Overcoming Through Surrender


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.

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”


Genesis 32:26-28


“I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

Wait! Hold up a sec! Isn’t this the same guy who stole his brother Esau’s blessing? Didn’t he also trick him into giving him his birthright for a bowl of stew? Hasn’t Jacob already been blessed enough? So why is Jacob asking God to bless him in the middle of this epic wrestling match?

I believe Jacob had finally come to the end of himself. He had tried it his way.  He had gone his own direction. He had known God’s calling on his life–the older will serve the younger (Genesis 25:23).  But Jacob had gained his brother’s birthright and blessing through deception. Jacob wrestled with Esau, Isaac, and Laban. Here at Jabbok, it all came to a head. Now he wrestles with God.

I think Jacob finally realized that the blessing on his life had to come from God. And he can only get it by surrendering himself, his way, and his will.

It was time to do it God’s way. Before receiving the blessing, God asked him an interesting question, “What is your name?” Now we all know that God already knew Jacob’s name. He was well aware of who Jacob was. He’s not asking him because He didn’t know. God asked Jacob what his name was to see if Jacob knew. It was a test. Who would Jacob say that he was? Remember last time? He had called himself “Esau” in order to receive his father’s blessing. But now Jacob was ready to call a spade a spade. He told God who he truly was. Jacob–deceiver—heel grabber. Jacob was tired of running. Tired of deceiving. Tired of being a heel grabber.

The blessing of God can only come when we recognize and acknowledge who we truly are-Jacobs-sinners desperately in need of a Savior. Apart from Him, we are nothing. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. Our hearts are deceitful above all things, desperately wicked, who can know it?

Then God blessed him and gave him the new name–Israel. He said, “because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

Jacob had struggled with God and men, but now he had overcome.

How do we overcome?

The way we overcome is through surrender.

What a beautiful picture of salvation! We had an old name, but when we surrender our lives to the Lord, we are given a new name. We become children of God. A new creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

But I also believe that this wrestling match between Jacob and God can apply to us in our Christian walk. I seem to find myself back in the wrestling ring with God quite often. I constantly battle doing life my way versus God’s way. It’s hard to give up the reins of my life and let God have complete control. But like Jacob, I so badly want His blessing on my life! And I cannot experience His blessing if I do it my way.

“I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

There is an anointing, a purpose, a calling that God has for each of our lives. But we cannot achieve it in our own strength and abilities. We cannot do it our way. We can only get the blessing of God on our lives when we surrender our way and do it His way. This requires constant surrender. We cannot become who God wants us to be (Israel) until we receive the blessing from Him. And it will only come when we empty ourselves of ourselves and allow God to fill us with Himself. He must increase and we must decrease (John 3:30).We must acknowledge who we are (Jacob), and only then will we be able to experience Who God is and know who He desires us to be (Israel).

Complete and total surrender.

That’s how we overcome.

That’s how we get God’s blessing in our lives.


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