“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.’”
– Genesis 32:28
As many of us return to our routine after the excitement and bustle of the holidays, I think it’s a good idea to focus on our identity in Jesus Christ. There can be a slump at the start of the year, with the cold of winter and the end of the warmth of Christmas, but I want to challenge you with the fact that in the Lord, you have a new name.
In the Old Testament, names were given as a form of identification, and they often served as a label for a person. This was certainly the case for Jacob. His name, which translates “one who grabs the heel,” identified him in the Hebrew language as a trickster, a deceiver, and a shrewd one. His whole life, he fought to get ahead, to come out on top, to catch the heel of the one before him, and to battle his way to a blessing. What a relief it must have been, then, when God gave him a new name — Isreal — as a sign of His continual favor in his life. Now, rather than wrestling and fighting to get ahead in the world, the Lord identified Jacob as His own and invited him to bring battles straight to His feet. Instead of forcing his way through the world, Jehovah called his servant blessed and granted him direct access to His presence. This was good news for Jacob, because He was finally working with and not against the source of all power, might, and influence!
My friend, as you embrace this year, even when the days are dark and cold, remember that God has given you a new name. You are seen, known, and chosen to carry His light, joy, and love to the world. Your identity is secure and you are firmly planted so you no longer have to fight for significance, worth, or value. He has written your name on His Hand and He holds you close in His heart. He loves you more than you can imagine, and that love can empower and propel you to live each day to the fullest!
Jesus, thank you for giving me a new name and for inscribing my identity on your heart.
What does your new name in Jesus mean to you?
Scripture Correction: Verse 28