He was known as deceiver from the time of his birth, and lived up to this name. Jacob deceived or tricked his brother Esau into selling his birthright for a bowl of stew. Then later with the help of his mother, deceived his father into giving him, Esau’s blessing.
Jacob gets a taste of his own medicine, when his father-in-law Laban tricks Jacob on his wedding night. Giving him Leah as a bride rather than Rachel.
Later Jacob’s sons learn his ways, and deceive the men of Schecum, when Schecum takes Dina against her will. They claim they will intermarry with this nation, but only if they will be circumcised. Yet, after their circumcision, the sons of Jacob strike them, and plunder them.
Then one day, God who is rich in mercy, changes Jacob’s name. No longer will he be known as deceiver, he will be called Israel, meaning God will prevail.
As I thought upon this today, I was reminded that Jacob did nothing deserving of this new name. Yet, God in His amazing grace, gave him a new name, a new beginning.
And God does the same for each of us.
It matter not what our past is, God makes us a new creation.
Though we may have once been known as sinner, unrighteous, unforgiven, unholy, enemy of God.
When God saves us, He changes our name.
Now we are called forgiven, righteous, redeemed, holy, and child of God.
Yet, it wasn’t enough that God gave Jacob a new name. He desired that Jacob no longer live according to his old name, rather, he was to live according to his new name.
Likewise, God desires not that we continue to live according to our past, to who we once were.
No, He desires that we live in accordance to who we are in Christ!
We do not deserve this new name. We need not do anything to earn it. Yet, God supplies it by His grace.
No longer does He want us to lived defeated, empty lives according to the god of this world.
He has changed us. We are new creations. The old has passed, behold the new has come.
Therefore, may we lay aside all that entangles us, and may we run the race to which God has called us. Living as children of God, who are forgiven, redeemed, righteous, and holy.
I challenge you today to listen not to the enemy who wants to call you by who you once were. Live instead in the grace of God, according to who you are now in Christ.