A New Name
"I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." - Genesis 32:30
One of the hardest things for any of us to do is to admit our faults. It's much easier to tell ourselves that life's problems come from outside, from the people or circumstances around us. Sure, we're not perfect—but who is? So we hide our sins from ourselves.
Jacob had become very good at hiding. Throughout his life, he had been a schemer. He knew how to manipulate people to get his way. But finally, in this strange wrestling match, God forced Jacob to recognize who he was.
In the Bible, names are a big deal. A name says something about a person's identity and character. The name Jacob means "deceiver" (see Genesis 25:26). And in this story Jacob has to admit to himself and God, "Yes, that is who I am."
Who are you? God asks the same question of each of us—not because he wants to embarrass us, but because he longs to redeem us. When we come to God, when we admit our sin and our need for God's grace, God gives us a new identity in Christ.
Jacob may have walked away from his wrestling match with a wound, but when God does the wounding, it is always for our good. And from that day onward, Jacob began to live with a new identity, one given by grace.
May we do the same.
Thank you, God, that you pursue and confront us until we recognize our sin and our need for you. We confess our guilt. In your grace, give us a new identity in Christ. Amen.