The man asked him, “What is your name?”, “Jacob,” he answered. Genesis 32:27
Jacob was at a crucial point in his life where he has to face his brother Esau whom he betrayed. He feared his brother as he remembered what he actually had done to him. Only sometime back he was running away from his Father-in-law, Laban. Now he is running in to a much bigger problem in the form of his brother. That is when he prayed that prayer that is in Genesis 32, a prayer of introspection asking God for answers, and reminding God about all the promises he made to him at Bethel when he was running away fearing his brother. Now he is running in to his brother again engulfed by the same fear at the ford of Jabok. After sending everyone including his wives ahead, he was left alone with no one but a man wrestling with Him. Jacob understood He is none but God Himself and pleaded, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” But there was rather a strange reply from the other side, “what is your name?” Jacob would have felt how come the Almighty doesn’t know my name. It was the same question asked by his father many years ago but the reply was different this time. He replied, Jacob, which means “Deceiver”. Jacob was literally cornered, in order to realize his mistakes. But God wanted to do something different in his life this time and He wanted Jacob to accept who he was and is. In our Christian life, we can also see the same thing happening where forgiveness is actually followed by accepting our wrongdoings and repenting of our sins. A point where we say, “Lord I no longer try to prove that I’m right, but accept what I really am, a wretched sinner not worthy of your love.” God changed his name at that point of time as Israel which also means “He has been saved by God”, a point of realization that changed Jacob’s destiny. He indeed became the father of many nations!