From Bethel to Penuel

by | Aug 20, 2008

Joseph Herrin (08-19-2008)

I have shared many things that the Father has been revealing through signs since He sent Randy and I out to the ministry appointed to us on 8-8-8. I would speak here of one more sign that has been before my mind more than all others. I have been limping along painfully through the entire course of these days.

Over a month ago I pinched my sciatic nerve which runs through the lower back and down the legs. The result has been the most severe bout with sciatica that I have yet experienced. My first experience with this debilitating condition occurred eight years ago when the Father led my family and I to live for a brief time in a community called Payne City. It was truly PAIN city.

I had pinched my sciatic nerve at that time while moving our furniture to our temporary home. The condition grew severe enough that I was unable to walk without the assistance of a cane, something I have resorted to once again in recent days. Sciatica results in a painful condition in the legs that some describe as like unto a toothache. There is a constant throbbing, and movement is painful. Most often sciatica will strike only one leg at a time, but sometimes it will affect both legs. Every previous bout I have had with this condition afflicted my left leg, but this recent bout has been in my right leg.

As the condition was new to me eight years ago, I studied the matter carefully. I took my children to the Georgia National Fair, and the condition was so severe at the time that I had to be pushed around in a wheel chair. I went by a chiropractor’s stand in one of the exhibition halls, and I asked him about my condition. He promptly identified it as sciatica and provided me with brochures on the condition, and suggested some stretching exercises that would help in recovery.

When I got back home I did a web search on the sciatic nerve, and I found that the Jews identify this nerve as that which the angel touched in Jacob’s hip when he was wrestling with him at the ford of the Jabbock. Jacob limped from that day forward, and leaned upon his staff. What is symbolized is the breaking of the natural strength of man that God’s children might forever more lean upon Him. The staff is a profound symbol in the Bible representing the power of God. Moses’ staff symbolized the power of God.

The Father has directed me to set forth Moses as an example of one who once sought to accomplish God’s call upon his life in the power of the natural life of man. Moses at the age of forty was a man mighty in words and deeds, educated in all the knowledge of Egypt, which stands as a symbol of the world. God was absolutely committed to cast down every false notion that Moses held whereby he thought his natural abilities were sufficient to accomplish the purposes of God. At the age of forty Moses was at the height of all his natural ability, but he failed to deliver even one Israelite from bondage.

When God sent Moses back to Egypt at the age of eighty to accomplish the task he was created for, Moses was an empty man. He proclaimed to God that he could not even talk. He protested that no one would listen to him, and in these things he judged rightly. There was nothing in the man Moses that could advance the kingdom of God one iota. Yahweh said He would be with Moses, and the power and presence of Yahweh to accomplish His mighty acts was symbolized in the staff in Moses’ hand.

Exodus 4:17
And you shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.

When we understand a symbol such as the staff, then our eyes are opened to discern parables that God has placed throughout His word. After Jacob wrestled with the angel, he leaned upon his staff.

Genesis 32:31-32
Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh. Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip.

A remarkable testimony is observed in the life of Jacob. God appeared to Jacob twenty years earlier as he was leaving his home and going to reside with Laban’s household. God said he would be with Jacob then, and he promised to bring him back.

Genesis 28:13-15
And behold, Yawheh stood above it and said, “I am Yahweh, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And behold, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Notice that God said HE would accomplish these things for Jacob. God did not say that Jacob would accomplish them with God’s blessing. If Jacob had understood this matter he could have been spared much vain labor and weary toil. Jacob could have been spared from all his fears and worries, from scheming and relying upon his own ability to preserve his life and that of his family. God had promised. The staff of God was in Jacob’s hand. Yet, at Bethel Jacob did not lean on the staff. He did not recognize what he had in his hand.

How do we know that Jacob had a staff in his hand at Bethel where he dreamed of a ladder going up to heaven? Twenty years later when Jacob is at Penuel he declares it when he prays to God.

Genesis 32:10-12
I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which Thou hast shown to Thy servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me, the mothers with the children. For Thou didst say, ‘I will surely prosper you, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.'”

Brothers and sisters, when we are born again of the Spirit of Christ we receive the Spirit to dwell in vessels of clay. We have this treasure in earthen vessels, even the Spirit of God Almighty. Yet like Jacob, most of us do not realize what it is we possess. Even having the mighty promises of God in the New Testament that HE will conform us to the image of Christ, that HE will manifest His strength in our weakness to accomplish all His desire, we foolishly try to work all things in the weakness of human striving. While we remain whole, unbroken, confident in our own strength, the power of God is not leaned upon. Perhaps in some crisis we will look to Him, but when the crisis passes we return to reliance upon our ability to accomplish all things.

We have to pass from Bethel to Penuel. We must progress from carrying the staff of God in our hands to leaning upon it as we take every step. The Lord directed me to speak to His people this past week about the source of our anointing, our power. I would encourage you to listen to the message on anointing if you have not already done so. (

Few Christians today understand this matter which is vital to their walk as an overcomer in Christ. God sent me to His people as a man who was limping upon his thigh. What was symbolized in the natural is a picture of the breaking work He has performed in my life spiritually. He has led me to have no confidence in the flesh. Only the Spirit of Christ in me can accomplish the Father’s will and bring advance to the kingdom of God. Consider the parable of the following passage of Scripture.

Micah 4:6-7
In that day,” declares Yahweh, “I will assemble the lame, and gather the outcasts, even those whom I have afflicted. I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcasts a strong nation, and Yahweh will reign over them in Mount Zion.”

Who is it that stands with the Lord upon Mount Zion? It is the overcomers.

Revelation 14:1
And I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.

God must lame all of His sons and daughters in order to bring them to Zion as overcomers. None can overcome who are leaning upon their own strength. The natural power must be broken where they will rely upon it no more.

Has God yet made you lame? Are you residing at Bethel, or have you progressed to Penuel? Are you merely carrying the power of God around with you as Jacob carried his staff at Bethel, or are you leaning upon His power with every step that you take as Jacob did after being lamed by God?

Yahweh says, “I WILL assemble the lame, and gather the outcasts, even those whom I HAVE afflicted.” Yahweh will accomplish it all. He will break His sons and daughters and then He will reveal His power in and through them. When He sends them forth to fulfill the call upon their lives they will go forth broken in body and soul. They will declare, “God, I cannot perform it. You must perform it in and through me.” At every step they will lean upon the staff of God in their hands. They will never be healed of their lameness all the days of their ministering, but by the power of God they will leap like the deer.

Isaiah 35:3-6
Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, but He will save you.” Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy.”

Let us declare, “God I am feeble. Please be my strength. I am anxious. Please be my courage. I cannot see. Please be my sight. I cannot hear. Please be my ears. I am lame. Please be my feet. I cannot speak. Please reveal your words in my mouth.”

When we see ourselves as empty vessels, then God can fill us. Jacob was emptied at the ford of the Jabbock. Strong’s concordance says that Jabbock means “to pour out, to empty.” God lames His children that they might be emptied of their own strength, that they might lean with every step upon Him. Praise God for His mercy in making the strong into cripples.

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1 Comment

  1. Mercy

    Tjos was a special word, and appreciate your words (His words) on our anointing.
    What you wrote about your experience with what the sciatica nerve can do – yes, there is pain! – was particularly pertinent. Both my husband and I seem to have been given this gift, and I see it (now) as Father’s reminder about the staff. HIM!! HE is the One upon whom I lean, not on my own strength (although I do realize how very weak I am). This morning I cried out to Him…a little later, thought to call the chiroprctor, and the word (Word) came, “Wait.” And a few minutes after, “See what I will do.”
    What you shared gave me understanding in a way I had not had before. Thank you.
    I did listen to the tape – and was interested in your thoughts as to why God did not accept Cain’s offering – it was the fruit of his work. However, all the offerings to be made – at the various festivals, the first fruit offerings of the crops – they, too, are the “fruit of the labour of the offerers.”
    Just a thought. And God’s response to Cain was interesting. Oh – the ground was cursed…and the snake was cursed, but…Adam and Eve were NOT cursed. PTL!
    Thank you for this word today – it surely was a timely one for me.
    Joanne Anstine


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This is the Blog site of Joseph Herrin. It is a companion to the Heart4God Website. Writings are posted here first, while the Heart4God site contains an archive of all of my books, presentations, concise teachings, audio messages, and other material. All material is available free of charge. Permission is granted to copy, re-post, print, and distribute (free of charge) any of the material on these sites.

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