What’s In A Name?

Genesis 32:28

Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. This is the famous line from Shakespeare’s play, Romeo & Juliet. Juliet tries to convince Romeo that the surname they bear does not matter when it comes to the matter of the love that they have for each other.

There is a certain logic to what Juliet says. Yet, there are occasions when name’s do matter and do indeed carry significance. This is exemplified in the Bible on numerous occasions when we read of individuals who had their name changed because of encounter with God.

Let’s focus on one of those incidents just now. The verse that we have read comes from the account in Jacob’s life when he wrestled with God through the night. This struggle was brought to an end when Jacob had his hip socket put out of joint by the one with whom he assails. This is the point of Jacob’s surrender, and the point at which all he can do is cling on, pleading for blessing.

The blessing he is given comes first with a question; ”What is your name?”. Here Jacob is forced to speak the name that had become synonymous with craftiness and scheming. The blessing that he then receives is a new name, ’Israel’. This new name carries connotation in it’s meaning to imply ‘one who is a prince that has power with God and with men‘.

Jacob entered the fight carrying anxiety, tension, and a reputation of craftiness. At the point of his surrender, the fight ended, and he left that place with blessing and a new name. The point is simple; surrender yourself to God. You will find that in doing so, His desire is to bless you, and to make you in to the best version of you, that He sees you can be.


Is my relationship with Jesus sweet? Or, do I find that there is struggle within me as I try to commune with Him and walk with Him? Do I need to surrender my heart to Him afresh?


Lord Jesus, today I surrender myself entirely to You. I submit myself to You and to your will. Thank You that your will is to bless me and to make me into the best that I can possibly be. I receive your blessing today and I purpose to be all that you intend for me to be. Thank you, Lord Jesus.

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