2/3 Genesis 35:10-11

10 And God said to him, "Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name. "So he called his name Israel. 11 And God said to him, "I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body.


God is out to transform you and me. It is the theme of the entire Bible. We fell from our original sinless state, from Eden into depravity. We are separated from God. But the grace of God reaches to us and works in our lives to change us. Jacob means "supplanter." After twenty years under someone as scheming as himself, a wrestling match with God, and an encounter with near death, Jacob is ready to become "one who rules as God." That is the meaning of his new name, "Israel." The nation will be named after him.

God reveals Himself to us in His names. Right after changing Jacob's name, God declared that His own name is El Shaddai, which means "God all-powerful." Only He can change a person's heart. He orchestrates events in our lives to humble us and cause us to look to Him for our needs. God is preparing us for a life of eternal significance now and for eternity in His presence. With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Consider: Can you look back and see the invisible hand of God shaping your life? Jacob was limping because of his encounter with God, but that is what he needed to stop relying on his own clever schemes. The time during which he spent working for his shrewd uncle was a tool of God. Have there been people in your life who caused you so much frustration that you, too, cried out to God? All the difficulty we encounter can work for our eternal good. Learn to trust in God Almighty. He can finish the work He has started in you. He is bringing you home.