What Was Your Name?

Gen 32: 24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.   25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him.   26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”   27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.”   28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”   29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.   30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”  

I Love when God confirms something that He showed me earlier in another’s sermon.  Today was actually the 3rd confirmation this week.  That makes me very excited to share with you a message from this pretty familiar story, but with God’s latest spin.  Here we find Jacob at a very transformational point of his life; he’s about to face what he believes to be his imminent death.  Instead he encounters God and the results that followed are awesome.  Let’s jump right in.

Jacob Thought He Was Alone:  We see here in the text “Then Jacob was left alone.”  There are several things that jump off the page here.  Jacob finds himself by himself; sometimes this is scary to us, because we are often our own worst enemy.  If we look back at Jacob’s life, we’ll find that he has never really been alone, so this concept is unfamiliar to him.  Jacob from the womb has always been with somebody else; his twin brother Esau has always been by his side.  He grew up in a house with an overbearing mother who was always around and even when he found his wife it was at his uncle’s home (where he would stay for 14 years and ended up with two wives).  For many of us our busyness is a way to keep us from being left by ourselves.  Like Jacob, God has put many of us in a circumstance where we are isolated and alone an unfamiliar situation.  Social Distancing has forced many of us to be ALONE for the first time in our lives.  Or even worse, you’re around a group of people, yet you still feel ALONE: You’re a child in a family but feel like a stranger, like no one around you really see’s you or what you’re going thru.  You’re in a marriage; yet you feel ALONE, your Husband/Wife don’t really know who you are, don’t pay attention to your needs; they take you for granted; or you just feel like you’re fending for yourself.  Maybe you’re an employee of a company and everyone there seems to be completely different from you; they don’t hear your ideas or acknowledge your efforts.  When you’re not in the office, it seems like nobody even misses you.  Are you like Jacob; do you find yourself ALONE today?

Jacob Was Never Alone: Even though Jacob had nobody else around, he was never alone: Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.   The truth is Jacob was at a very vulnerable time in his life and while he felt by himself; God was there with him!!  God is also with you Employee; God is also with you Son/Daughter; God is also with you Husband/Wife.  God has never left you alone (Deut 31:6); but as a good friend told me this week; God came after Jacob, just like He does for you and I.  And when God showed Himself to Jacob; He wrestled with him (a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day).  The word wrestled is defined as:  1. to take part in a fight, either as sport or in earnest, that involves grappling with one’s opponent and trying to throw or force them to the ground.  2. struggle with a difficulty or problem.

God knew Jacob had a problem/a struggle and He showed Himself in order to deal with both Jacob and it.  Likewise, God has been wrestling with us and with some of our struggles for a long time.  We’re never ALONE because God will not leave us alone especially in our current state.

Are you wrestling with God today?  If so, there are three things we have to take from this Divine Wrestling Match:

God Wanted to Touch Jacob: God never does anything without purpose.  If you’re like me, you have asked God many times WHY am I going thru this?  Understand God is always about purpose and everything you go thru has purpose (Rom 8:28).  God’s touch impacts the way we function. He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him.  Jacob’s hip socket worked a certain way since his birth; for all of his years this socket functioned one way.  As a matter of fact, this socket functioned just like everyone else’s hip socket; until God touched him. However, after God’s touch Jacob’s socket would never work the same anymore; his socket worked differently (a notable difference) from everyone else around him.  God touched his hip socket, but that socket impacted the way he would walk forever.  God is trying to touch us so that our Walk will be different; noticeably different than those around us.  If you’re wrestling with God; hold on until God touches you.

God Wanted to Bless Jacob: God’s wrestling was to get Jacob to a point where he could receive “The Blessing”.  And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me! Just for clarity; when the text refers to He; this is God talking Let Me go, for the day break.   Why is God telling Jacob to let go?  I believe God wanted to see just how long Jacob was willing to hold on to Him.  Are you willing to Hold on to God?  Even though you feel left alone; things are not going good in your life; this COVID 19 has left you out of work or even sick; maybe you’ve lost a loved on to the virus…. will you hold on to Him??  Like Jacob God wants to see us humbled enough to ask God for what we need.  Jacob replies, I will not let You go unless You bless me; he was about to face his biggest fear (read about him meeting with Esau; Gen 31 & 32) and he needed a blessing from God.  Are you willing to lay down your pride and ask God to bless you… While holding on long enough to see “The Blessing” manifest????

God Wanted to Name Jacob: So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”  While God wrestled with Jacob something interesting happened; He asked Jacob a question.  “What is your name?”  I believe God is asking us the same question today, “What is your name?”  Why??  Is it because we’ve learned how to hide behind our name, our persona, our portrayal of who we are?  Or maybe it is because of how difficult it is for many of us to answer truthfully.  Look at Jacob’s response, of course he gives the name he’s been called all his life, Jacob.  But there is so much more in this answer that we all need to understand when we answer this question.  Jacob means trickster, sup-planter, heal grabber, con artist.  Jacob’s answer revealed ot only how he saw himself but what he did to so many.  While I’m not sure what your answer would be; if I’m honest it might be liar, cheater, insecure, bad father, lazy employee, failure as a spouse, abused child, weak Christian and maybe so many other things.  God already knows how we really feel about ourselves, what we’ve done in our past and even how other’s see and perceive us.  God wants us to be honest with Him.  Because He loves us and wants to declare over us today, just like He did for Jacob; “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” God declares today that We are the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor 5:21); More than Conquerors (Rom 8:37); Never forsaken (Deut 31:6); Chosen, Holy & Royal (1 Pet 2:9).  God has given us a new name for our new walk; but we must receive it and be not afraid to be different.

If you’re feeling alone today; isolated from family, friends and society; please remember that you’re not alone; God is right there with you.  He desires to Wrestle with you in your struggles and problems.  You were not designed to go thru this alone.  When we acknowledge this, are transparent with God and with ourselves; God can then Touch us, Bless us and Give us His Name and when He does… Our Life Will Change.  We will walk differently, talk differently, treat others differently and receive from God differently.  We will no longer act out of our insecurities and pain but out of God’s Abundance!!!!

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