The man said, “Let me go, because it’s daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I won’t let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked, “What is your name?” and he answered, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “From now on, you will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; because you have shown your strength to both God and men and have prevailed.-Genesis 32:27-29
Up until now, Jacob had always prevailed over men through his own craftiness and strength.
However, during his wrestling match with God, Jacob realized he was dealing with something more than mere flesh and blood.
His normal ways of doing things weren’t going to work this time.
He knew he had no choice but to give up.
Not only did he have to surrender all of his fleshly pride, he had to release all of his fears and anxieties to God.
However, this wasn’t going to be easy.
We are told that Jacob fought God all night until daybreak.
However, just before finally throwing in the towel, he asked to be blessed.
As a result of yielding to God, Jacob was given a new name.
From being called “Jacob“, which means “cunning deceiver“, he would now be called “Israel” meaning “one who prevails with God“.
No more would he depend on himself.
He would now rest fully in the power of God.
This is the true meaning of ISRAEL.
This story is also symbolic for all believers.
I don’t care who you are, all of us, without exception must go through a time when we will fight God tooth and nail over the right to control our lives.
But once we surrender, the blessings that result will have made the struggle more than worth it.
Keep in mind though, that we will have to pay a price to leave behind our rebellious past and move forward to the new life that God has called us to.
Until his last days, Jacob would walk with a limp as he crossed over into the promised land.
Victory with God is achieved only by the defeat of ourselves.
That is exactly what Jacob went through.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah,
he is a new creation — the old has passed;
look, what has come is fresh and new!
-2 Corinthians 5:17
Then Yeshua called the crowd and his disciples to him and said,
“If anyone wants to come after me,
let him say ‘No’ to himself,
take up his execution-stake, and keep following me.
For whoever wants to save his own life will destroy it,
but whoever destroys his life for my sake
and for the sake of the Good News will save it.