In Genesis 25 we find an account detailing the birth of twin brothers, Jacob and Esau. The first was named solely after his physical appearance, Esau. If he were alive today, we would translate his name "hairy" or probably "Harry" just for his sake. The second twin grabbed hold of the first's heel, and would be called Jacob, meaning supplanter. This deceitful connotation would foreshadow Jacob's future as a master manipulator. Imagine growing up knowing your name pretty much implied "liar." You can see how that would shape the personality and character of a child. Studies show that the words spoken into the life of a child will develop and shape his mind and personality.
Esau was a hunter by trade, and hard work yielded a great appetite. Jacob, more of a momma's boy had prepared some pottage that must have smelled delicious to starving Esau. Because he despised his birthright, he traded his future for a bowl of soup to Jacob...the supplanter. Fast-forward many years as Jacob's father Isaac (Israel) lies on his death bed. As tradition would have it, the first born would be blessed and receive his birthright. Isaac requested his eldest hunt and prepare his signature dish before the ceremony would begin. While out, Jacob girds himself with hairy goatskin to feel and smell like Esau to his dim-eyed father. His voice would betray him, so Isaac asks the question that will shape Jacob's life: What is you name?
As the scripture tells, Jacob lied (go figure) and claimed his name to be Esau. The events to follow would drive him from his home in fear. God has a way of "working all things together for good" and begins to fulfill his promise to Jacob while serving his uncle Laban. God instructs Jacob back to his hometown, and an old fear arises...what about Esau? Can you picture it? Jacob alone seeing that figure approaching...was it Esau? A stranger? He raises his staff in defense as the wrestling match that would last till morning commences. Jacob's thigh is injured, but he still holds on. "I won't let go until you bless me!"
When Jacob encounters deity, he is asked in Genesis 32:27 "what is your name?" Funny. That's not the first time he's been asked this question, but it's also not the first time Jacob has asked for a blessing. But now the hardships of life and some maturity have allowed Jacob to own his flawed identity. Here he replies, "Jacob." Supplanter. Deceiver. Manipulator. Upon this confession, God changes Jacob's name to Israel "God prevails." He who once relied upon his own ability to supplant, may now rest in the prevailing power of God, with whom he is prince.
1. Not every opponent is your adversary.
We give Satan way more credit than he is due. There will be times along your journey when God, himself will stand before your road of blessing. The one who promised "no good thing will he withhold" wants to see just how much faith you actually have in the Promise Keeper. A spiritual wrestling match may not be someone trying to steal your blessing; it could be God trying to prove your belief. Don't let go!
2. A wrestle with God will forever affect your walk.
Sorry Staples, but not every problem has a "That Was Easy" button. The reason many Christians will never receive what God has for them is because they are not willing to wrestle through then night for it. Right when the fight gets hard, we spiritualize a loss by saying "I guess God doesn't want me to have this." It's more likely God wants to know if you're desperate enough to cling tightly to him. When you do, you'll find the morning breaking, the night dissipating, and your walk forever changed. This battle scar won't allow your victory to be forgotten. The wound that you can showcase as a trophy of God's grace. The permanent weakness where your faith must fall on the God who prevails.
3. The I Am must change who you think you are.
Remember back when Jacob pretended to be someone else in order to come out on top? How did that work out for him? We find insecurities, fears, and doubt at war within us, fighting who God has created us to be. We live a lie, deceiving all around us for a time, but the truth always comes out. Face to face with Jesus, we are forced to admit who we really are. But blessings are not contingent upon who I have become, but upon who He is. Recognition of my wretchedness allows God to rename me and remake me. The I Am can make me into more than I could ever pretend to be. Jacob stepped into the battle believing his greatest need was to escape those he had deceived. He left the battle realizing his great need for faith in the promises of God. Fear of man shifts to fear of God.