Even at my age, the Bible remains a mystery. Oh, I have years of listening to excellent sermons and various interpretations, and have often wondered ‘My, how did they get that understanding from those words.’ I have read it cover to cover, but I am far from being a Bible scholar. Well, the day has arrived where I am now to add to daily devotions and I thought it would scare me silly. I just want to let you know that First Pres has enveloped me in a warm house of profound believers who have opened their hearts and shared with me. It’s not a scary thing at all.
God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel. Genesis 35:10
Those of us who have been blessed with children have had the opportunity to choose names. My three boys were all named after family members – from the great-great grandfather Andrew who was a Civil War prisoner and the great-great Uncle Austin who died in the California gold rush, to my youngest who was named after Eric the Great. (Yes, my children are all members of the Mayflower Society. Once you have that figured out, you are related to almost everybody in early history.) My youngest and only daughter is named Mariel Kristine. I could say that she was named after Mary Chilton (Mayflower) but her name was picked from a baby book because I wanted a name that could only belong to a girl. I now have the honor to share a granddaughter’s middle name ‘Nora Lin’ with her other Grandmother Linda!
God picked a special name for Jacob: Israel, “triumphant with God’, “who prevails with God”, “God rules”, “God judges”, “the prince of God”. There is no mistaking that Jacob belongs to God. We choose family names out of love, honor, and respect; God chooses a name for Jacob to show His love and blessing. It didn’t matter that Jacob had struggles in his life. God continued to bless him and his family and in turn the human race through his offspring. If we remember that God is always there, that steady presence in our lives, the ‘God Almighty’, our burdens become lighter.
God, help me to remember that You are always at my side. Amen.