Today’s Passage – Genesis 31 & 32; Proverbs 12
“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.” (Genesis 32:28)
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Jacob left the land of Canaan with a name that means “supplanter” or “deceiver”; but he returns after twenty years with name Israel, which means “a prince of God”. This is a wonderful picture of the power of God to transform lives. Jacob didn’t just get a name change, either, he received a nature change; and so do we when we give our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. God gives us a new nature. The Holy Spirit of God moves in and transforms our lives from the inside out. This isn’t just a “turning over of a new life”. This is the impartation of a divine nature into the heart of a formerly fallen sinner. What a wonderful thing it is to be a Christian.
Notice, however, that Jacob did not receive his new name until he had been with Laban for twenty years. Justification and positional righteousness take place immediately when we are born again into the family of God; but sanctification and practical righteousness in our lives is a lifelong process. God had to do some things in Jacob’s life. I have been saved now for twenty years myself, and God is still chipping away at my rough edges; still revealing areas of my life that need his touch. In fact, the closer I walk with him, the more I see the things in my life that are not as they should be. My goal is just to get close to Him, and allow Him to have His will and His way in my life. I am not what I should be; but, praise God, I am not what I used to be, either. I am not yet an Israel, but no longer am I Jacob. God is still at work in my life. I am trying to get out of His way and let Him work.
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