God Changed Jacob
Watch the Bible story video or read all or parts of Genesis 32:1 - 33:20 from the Bible.
READ: Have you ever been afraid because you felt like a duck was watching you? If so, you suffer from Anatidaephobia , which is the scientific name for that fear. And did you know that Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is the fear of really, really long words? It’s just cruel to give that fear such a long name.
The truth is that we all have fears—some that might seem silly like these, and some that are very, very real. This week, we learned that Jacob’s biggest fear was meeting his brother Esau again after hiding from him for twenty years. After all of Jacob’s lies and tricks, and Esau’s threats to kill him, Jacob’s fears were not silly at all.
As he prepared to meet Esau, Jacob prayed to God for protection. That night, a mysterious man wrestled with Jacob for hours. Although the man was stronger than Jacob, Jacob prevailed. Finally, at daybreak, the man wounded Jacob’s side and then God blessed Jacob and changed his name to Israel. God changed Jacob’s name, but even more, He changed his heart. From that moment on, Jacob would look more to God for help than rely on himself.
The limp that Jacob had for the rest of his life was a gracious reminder of his need to do this. When Jacob cried out to God, God was there to help. Like God was there for Jacob, He is here for us. We do not have to fear the punishment of sin because Jesus has died in our place and paid that punishment. When we trust in Jesus, God forgives us and gives us a new identity. From that moment on, we live as chosen, forgiven, and loved children of God.
God changed Jacob’s life and gave him a new name, Israel. Jesus came so that we might have a changed life, forgiven of sin. Jesus’ death and resurrection provided sinful people the way to be adopted into God’s family. When we trust in Jesus, we also receive a new name—children of God.
PRAY: God, thank You for loving us even though we do not deserve it. You sent Jesus to die in our place so that we could be forgiven and accepted into Your family. Help us to trust in Jesus so that we can live with the new identity that You want us to have.