In this week’s Torah portion Vayishlach (He sent) Jacob wrestles with the angel of the LORD. The end result? His name was changed from Yaakov (a holder of the heel/a follower) to Israel (struggle with God). It also speaks to “prevailing”.
In Genesis 32 we read:
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
In Scripture, when an individual received a name change, it not only spoke to a change in that person’s nature but it also had meaning for his mission/destiny. Jacob had indeed lived a life of struggle beginning from the womb but he always prevailed. How much more so after that encounter where God had promised to always be with him.
I remember the first time I saw the meaning of Jacob’s name in relation to the nation of Israel. The name provides the perfect picture of the unique relationship of “struggle contention and dialogue” between the people of Israel and their God.
In addition to this, the Jewish people have had many struggles throughout history with peoples/nations who have tried to annihilate them but they have always prevailed. Why? “because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
The Jewish people and the Land are divinely protected. How fitting a reminder this is, especially as we move towards Hanukkah; a celebration of victory and miracles.
For those of us who have been joined to Israel through Messiah Yeshua, there is a lesson for us as well. Jacob wrestled for his blessing. Actually, he received his blessing because he prevailed. May we stand up in the power of the Holy Spirit to anything that seeks to rob us of our inheritance. The blessing comes to the one who prevails.