Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
Genesis 32:28 ESV
Names bear great significance in the Bible. Many times we see where God changes the name of someone to fit either who they have become, or are going to be. Jacob is no exception. God renames him Israel because in the future a whole nation and a people will bear his name.
He is named Israel because he has striven with God and men, and he prevailed. When we think of the history of God’s people from Jacob (Israel) forward, striving with God and man is a continuous state, and yet Israel continues to survive.
Names of people are changed throughout the Bible. Many times as individuals begin to follow God’s will their names are changed. God himself is called by many different names, names that reflect his attributes or activity toward his people.
So, what’s in a name? Everything. If we call ourselves “Christians” we wear a very significant name. The name of our Lord and savior, Jesus the Christ. We wear the name of the anointed one, the King. Those that follow Jesus and his teachings are called Christians. As such we represent Him before the world. We are expected to reflect our namesake. His ways are to be our ways, his actions our actions, his will our will. We are to be christ-like.
Today and every day this should be our motivation. We should live our lives for him and because of him, letting the world see Him in us. We have chosen to bear the name of the one whose name is above all other names. May our lives reflect our name change.
Meditate on these words written by Peter; But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9,10 ESV
© 2015 leo J. Woodman