6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: More than being polite and calling a person by name, names are more important than we think. Scripture shows us multiple times that a name change was in order. A name that was less than desirable was changed by God himself to one of honor!

What is Your Name?

This morning we continue the series, “Questions?”

We have looked at the famous questions in scripture, “Did God really say…?”, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” and “Why are you laughing?”.

Today we are going to look at a question God asked that is truly about as personal as they come.

What is your Name?

More than being polite and calling a person by name, names are more important than we think

• The Chevy Nova did not sell well in Mexico because “No-Va” means No Go!

• In the 80’s there was a hunger suppressant candy for diet help that way growing in sales and turning huge profits until the AIDs epidemic hit. The candy was called AYDS

A name is a very important thing.

• It carries with it your reputation, good or bad

• Today we may just choose a name based on how it sounds or to be different

• But in Bible times, names were carefully chosen and had meaning

Proverbs 22:1 (NIV)

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

We looked carefully at the meaning of names before we named our boys!

Jabez, for example did not like his one bit, because of what his name said his life would be

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NIV)

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.

If my name was pain, I would want a change of status as well!

This morning we are going to look at the question God asked someone who also had a name he had lived up to that desperately needed a name change!

What is your Name?

If a name could describe your life up to this point what would it be? Jacob’s most definitely described him up to the point in time we are looking at this morning.

Genesis 32:24-27 (NIV)

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered.

Wrestling for blessing was not a new thing to Jacob

• He wrestled to be born first by grabbing Esau’s heal as his twin was born first

Genesis 25:26 (NIV)

After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.

• Jacob literally means, “Trickster or Deceiver” and he continued to earn that name!

• Ch 27 – Jacob stole his brothers birth right through trickery.

• Jacob has to run for his life!

• Ch 29- Jacob falls in love but on his wedding night he ends up on the wrong end of a trick

• Ch 30- He manages the flocks in a deceiving way to grow his wealth

• Ch 31- He ends up having to flee from his father in law

• Ch 32- He is about to have to face his brother Esau and he is afraid

The stolen birthright and a life of trickery didn’t bring him the fulfillment he thought.

• Now he is about to face the brother who vowed to kill him.

• So he has a very restless night

• The Bible tells us that he prayed and asked God to help him.

Sounds like us today.

• We do something completely our fault that gets us into trouble and then we beg God to get us out of the mess that we made.

• I picture Jacob pacing, wondering, praying, thinking, feeling sorry for his self, walking through scenarios in his mind, scared and wrestling with his emotions, then somewhere in the midst of all that emotional wrestling he finds himself literally wrestling with an Angel. (All kinds of speculation)

• At some point Jacob realizes that who he is truly wrestling with is God! (spiritually)

When we wrestle with God, we lose one way or another!

• I don’t think for one moment Jacob had the angel where he wanted him. In reality, It was the other way around.

• Just like He knew full well what Jacob’s name was! He just wanted Jacob to admit his name was who he was! A trickster and deceiver!

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