When Jacob wrestled with God (Genesis 32:30, 32, Hosea 12:4-5), he clung on to God and would not let go of him unless he was blessed. To this, God responds and asks for his name. God asked “What is thy name?” Jacob answered the question and said that his name was “Jacob” which means supplanter or deceiver. To this God replied and rechristens Jacob saying that “you will no longer be called Jacob, but instead you shall be called Israel, for as a prince you have power with (not over) God and with man and have prevailed”. To this Jacob asks God, what is your name. I pray that you tell me your name. Instead of answering that questions as God did, by saying that he is the “I AM”, when Moses asked the same question, God counter-questions him asking “Why do you ask for my name?” and then proceeds to bless Israel there.
From this account, we can learn a few things.
God wants us to acknowledge who we are. The omniscience of God would not have required him to ask for Jacob’s name, yet he did. Until then, Jacob, the deceiver had fooled his father by telling him that he was Esau, to rob Esau of his blessings. Now, he was in a predicament where he could not lie to God, the Father of all (Ephesians 4:6), and he acknowledges and accepts who he is (a deceiver), that he is Jacob. So the first thing God does is not remind Jacob of who he is, but instead rechristens him and gives him a new name, likening him to be a prince. Other scriptures substantiate the rechristening act of God. Abram was rechristened Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Saul was rechristened as Paul and when Simon recognized that Jesus was indeed the son of God he was rechristened as Peter (“Rock”). Additionally, we learn that right after God rechristened Jacob to be Israel, he blesses him. In other words, blessings succeeds rebirth/rechristening.
Points to ponder:
When we accept our sinful state before God, the Father, and confess of our unworthiness of his mercy as Jacob did (Genesis 32:10), he gives us another name (Isaiah 65:15), a new name (Rev 2:17), one better than that of sons and daughters (of men) that is everlasting (Isaiah 56:5), as children of God (1 John 3:1), one that is designated by God himself (Isaiah 62:2), As children of God, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, we are prince and princesses. God’s name (Rev 3:12). God’s name is I AM (Exodus 3:14) and Jesus said before Abraham was, I AM (John 8:58). Jesus is God and the Lord is his name (Hosea 12:4-5).
Before man had sinned, blessings preceded naming (Genesis 5:1-2). Now in the fallen state of man, because of man’s sin and disobedience, blessings follows rebirth, that happen when one acknowledges their sinful state and accepts the Lord Jesus (),
So the question that demands an answer now is Are you rechristened by God? What is your name? Who are you?
Genesis 32:27-29 (KJV)
27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.