I love making cakes. I love how you take all these raw ingredients, mix them up, then heat them, and something wonderful happens. Can you find the flour in the cake? Where are the eggs? Of course they are still there, but totally transformed. And that’s what God wants to do in us. He takes the raw ingredients of you or me, and changes us into something so much better. The ingredients are all still there, but his transforming power makes so much difference – depending of course in how much we allow him to transform us.
I think that was what God was saying to Jacob in Genesis 35:9-13. “Your name is Jacob,” he said. That’s the raw ingredient. Jacob, the twister. That’s who he was, what he was like. But “you will no longer be called Jacob, your name will be Israel.” That’s the transforming bit. You may remember in Overcomer, we thought about what God said about his name in Genesis 32:28, that he had struggled with God, but that he had overcome.
We all need some transforming. These days, we tend to choose a baby’s name because we like it, not particularly because it represents the child’s character. Nick names sometimes bring out an aspect of what the person is like. But maybe you should ask God what he calls you. Perhaps he has a name that describes how he sees you.
And that’s what it’s all about really, how God sees you. We so easily put ourselves down, see all the weaknesses, feel ashamed at our lack of spiritual achievement, rubbish ourselves – worm theology as it is sometimes referred to. God knows we will achieve more when we feel good about ourselves; when we look for the best we are more likely to find it.
It’s interesting that God honoured Jacob here with a physical appearance, but then said absolutely nothing new. Jacob just needed to hear it again, to know that God saw him as an overcomer, and that despite all his failings, God’s plan was still on target. That makes me wonder if God’s plan for my life is still on target. And unless he’s told me otherwise, I guess it still is!