First Jacob went to bed, but he couldn’t sleep, then he got up woke everybody, wives, servants and children, and the whole huge camp crossed the brook Jabok, a terrified group of people, probably with weeping young children, however Jacob stayed behind. He wanted to be alone and probably consider the situation and pray to God, this was a decisive point in Jacobs’s life.
Not an angel
Abraham also was alone when God met him and told him about his future, now Jacob stood on the north side of the brook, Jabok and God knew that this was the time to meet him, his heart’s ears were open. Then God met him, a man came and “wrestled” with him. This man was probably the same that met Abraham and revealed to him the birth of Isaac, probably Jesus in a form of a man not an angel.
A new name
This was not a fight between God and Jacob, this was God’s presences and Jacob clinging to Him in his distress, Jacob felt helpless and needed God in his despair. Jacob didn’t let go, he kept clinging onto God until the morning and God asked him to let go, but for Jacob it was now or never, and he asked God to bless him and God changed his name from Jacob, the supplanter, to Israel, ישראל , The prince of God who prevails, contending with Him. Finally, God showed Jacob that He was God by touching his thigh and Jacob let go and the Man left him alone limping, however had gained a new name of promises.
That is still His name
Jacob asked for God’s name, he wanted to be sure that this man was the real, only God. From when he was a boy, Jacob knew God’s name and had used it many times. He learned it from his father and grandfather, everyone in this area knew that the name of Abraham’s God was YHWH, in Hebrew, it is יהוה and that Of course is still His name and He will never change it.
- Does God sometimes urge us to do something?
- Do you think God wants us to address Him with his name?
- Are names important?