There are many things this blog could cover, Israel. It could cover the ancient people, the Hebrews, who became the nation of Israel, the chosen people of God. It could cover the modern nation of Israel and how or even whether Christians should support that nation. It could cover either the ancient or modern people known as the Israelites, today’s Jews. It could cover Israel as it pertains to the Last Days. It could even cover Jacob, the man God renamed Israel.
Instead, this blog will cover the name itself, Israel, and how that name applies to each of us today in our Christian journey.
The name Israel means he struggles with God. At times, we should all be named Israel. We all have our struggles with God.
We have deep and enduring questions about who God is, His nature and His role in our lives.
We struggle with God over ownership of our worldly possessions.
We struggle with God when we encounter trials in our lives.
We struggle with God when making decisions on a daily basis about all sorts of things.
We struggle with God when His will appears to be counter with our own.
We struggle with understanding God when it comes to love, forgiveness, sin, grace and salvation.
We struggle to understand God’s Word.
Jacob wrestled with God.
In Genesis 32:22-32, Jacob wrestled with God. All night the struggle went on. As daybreak neared, the man Jacob was wrestling with asked to be let go. Jacob would not do so until he received the man’s blessing.
The man asked Jacob his name. (Figuratively, Jacob means he deceives in Hebrew). He then renamed Jacob Israel.
Jacob called the place where he wrestled with God Peniel, meaning face of God. Jacob wrestled with God, saw His face and lived.
The Nation of Israel seems to have been in constant struggles with God. Much of the Old Testament is full of the record of these struggles. Even King David had his struggles with God. Yet God kept His covenants with His people.
So, as Christians we are faced with many questions and challenges:
Is it right to challenge or question God? (Think about Gideon and the fleece)
What is the difference between questioning God and asking questions of God?
Can we struggle with God if we have faith?
Are we struggling with God when we commit sin?
Does God grieve when we struggle with Him?
What is the difference, if any, between blind faith and questioning God?
These are not simple questions. Ponder some or all of them and respond if you wish.
Alive in The Word