hamilton).

This is a major paradigm shift for Jacob. He finally came to realize the importance of the Father’s blessings on his life. The God of Abraham and Isaac has now become his God (Genesis 32:9).

Genesis 28:21 If I return safely to my father’s home, then the LORD will certainly be my God.

How ironic, Jacob won when he lost. He lived the rest of his life limping. Wherever he went, curious people would undoubtedly ask, “why are you limping?” Probably, he would answer something like this, “I wrestled with the angel of God, even though I lost, I won. Now I limp.”

In the Father’s kingdom, when we lose, we win.

Matthew 10:39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it, but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

The sooner you yield, the sooner you win.

Hebrews 12:11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening; it’s painful! But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it.

¯\_()_/¯ 4-10-2

© Dr. H 2022

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