Prince of God
The patriarch Jacob is a central figure in the Book of Genesis, his story spanning the second half of the book. Jacob’s life’s story contains many essential elements of our faith including God’s covenant promise and blessing, faith, conversion and prophecy. It is the study of an Old Testament Christian’s maturing faith. How can Jacob possibly be called a Christian? He had multiple wives, he deceived his own father, Isaac, and he stole his brother’s birthright, and he is not recorded as having been baptized, or keeping the Sabbath or the Holy Days.
What makes Jacob so special and such a prominent biblical figure? He’s mentioned more times in the Old Testament and the New Testament Scriptures than our father Abraham. What are we to make of his life, and why is his story important to us today? In today’s sermon we will begin an extensive look at Jacob to see how God uses him mightily.
The name Jacob means supplanter. And true to his name, Jacob tripped-up Esau and beat him out of his birthright. But God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, a prince of God, because he contended with God all night long—and triumphed.
“Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man [Jesus Christ, God of the Old Testament v.30] with him until the breaking of the day. And when He saw that He prevailed not against him, He touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with Him. And He said, Let me go, for the day breaks. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And He said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 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 32:24-28)
Did Jacob win in a wrestling match with Jesus that left him crippled for life and having to rely on a crutch? Certainly, Jesus knew Jacob’s name already, and just assuredly, He could have easily overpowered Jacob in the contest if that were His intention. What are we to glean from this encounter? We know that Jacob never fully recovered from this bout with Jesus.
“By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.” (Hebrews 11:21)
What we are to witness in the life of Jacob is God’s unrelenting mercy and will to bring Jacob and countless others to glory (Hebrews 2:10).
Jesus tells us that Jacob was eventually converted and led by God's Holy Spirit. In tomorrow’s sermon we will begin looking at signs of Jacob’s calling, faith, repentance and ultimate conversion. Jesus said:
“I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 8:11)
||"Prince of God"