what’s in a name

All of Jacob’s life, he had been a wrestler.

He wrestled with Esau over the birthright blessing. With Isaac his father. He wrestled between Rachel and Leah, not choosing either, creating a face off between them. And finally, he wrestled with God himself.

They wrestled all night long.
That’s a long time.
Jacob wins, but then his hip is set out of socket by one touch. He was allowed to prevail.
Why? Because the goal was to bring about a new life for Jacob and bless him.
“God wins” –> that’s the Bible.
God wins by losing.
That’s the theme of the whole Bible.
Jesus’ death, Paul’s life and death in prison. Yet two of the most talked-about figures in history, still.

The picture is this:
Jacob on the ground, holding onto the man’s leg saying, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”
How ridiculous.
The man asks his name, not because he didn’t know, but because Jacob’s name is a shame to him. Every time someone asked, “what’s your name?” — he was forced to answer, “The liar. The deceiver.” And he always lived up to the title.

God blesses him anyway – “Your name shall no longer be Jacob.”
He gives him a name that’s powerful, honorable.
In the same way, we deserve to be crushed by God. But he takes us and renames us. He was in the presence of God — and his life was spared.
Jacob, just like us, was fearful of the wrong things.
We should only fear standing in front of God and saying, “my name is Jacob.”

The amazing thing is that God says, “your name is not Jacob. Your name is Israel.”
Israel – the one who has overcome with God.
And that’s what it means to be the people of God.

This is from some old sermon notes I found this morning, so I really can’t take credit. I don’t remember who gave the talk but I liked it a lot.


2 thoughts on “what’s in a name

  1. You can take the credit for posting it here and blessing me with it. You’re awesome and I’m so proud of you! Love – Dad

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