Topic: From Jacob To Israel [Open Heavens 20th May 2018, Sunday]
Memorise: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Read: Genesis 35:9-15 (KJV)
9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him.
10 And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.
11 And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;
12 And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.
13 And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him.
14 And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon.
15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.
Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 15-16, 2 Peter 3
Jacob was the second son of Isaac. His early life projected a lifestyle and a behavioural pattern that closely matched his name, which can be interpreted as supplanter, impersonator, deceiver or usurper. However, he received mercy from the Lord and had a divine encounter where God decided to change his name. In Genesis 32:28, God said to him:
“…Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel…”
The renaming of Jacob as Israel (which means “triumphant with God”) was a spiritual event that had far reaching effects on his physical life and his personality. Immediately after his identity was changed, Jacob stopped exhibiting the characteristics of his old name and began to behave in line with the meaning of his new name. The old things about Jacob passed away and all things became new for him as Israel. I pray for someone reading this devotional that every old symptom of sin, sickness, poverty, bondage and oppression shall pass away from your life today in Jesus’ Name.
It is important to note that what happened to Jacob in the Old Testament is closely related to the regeneration experience seen in the New Testament. Regeneration is a change brought about by the Spirit of God, which makes a person a new creature in Christ Jesus. The salvation that Jesus brought to us is not simply to energise the old creation with new ability and power; rather, it brings about a new creature that has divine nature of God (2 Peter 1:4). It also ignites a spiritual process wherein everything working against the regenerated person is thoroughly dealt with (Colossians 2:14). The practical result of this is spiritual regeneration evidenced by radical change in the nature, character, desires and motives of the transformed person. This new creature is so new and different from the old that it even requires a new diet to survive, which is the word of God. That is why Matthew 4:4b says:
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Concerning regeneration, the key element is change. God is calling all of mankind to change through the power of His word. However, there is a strong resistance to this change in every human being (Romans 8:7). This resistance comes from the mind and the body, and must be overcome before any real change can manifest. The transformation experience requires serious effort to overcome this resistance (Romans 12:2).Whenever anyone surrenders his or her life to Jesus, God takes hold of the old lifeless creature and fashions it into a new creature that is heaven-bound, full of life and suitable for His use. Have you experienced this transformation indeed?
Key Point: The inner transformation that Jesus gives must manifest as outward change for all to see.