Jacob received a new name from God. His old name meant “deceiver” and was an apt description of his life. But after a mysterious encounter with God, Jacob was never the same. He received a new name that reflected God’s grace to him and his descendants. Encountering God leads to a fundamental change of identity and purpose.
Here are some of my notes from time in the Word:
- This family keeps moving east (Gen. 3:24; 4:16; 11:2; 13:11; 29:1; 32:22) further away from the Promised Land the presence of God.
- Before God would use Jacob, he had to change Jacob.
- “For you have striven with God and with men” is a great description of the man and the nation coming behind him (Gen. 32:28).
- God wanted to use Jacob’s determination but with Israel’s brokenness.
- Being renamed meant being reborn. In this day and time, it indicated a new identity (Gen. 32:28).
- God wrestles (ye’abeq) with Jacob (ya’aqob) by the Jabbok (yabboq).
- God picks the fight (Gen. 32:24).
- There isn’t a fight that God doesn’t start and finish.
- God allows this fight to prolong to the point where Jacob is exhausted and has come to his end completely. A perfect place to start again.
- You don’t walk away from an encounter with God without a limp (Gen. 32:31).
- Grace ensures we will never be the same.
- It is not enough to rid yourself of other gods, you must bury them (Gen. 35:3-4).
- God presents himself as El Shaddai (God Almighty) to Jacob (Gen. 35:11) just as he did to Abraham (Gen. 17:1) and Isaac (Gen. 28:3).
- God’s blessings are never meant to be hoarded (Gen. 35:9).
- God gives Jacob a blessing (Gen. 35:9), a new identity (Gen. 35:10), and a responsibility (Gen. 35:11).
- Jacob, who had one time ran from his family, now returns as Israel limping towards them.