So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.”
This is a critical question for God to ask Jacob since the last time his father asked for his name, Jacob lied. Jacob had acted in accordance with his own name and nature and had deceived his earthly father. Now, Jacob is wrestling with his Heavenly Father. God tests him to see if Jacob is able to confess to who he really is – a deceiver. It is a question that brings Jacob face to face with his sinful nature and allows him to confess it and be forgiven. “And he said, ‘Jacob’.”
God brings us to grips with who we are in our darkest places. He puts us in a place and a condition where we are given the opportunity to confess who we truly are so that He can then make us into who He has created us to be. It is honesty with our sinful nature that brings us to a place of forgiveness and blessing. God seeks honest hearted people to lead His people. He is kind and forgiving; yet, requires honesty and humility.
Jacob was once the deceiver. Now, having wrestled with God, confessing his own sinful nature, Father God renames Him and effectively promotes him to Israel, one who strives with God, on his way to becoming the next leader of God’s people. Only God can take a lying wrestler and make him into the leader of His people. This is no small task for God and no insignificant day for Jacob.