As we approach Easter, I [Mandy] am reminded of the story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis (Chapter 25, verse 19). To quickly recap: Jacob and Esau were twin brothers. Esau was born first with Jacob clutching Esau's heel. Because of this, Jacob's name means "Deceiver". And boy does Jacob ever live up to his name! The first-born boy in the Jewish culture received the father's blessing. Jacob wanted the blessing so badly, he begged and connived to get it all his life. One day, Jacob and his mother devised a plan to trick Jacob's father into given Esau's blessing to Jacob.
Once Esau heard that Jacob had stolen his blessing, he vowed to kill Jacob as soon as their father died (Chapter 27). Jacob's mother sends Jacob away to save his life. Fast forward 20 long years...Jacob heads home again. But, as Jacob discovers, time has done othing to alleviate Esau's vengeful spirit.
Jacob prays to God, hoping to remind God of His promise to protect and prosper Jacob (Genesis 32:9-12).
That's a good thing!
But then...then Jacob is left with too much time to think...and that thinking only led to more trouble. Jacob, with all this quiet time on his hands, decided to come up with a "Plan B". He divided up all his belongings including man and maidservants, animals, etc. He sends everyone up ahead in the hopes that he can bribe his brother Esau into not harming Jacob (Genesis 32:13-21).
That's not a good thing!
After sending everyone up ahead of himself, he stays behind at the camp. That night he is attacked by an angel (Genesis 32:22). They wrestle all night. And the word used in the original text for "wrestle" illicits a vision of tusseling in such a way that you cannot tell whose legs or arms are whose. And there were probably tears of frustration.
As they wrestle all night, with Jacob holding his own, the angel demands that Jacob lets him go. Then the angel touches Jacob and dislocates his hip.
In that moment, I think Jacob realizes that this angel isn't an ordinary guy. It becomes painfully apparent (literally) that whoever he has spent the night wrestling is a heavenly being.
Jacob demands a blessing from the angel (there he goes again after a blessing), but the angel askes Jacob what his name is.
Really? This being who can dislocate a hip in one touch...who is most assuredly of God...has to ask Jacob what his name is?
I think it's so beautiful and such a great example of how God is with all of us:
It isn't until Jacob admits who he is: Jacob; Deceiver, that God tells him, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."
I have felt God ask me that same thing before: "What's your name?"
And once I admit to Him who I really am: a Deceiver, a cheat, a liar, a failure, a sinner who has fallen short of the glory of God, He tells me I am no longer those things, but instead, I am forgiven.
The blood of Jesus has washed me clean of my sin.
Because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, I am now called a Child of God.
Have you acknowledged who you are before God and allowed Him to give you a new identity in Christ?
If not, you can right now:
Father, we thank you for the opportunity to come before You. We ask that You will reveal to us where we need to admit who we really are...and who we aren't. Please impress upon us that we have the opportunity to come before Your throne. You sacrificed Your Son so that we can be made new. Like Jacob, You have given us a new name under Christ. Please be with every woman reading this and speak to her heart: let her know that she is worthy because You loved her enough to send Your Son to die for our sins. Thank You so much, Father. Words will never be enough to thank You. In Jesus's name, Amen.
We pray you have a blessed Easter and spend some meaningful time reflecting on Christ's sacrifice for all of us.
Check out the companion video on YouTube.