Another Word…by Gus Keiser

January 29, 2018

So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”  Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans,  and have prevailed.”                                                                                                                                                                                                              Genesis 32: 27-28

 I suppose we could classify God as a “picker,” someone who likes to take broken, the rusted, the discarded and worn out things to repurpose them and make them useful again, only in our case, those broken things are people like you and me.

Let’s take Jacob as a good example. As a young man, Jacob had received a blessing from God, but he hadn’t been able to embrace it because he was always trying to control and manage life on his own terms. It wasn’t until he found himself in an impossible situation at the river Jabbok, wrestling with the angel of God, a day away from facing the approaching army of his estranged brother, Esau, that he was able to experience the blessing that for so long had eluded him.

I’ve often wondered if, during his hard, hard hopeless struggle, if Jacob might have experienced some sort of flashback to a moment many years earlier, when his blind, elderly father, Isaac, had said to him, “Who are you, my son?” “I am Esau,” Jacob had responded deceitfully, trying to steal Esau’s blessing by raw self-will and effort. But the situation he found himself in this time was a whole different ballgame with a whole different set of characters. This time he was dominated by One infinitely stronger, causing him to respond to a similar question with an answer that reflected a heart and will that had finally been subdued by grace.

“What is your name?”


There would be no pretending this time, no posturing, no conniving, no self-justifying. This time it would be nothing but the bare, naked truth: “I am Jacob, the schemer, the deceiver, the manipulator. That’s who I really am.” And the moment he admitted the truth, God gave him a new name…Israel…meaning, “prince with God,” representative of a new character. But in the process of conceding his defeat, Jacob won his ultimate victory. With his own natural strength now broken down (and with the reminder of a limp that would stay with him from that day forward), God would now clothed him with spiritual power. God “picked” this broken vessel out of the trash, repurposed it, renamed it, empowered it, and made it useful once again.

You also can become a useful vessel in God’s hands. All you need to do is to call on him, let him take you and empower you so that his blessing and power can flow through you, taking you from broken to beautiful.

Take us, mold us, fill us, and use us for your purpose and your will, Loving Lord. Amen.

Speak Your Mind