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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Genesis 32:28

And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

For further study - Genesis 32:22-32

Again, as we travel through the book of Genesis, we will not deal with all the chapters in their entirety but instead point out to you special thoughts from some and detail the others. This is the case with Genesis 28, 29, 30 and 31.

In Genesis 28 we see Jacob having a vision, a ladder set up on earth that reached into heaven, Genesis 28:12. In that dream Jacob saw the Lord appear to him to confirm the Abrahamic Covenant, verse 13.

In Genesis 29 and 30 there is a record of Jacob's travels to be with his Uncle Laban in Haran where he would meet his two wives, sisters. This is a must read for you to better understand how there were twelve sons of Jacob. These sons would become the twelve tribes of Israel.

Genesis 31 tells us how Jacob and his family would leave and return to the "land of promise" and become the nation of Israel, the Jewish people of today, the ones that God still has a plan for in the future.

In our devotional reading for today we will look at the account of Jacob's return to the land of his father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham. Jacob had been in Haran, which is today modern Turkey.

Jacob had spent a number of years living with his uncle, his mother's brother, as he hid himself from his brother, Esau. It was during this time that Jacob got married. In fact, he married two sisters, Leah and Rachel.

The Lord had given this family eleven sons and as we come to this portion of Genesis we see that they had traveled south, back into the land God had promised to both his father, Isaac, Genesis 26:2-3; and his grandfather, Abraham, Genesis 15:18.

In fact, the Lord would also make a promise to Jacob of the land, Genesis 35:12, and thus establish the covenant with the "line of promise" to these, the patriarchs of the Jewish people.

In our key verse, and also in our extended reading, we see that the Lord would name the people and the land, by changing Jacob's name to "Israel".

As the story goes, Jacob had been in Turkey to escape the wrath of his twin brother, Esau. As Jacob returns to make amends to Esau for his deception committed against his brother, Jacob had an "all night long" wrestling match with Jesus Christ, a "pre-incarnate" appearance of Jesus.

I know that it was Jesus because the text tells us Jacob stood "face-to-face with God", verse 30, and he did not die. Jacob could not have seen God the Father face to face, and lived, John 1:18. The text tells us that the wrestling match lasted all night long, verse 24.

Jacob told Jesus he would not let the Lord go until He had blessed him, verse 26. So the Lord changed Jacob's name to "Israel", "I will fight for you", verse 28. This marks the time in history that the Lord chose to begin a "people" that He would use as a "witness" to the entire world.

Let me point out several things about this very interesting and informative passage. During the "wrestling match" Jesus touched the "thigh" of Jacob, and basically impaired Jacob's full use of his leg. The reason the Lord touched Jacob's "thigh" is that the "thigh" is the strongest muscle in your body, ten times stronger than any other muscle.

Also, Jacob would live for the rest of his life with a limp, verse 31, and it would be a daily reminder that his own strength was impaired, but the Lord would "fight for him", and thus his new name, "Israel".

It is also interesting to note that "eleven" of Jacob's twelve sons who would become the "twelve tribes of Israel", were born outside of the "Promised Land". God has His own way to accomplish His plan, a plan for Israel that will be fulfilled in the future.

It is key that we understand this truth of God's Word, God does have a plan for the Jewish people. It is a plan that extends into "eternity future" and the Lord's plan must be fulfilled because the Lord said He committed His integrity to the fact that His plan for the Jews would be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOT: Help me Lord to remember that You fight for me and not only for me but for all that know You as Lord and Saviour. And also, thank You Lord for keeping Your promises to the Jews, and to me, as well.