It had been quite a night, wrestling in his sleep with what at first Jacob thought was a man, but could only have been God. Jacob lasted the fight and won a blessing, but before the blessing, God gave Jacob a new name to remind him of the curse–the curse man and woman have known since they ate the forbidden fruit–that his will be a life of conflict with creation, creatures, and Creator. God gave Jacob a lifelong reminder, “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). Israel means “the one who struggles with God.” and that was Jacob, who looked out only for himself, wrestled with God, and triumphed over others by conquest. Just like the rest of us.
We need a new name to follow and there is another, a Name above every name, one who offers us a different way. When Jesus says, “Follow me” (Matthew 9:9), he isn’t saying merely get up, but turn around, because we are headed the wrong direction, following the wrong name. Rather than looking out for ourselves like Israel, Jesus looks out for others. Rather than wrestling with God, Jesus listens to His Father. Rather than triumph by conquest, Jesus triumphs by serving.
Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” ~Matthew 11:29
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Son, my Savior, the Name above all names. Thank You for Your grace, that You came to seek and save the lost. Me!
God, teach me to serve others, to love others. Father, may I stop the struggle and surrender to Your ways. May I serve You by serving others. May I overcome the curse by being a blessing in Your Name.