The name Jacob and the person Jacob are the symbolic representation of the Christian, in our ongoing sanctification. Though we are being sanctified, it is by the working power of God in us and not of ourselves.
(Psalms 20:1) The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee.
Though we are the chosen ones of God, our inadequacies do not disqualify us as the children of God.
It is God who has called us to Himself by faith, and we did yield to His called through Jesus Christ our Lord. He shall continue to work in us His righteousness by His Holy Spirit, for His glorification.
As Jacob name was changed from Jacob to Israel, through the ongoing sanctification of God in His life, we too shall be changed, for the glory of God. Then shall He say unto us, thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. (Isaiah 49:3)
The name Jacob and its relation to the Christian.
As Jacob, his name means a supplanter.
One who wrongfully seizes and holds the place of another, in order to obtain through stratagems.
Such is the life of a Christian in the process of sanctification. Though we become aware of the goodness of God, for He has chosen us, but in our will power we wrongfully try to obtain the favor of God through our stratagem and works. By the formulating of our tactical ability or maneuver, intending to gain an advantage. Thereby, we deceive ourselves, assuming we are helping God through our tactics to better ourselves, by whatsoever means those might be.
So then, can men obtain God's favor and goodness without God? Unequivocally no, any attempt to do so will result in the disadvantage toward our fellow men, through the deceitfulness on our part, in order to gain an advantage over others that we may appear more favorable to the will of God.
This was the position of Jacob before he became Israel. In truth, he knew the goodness of God. In sincerity he desired the favor of God. By right, he was chosen as the recipient of the favor of God, but through his stratagem he deceived himself in assuming the favor and the goodness of God will be brought forth through his self-will, by his tactics. In so doing Jacob also deceive his father and brother, in an attempt to gain an advantage for the favor and the goodness of God.
The experience of Jacob, in relation to the Christian life of today.
The act of Jacob then, is the ongoing struggle for the believer now, those who are God's people by faith. Yet, the believing Christian at times, glory in self-effort, abilities, formula and stratagem. In hope for the favor of God, by deceiving themselves, they deceive those around them. In deception, the will of God is supplanted by the stratagem of man.
Though it seems pleasant for a while, but it is written: There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12) Death is inevitable, not as a punishment from God, but due to man’s refusal to distinguish the self-will of wrongdoing, from the right way which is God's way.
So then, is the believer to die for the cause of depending on self, rather than depending on God? The death of the believer here, is the death of the will of the believer. Through this we say, it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. If Christ lives in me, then may His will be done in me.
Like Jacob, upon the realization of his stratagem of wrongdoing by trusting in self, he was brought to a place of dependence on God. For Jacob then and all Christians now, this is the place of Solitude. One can never know who they truly are, until they are left alone, away from possession, away from self and pride. This was Jacob, as recorded in Genesis chapter 32.
For many years, he lived a life away from his brother, for what had transpired between them. Now, he was to face the fury of his brother. Having sent his family away, with all that he had, he was left alone.
Isolation is not desolation
Let this be a lesson for today, though Jacob was left alone, but he was alone with God. Are you in a place of loneliness? Nevertheless, what is the conversation of your isolation, pity of your condition, or a sincere clinging to God for a change in your life?
This is the struggle for the Christian, even in the place of solitariness, the mind contemplates a strategy of self will to overcome the struggle. Thus, it is illustrated in the passage of Genesis 32:24 . . . Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
The word wrestled used here, is to struggle with. The man referred to, was the Pre-Incarnate Jesus Christ, in the form of a man.
Let us observe, it was Christ who wrestled with Jacob, quite the opposite as we are accustomed to perceiving it was Jacob wrestling with Christ. The difference lies in the outcome, he who wrestles with Christ seeks for a change that he or she knows not of.
On the contrary, if Christ wrestles with us, then it is He who working on us to bring about the change in us that is absolutely needed.
Such was Jacob, all night they wrestled, physically they wrestled, but spiritually the lesson for today is the believer fight against the will of God in their life, for a change which is needed. However, most believers will not yield to the Lord. This transformation from the Lord cannot be manifested until we let go of our will and yield to Him. This is a place of pride in self, the flesh, or our previous understandings which are contrary to the Word of God. When this is no longer our thinking, we are ushered into a place where faith is the eye to the mind by discerning God’s will. Then shall the broken believer, cling on to the Lord by faith. Lord, I cannot let you go, but bless me. Then shall we know Who Christ is to us, and what we are to Him.
This was Jacob . . . When He (the Lord) saw that He prevailed not against him – Jacob resistance to yield. He (the Lord) touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as He wrestled with him. (Genesis 32:25)
He said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. This was the plead of Jacob to the Lord. Now he was a broken man, for his thigh was out of joint, a type of inability to stand upright by the individual willpower. The thigh also represents the strength of the man, for on his thigh he wore his sword to tread down his foes. One touch from the Lord and no longer could Jacob rely on his willpower. Whatever struggles we face, the battle is not ours, but God’s.
Henry once wrote; Wrestling believers may obtain glorious victories, and yet come off with broken bones; for when they are weak then are they strong, weak in themselves, but strong in Christ.
We must also acknowledge who we are for a change, for what we ought to be.
Corresponding, in a position of total surrender to the Lord, this was His question to Jacob. What is your name? He knew the name of Jacob, but by asking him, Jacob would acknowledge who he was, a supplanter.
Though we know that which is right, but we do not easily yield to the Truth.
And He (Christ) said to him, What is your name? And he said, Jacob. (Admit who he was) And He (Christ) said, Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, because you have wrestled with God and with men, and have prevailed. (Genesis 32:27-28)
No longer was he Jacob, a supplanter or a fraud. Now, he was Israel – meaning a prince with God.
Jimmy Swaggart once said; The only battle we win is the battle the Lord wins over us.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
But now, O LORD, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.