Jacob said, “I’ve fixed things all my life, but I’ve got something I can’t fix. It’s caused me all kinds of pain and loss. I’m tired of the chaos it’s caused in my relationships. I’m not letting go until you bless me!”
So, God responded…
Genesis 32:27 – … “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered.
In Old Testament times, names were more than labels. They represented a person’s character. Jacob had lived up to his name as a complete heel. When he said, “My name is Jacob,” it was a form of surrender, a confession of who he was and what he had become.
Transformation happens when we humbly confess.
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.
James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Deception and confession are opposites. If deception is hiding in the shadows, confession is out in the open sunlight. Deception is a kind wrestling and fighting. Confession is a kind of agreement. We get in alignment with God.
When we are transformed by God’s grace we have a new identity.
What if your parents gave you a name that signified your greatest flaw. “Hey, bitter one. It’s time to eat.” “Hey, lazy. Let’s get ready for school.” “Hey, Mrs. Insecurity, let’s go.” “Hey, aimless one.” “Hey, slowpoke.”
The shipping label on Jacobs’s FedEx package, directing the destination of his life was, “Heel.” On that night, God changed his name and future.
Genesis 32:28 – Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
Most scholars believe Israel means, “Wrestles with God.” It communicates a determined clinging – being bound with a bond of love to God. You might say Israel means, “I’m not letting go.”
And yet this transformation is about much more than personal identity. Jacob came out of the womb, taking what didn’t belong to him. We can’t blame his dad and mom for all his problems. Something was broke down deep inside. The Bible tells us all of us were born in transgressions and sin. No one taught us to lie, cheat, steal, or be selfish. The first word we learned to say for most of us was, “Mine!”
God blessed Jacob that night, and he became a different person. That same transformation is possible for you. But unlike Jacob, we don’t have to wrestle and fight for it. God left heaven and came to our world to get close to us. He went to the cross to fight for us when we had no power. Jesus died and rose again victorious. He defeated sin and death, and now through faith in Jesus, we can be forever free. No more striving, just believing and receiving his work of love. When that happens, all things become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!