“The Lord watch between you and me, when we are absent one from another” (Genesis 31:49
In the Bible a man’s name set him apart from all others and establishes his personal identify. Each of us has a name. Each is different from another. Even if there are two people named John in the room their name still sets them apart from the others and each has a different personality which is defined by their name.
My name means “lost sinner,” so what can I do? Is there any hope for such a one as I? Yes, indeed there is a hope for you and me! A man who had a name like yours had a terrible contest at midnight with an angel, and they wrestled until break of day. His thigh was put out of joint at the touch of his divine antagonist, and all he could do was to cling helplessly. They could struggle no more, but in faith he cried out, “I will not let you go, except you bless me.” and then the angel asked, “What is your name?”
Ah, that was the worst question of all! Hanging his head, as we may well believe, for the shame that was in his heart, he answered “Jacob.” What did it mean? Why, Jacob meant “supplanter,” and every time his name was spoken, his acts and character were made known. He was the man who had lied to his father and had cheated his brother out of his birthright. He had stolen the blessing that belonged to another and had tired to supplant him in the affection of his father. So now, in the darkness by the Jabbok River, alone with one whom he now knows to be more than man, he faces the ultimate question, “What is your name?” He answers truthfully and with sadness, “Jacob” the Supplanter!
But friend of mine, listen to the enfolding mercy of God which brings him forgiveness for all the past because of present victory: “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince you have power with God and with men, and have prevailed” (Genesis 32:28).
How glad we can be today for the men whose names have been changed by the forgiving mercy of God! Old things have passed away and all things have become new to those who are in Christ (see II Corinthians 5:17). Like wrestling Jacob, we must find out strength in surrender to Christ.