Do you know where the name Israel comes from? It originated in a most remarkable manner. Abraham's grandson Jacob was the younger of two sons. Yet Jacob deceived his father Isaac into giving him the birthright. So Jacob received the blessing from his father instead of Esau, his brother.
Jacob immediately left the area, fearing his brother's anger. But twenty years later Jacob wanted to return. Hoping his brother had forgotten his deception, he sent a letter to Esau telling of his homecoming. Jacob learned that Esau, seemingly bent on revenge, was coming after him with 400 men.
Jacob now sensed that he must have assurance that he was clear of guilt before GOD. He realized that he must gain the victory over his deceptive nature, and have help from GOD to face his brother. He separated himself from his family to spend the night with GOD in prayer. It is written in the Bible that, " there wrestled a MAN with him until the breaking of the day. As they wrestled the man touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh and it went out of joint, but Jacob continued to wrestle with the man. The man said, 'let me go for the day breaks.' Jacob said, 'I will not let you go except you bless me.' The man said to him, 'what is your name?' He said, 'Jacob.' And the man said, 'you will no longer be called Jacob but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.' Jacob then called that place Peniel; for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."
Jacob realized that the man he was wrestling with was God, the Messiah. God had granted Jacob the forgiveness he needed and changed his name from Jacob, which means supplanter or deceiver, to Israel, which means prevailer with God, or overcomer with God. Jacob had a change in character, a new experience, a new birth, a new name. Each one of us that seek the Messiah for forgiveness of sins and experiences the new life that He gives us are a part of Israel, overcomers with God.
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