Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Genesis 32:26-27 ESV
All Jacob’s life he had struggled for blessings. Jacob had tricked Esau, his older brother into selling him the right of the first born (Quite a significant financial advantage in his day). Later when their father had decided to give Esau the family blessing, Jacob ran in ahead of Esau and fooled his blind father into giving him that blessing instead. When news of Jacob’s deceit got to Esau there was murder in his heart and Jacob fled to his mother’s family. So, instead of getting his father’s blessings he spent 20 years working for his uncle Laban. In today’s verse, Jacob was finally and totally alone in his struggle with God’s angel.
By this time, he was entirely out of strength and yet he hung on to his attacker, refusing to let him go. Jacob had gotten so much along the way. He was rich; he had married the girl of his dreams and had many sons and daughters. Jacob had all these accomplishments, but he feared his brother Esau. He had so much stuff and yet so little of God’s blessing of peace. As Jacob continued to struggle the angel finally agrees to bless him, but not as Jacob had imagined. Instead of giving him more things, the angel changed Jacob’s name.
“Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Genesis 32:28
What a strange victory God had planned for Jacob, and He has that same strange and yet wonderful victory available for you and me. Whenever we truly meet with God, we come away with a new name, a new future and a new hope. When we choose a name, that name can be changed. But when God chooses our name, it sticks forever. The name God offers to give us is our greatest blessing, because it is written down in Heaven. It is the name that Jesus calls us when we find him by faith and refuse to let go! What is your name?