JACOB OR ISRAEL
Genesis 32:26, “And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”
Jacob had lived his life according to his name, Jacob; the deceiver, the manipulator, the conniver, the trickster. He had accumulated much wealth by this method, but he had also created many enemies by this method and he was now alone.
He knew God, he loved God, but he still was a deceiver. He understood that God had cared for him in spite of his deceitful ways during all his travels and wanderings, Now, on this morning after a night of wrestling with God, as daylight begins to break, he pleads with God to bless him. This was a morning of change. This was a morning that would make a difference. This was a new morning for Jacob, for he would no longer be Jacob the deceiver. He would be Israel, a prince with God. He had wrestled with God and won. Wow! How does a man win when wrestling with God? He humbles himself.
Does that mean that Jacob (Israel) never deceived again? Does that mean that Israel never lied again? Does that mean that he was now sinless in his actions, attitudes and words? NO! But it does mean that he was humbled. We read in the verses that follow our text that God put Israel’s hip out of joint, and he walked with a limp the remainder of his life. That limp was a constant reminder that he had been humbled by God and was now a prince with God.
The Bible reminds us that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6 cf. Proverbs 3:34). The word “proud” carries the idea of stiff, haughty, above others, unpliable. The proud are just that way. They do not need instruction. The listen to instruction only to verify their own goodness and to also verify the guilt of others. They are above learning, they are already at the pinnacle and need no other training.
The word “humble” carries the idea of pliablility. The humble are always ready to learn. They understand that they have not attained and that they constantly need molded and remolded and remolded again. They understand that though their sins are forgiven eternally, they still sin and still need daily forgiveness. That is why they love 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
The question we need to ask ourselves is this: Am I a new man or the same old man? Am I a new creature in Christ or am I the same old sinner as when I was born? Am I changed because of my encounter with Christ or am I the same stubborn person I was before I met Christ?
I am not even asking if you are saved. I’m asking if you are really different. Have the old things passed away and are all things becoming new? Are you a prince with God?
Jacob was now Israel. He was not the same old Jacob.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus make me a new creature in Christ. May the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart and the actions of my body be acceptable in Your sight. May they be visible to those around me! And may they glorify Your name!
GOD IS DOING A GREAT THING IN YOU!
Romans 8:28-30, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
We serve such a great and loving God. What an awesome Father He is to those who are His children by faith in Jesus Christ. Because He is God, He can and does control all things. He controls all the events surrounding your life. He works all things together for your good and His Glory. Even when you don’t see it that way you can trust that it is that way because your Heavenly Father is working things out.
That financial setback that you have been asking God to remove. That disease which is taking our loved one and you have pled with God to cure it. That challenge at work, or school or church or in the community which plagues you constantly and God has not yet removed. God is working all things together for good.
One man tells of an incident in his life where he found himself in great financial debt and he determined to remove himself from it, He also prayed for 2 years that God would miraculously take care of this debt, and God chose not to do so. He recognized that God was working in his life to mold and make him into just what God wanted. Not removing the debt was part of God’s plan. Allowing that man to slowly pay it off over a period of two years was part of God’s plan. Learning to wait on God was part of God’s ultimate plan.
We live in a world of immediate fixes. We have instant access to almost everything. And when we finally realize something needs to change we want it changed now.
God lives above this world and He sees the end from the beginning. He has a MASTER PLAN which we cannot see. And He is working that plan out in the lives of each of His children.
Our text mentions this plan. In verses 28 we see God is dealing with you, Christian. God knew that you would trust Christ as your Savior. He called you. In verse 29 we see that in that knowledge God predestined you to be conformed to the image of His Son. You are being made like Christ. Finally in verse 30 we see the entire plan. You trusted Christ, God predestined you to Christ-likeness because you trusted Christ. God has called you, justified you, and will ultimately glorify you.
This is a process. It is not necessarily quick, but it will be complete – Philippians 1:6
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, Help me to be accepting of your plan in my life. Cause me to relax and let You work all things for good in my life. I understand that You will complete this process. Do not let me hinder You in any way. Remove all sin from my life and everything that brings dishonor to You. Thank you for salvation, regeneration, justification, and for my final glorification. Don’t let me mess this up.
In Jesus Name, Amen!