And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. (Gen 32:27-28 KJV)
A nation stands tall today, respected and honoured by many nations, as well as hated by others. Her people have existed through the years of human history and had faced all manners of oppositions, warfare, pogroms and the like. She has had kings great and small, rulers good and bad, and has been the center of attention as concerning the movement of God on the earth. She was the culmination of God’s promise to the man Abraham and his son Isaac. Many civilizations that existed with her in millenniums past are no more (Babylon, Tyre, Philistine, etc.); some have also lost their glory (Greece, Rome, etc.). But she continues to find relevance and honour in the scheme of things on the earth. She is a strong nation, and Israel is her name.
The parents of Jacob gave birth to him, and unlike what transpired with respect to his father, they did not seek God’s face for the Child’s name. they simply followed the reality on ground and named him JACOB – “He grasps the heels”, in other words, “he deceives”. The Almighty heard the name that was given him and kept quiet. He needed to deal with the ‘man’ Jacob first before He gives him a name. Actually, in the volume of the books, a name had already been given him, but the unveiling of that name was going to take years before it manifested.
That night as he wrestled with the ‘man’, the struggle got so intense and Jacob refused to give up the fight. Even after the man dislocated his waist region, he kept of the fight. At this point, the ‘man’ demanded to be allowed to go because the day is breaking, and Jacob said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me”. Thus, the man turned to him and said, “what is your name?” It is my desire to know your identity. How does your identification report read? And our father Jacob replied, “JACOB”– my name is Jacob, the one that grabs the heel.
It was that very day that the angel changed his name that things began to go in a divine order for Jacob. His name was changed from JACOB to ISRAEL (a powerful prince with God). By the prophetic destiny of Jacob and the nation that was to be born after him, their power will be first with God. It is only having prevailed with God that they would have power over men. Their strength over the sons of men will not be acquired by making noise, plotting warfare and all such machinations of the sons of men. Their power will come when they prevail with God. Thus, on that place called PENIEL, the name of Jacob was changed to Israel, and it was only after that name change that God blessed him. By morning, he was broken and limping, but the sun rose upon him, and a new man (as well as a nation) was born. ISRAEL! THE KING’S CHOSEN LAND!
AND SO? Firstly, what is your identity? It is normal with men to look at your present realities and give you a name. However, you must make an effort to find out your identity- not what men called you, but what God called you. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. (Luk 1:36-37 KJV) No matter what men has called you, may your eyes be opened to your real identity, what God has called you to be in Christ Jesus. This will liberate you to walk into the blessings of the Almighty which he had laid in store for you.
Secondly, ISRAEL not only a name, it is also a principle – the principle by which the Church of Jesus is identified. Our power over the sons of men can only be obtained as we prevail with God. Through all the ages, Christianity has always been at its best when the forces of the earth are against it. In fact, the Church has never really benefitted from the advantage of earthly machineries and arms. The force and dynamic ability of the Church to conquer the greatest darkness lies in her prevailing power with God. And so, as the darkness looms over our land, may we activate the Israel principle and reclaim our land from the hands of evil people, their plans and machineries notwithstanding.
Finally, I do not have enough information to pass an accurate judgement, but I believe that there is power in a name. If a believer in Christ Jesus is bearing a name ascribing glory to a demon god/goddess or such things like that, it may be the good thing to do to change it. I do not have any direct word to back this up right now, but I believe that names matter. Hence, if we can change our names which does not convey a positive godly reality to a more godly one that will be fine; much more, however, we, as Christians must be careful when ‘naming’ our children, that we reflect the revelation God had given us concerning them, and not just our personal experiences.