There is so much meaning in a name. My name means “worthy of love.” In Biblical days, names were given – and more often than not, the person the name was given to lived up to their name. This week, we are talking about Jacob who God changed to Israel- and how important his name was.
When we first meet Jacob, we find him wrestling in the womb with his brother Esau. He is born second, and so, he is not to inherit the birthright. Yet, his mama has other plans. Instead of letting God work out the plan to bring the promise through Jacob, like He said He would, she works up a plan to deceive Issac into giving the birthright to Jacob. The name Jacob means deceiver – and, maybe like most traits, this is one Jacob inherited from Rebekah. The deception that Jacob and his Mom pull off requires Jacob to run for his life.
That is where he meets Laban. And falls in love with the beautiful Rachel. So, as custom would call, he works for Laban for seven years. After seven years, Jacob is decieved and he marries Leah instead. He works for seven more years and gets the hand of Rachel. There is a lot that goes on between those two sisters- but that is a different story for a different day.
Jacob is then instructed to leave by God. To go back to his homeland. Instead of being honest with his Father in Law – he runs away. Laban is furious and catches up to him, and even though they are able to work things out, it still isn’t the story of one who prevails for truth and justice. It sounds more like the story of one following anyone but the One True God.
If that isn’t enough- Jacob sends a note to his brother Esau, to see if his brother still hates him. He finds out his brother is on his way to meet him – with 400 men. Jacob, acting in fear, sends the women and children on ahead. He sent gifts. He prayed.
That night, he had the wrestling match of his life. How many times have I felt like my pillow and my bed were really a wrestling match with the Lord. It is there, when all is quiet, that we are still. It is there that the Lord can often get our attention. We have so many distractions in today’s world. Yet, what surprises me is that the tactic and timing to get Jacob’s attention was the same then as it is now. At night. When all is quiet. When you should be sleeping.
God gives sweet rest and peace to those who take the time to spend with Him. However, when we are frantic, and trying to figure out details, and not being still, we don’t hear the calling of God in our hearts. So, like Jacob, we have to be kept awake to wrestle with the thoughts and feelings that are inside us.
As the dawn came approaching, it was time to end the match. However, Jacob was not going to be left in fear again of the unkonwn. He wasn’t going to stop seeking until he had the answer- until he knew God was going with him – until he knew he had been blessed.
What is that thing that you need to be persistent over? That you need to seek the face of God, and not get up until you know your answer? We all have them. The tough things in our life are important. The book of James says:
James 1:3- 6 “…the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.5 f any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”
We are going to struggle. We are going to have hard times. The testing of your faith produces steadfastness. Patience. It is going to take time to have these things grow in you – and through that time- there are going to be easy seasons and hard seasons. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything- to dance, to cry, to be happy, to mourn.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6 ESV)
If you have accepted Christ, and surrendered to Him, you are His. He has begun a work in you – and He will finish it. We need to remember that we are new creature. Just like Jacob, our names have been changed. We have been adopted by the Blood of the Lamb. We are His.
What area of life do you see God changing as you wrestle with Him? Chime in below – I would love to be able to pray for you in the comments!
Check out the other post from the GMG Team (this will be edited as the post go live!)
Courtney: Go and Make Disciples of All Nations
Misty: Lies and Deceit
Bridget: Time Can Heal All Things
Rosilind: 3 Ways to Avoid Becoming An Esau
Worshiping With My Life,