'Your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.' So He called his name Israel. Also God said to him: 'I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land.'
Among the heroes described in Genesis, Jacob's story is long and surprising. Maybe because he showed character flaws: flaws common among star players today. But his life is also a come-back story: coming back from mistakes and adversity to the fullness of God's abundant future.
Consider some of Jacob's story lines:
1. Growing up, Jacob was a mama's boy, while his father, Isaac, preferred Esau. Parental favoritism harmed Jacob, and this same trend would later harm Joseph.
2. Jacob's name means deceiver, and he was. He pressured Esau and misled Isaac, then ran for his life to Uncle Laban. Ironically, Laban conned Jacob.
3. However, God saw the good in Jacob, and his refinement took many years. But in all that time, God never left him. Jacob was a gem cut by God to shine.
4. On the plus side of Jacob's character, he was a faithful, determined worker. He never gave up on God or God's plan. Instead, he struggled to gain His favor.
5. Therein, he got a new name: Israel. It translates as, 'One who struggles with God.' Jacob's great conclusion came through struggle. A redeemed con man became a nation.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: What can you learn from Jacob's story? Maybe that mistakes are not fatal. Maybe that God will wrestle with you. Maybe not to write off anyone. Maybe to avoid favoritism. Or if it happened, you'll get through it. Maybe to make amends with your kin. Maybe to trust God in your troubles. Maybe that God sees your potential, and your past is just a set up job. Surely, that your future is brilliant.
To Be Continued...
* Short article: What should we learn from the life of Jacob? http://www.gotquestions.org/life-Jacob.html
* Short article: What is the meaning of Jacob wrestling with God? http://www.gotquestions.org/Jacob-wrestling-with-God.html
* Jacob's story in the Bible: Genesis 25-50 (includes the story of Joseph), https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+25-50&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Enemy's Game series.