I like Jacob in the Bible for the oddest reason. I must admit that he had an extremely audacious character. First, by stealing his brother’s birthright and second, by demanding a blessing from God.
In Genesis 32:22-32 Jacob wrestles with God. The two began wrestling from night until daybreak and when God demanded Jacob to let Him go, he responded, “I will not let you go unless you bless me (Gen. 32:26).”
What boldness! Not only was Jacob bold enough to wrestle with God, but He said the only way he would stop is if God blessed him.
Well, God did provide Jacob with a blessing: he changed his name from Jacob to Israel. A name change may not seem as if it has much significance, but it does. Beginning with the Old Testament and ending with the New Testament, God changed several people’s names.
The significance in having a name change represented that the person had changed. That God was going to bring them into deeper levels of success and a greater abundance of blessings. Let’s take a look:
Before being Abraham, his name was Abram. God changed his name through a covenant stating that Abraham would “be the father of many nations (Gen. 17:3-4),” kings would come from him (Gen. 17:6), and that God would “give an everlasting possession” to Abraham and to descendants after him (Gen. 17:8).
Before being Sarah, Abraham’s wife name was Sarai. God changed her name saying, “I will bless her and will surely give you [Abraham] a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations, kings of people will come from her (Gen. 17:16).”
And in the New Testament, Paul was first known as Saul (Acts 13:9). It wasn’t until he started walking in righteousness that God rename him to Paul. Although he faced struggles while spreading the gospel, we can see he was blessed abundantly.
God did not change Jacob’s name without cause. He did it because it represented a covenant, a life promised with blessings. Jacob wanted to be blessed and he didn’t give up. He pressed in and kept trying until finally, he received the blessing he wanted.
This is a lesson we can all learn from. In the midst of our struggles and hardships we must continue pressing on until we receive God’s blessings. Difficult times may arise; however, as God told Jacob in Genesis 17, if we overcome we will be blessed abundantly by Him.