Fixed by Brokenness
So He said to him, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘Jacob.’ And He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.’ –Genesis 32:27-28 (NKJV)
In biblical times, people’s names were a snapshot of their nature as there was often a direct correlation between people’s character and the definition of their name.
The name ‘Jacob’ means ‘heel catcher, conniver, and deceiver,’ and fewer names have ever fit a person so perfectly. From the womb, Jacob was determined to do all that he could to ‘get his’ (Genesis 25:26). His existence was dominated by his sense of self, which enabled him to survive in the ‘real world.’ But it also prevented him from becoming the spiritual man that God had called him to be. A drastic dose of change was needed, and the Lord had the perfect prescription . . . brokenness.
The Lord appeared to Jacob and deliberately put his hip out of joint. This wasn’t a minor injury, but apparently remained with him for the rest of his natural life (Hebrews 11:21). It was a life-changing moment that was designed not just to cripple him physically, but also to break him spiritually. With his bodily capacity to fend for himself gone, Jacob would now be forced to rely on the Lord for his strength and sufficiency.
This change is illustrated in the Lord’s renaming of Jacob. No longer would Jacob live as the self-centered deceiver, but now he would be known as ‘Israel,’ which means ‘governed by God,’ thus indicating his new nature as a God-dominated man. From this point forward, Jacob would begin to manifest the spiritual characteristics that would immortalize him as one of the great patriarchs.
Missionary Alan Redpath once said, ‘God has one great purpose for His people above everything else: it is to destroy in us forever any possible confidence in the flesh; it is to bring us to the place where self-confidence has passed into history and has been exchanged for a confidence in God, who raises the dead.’
Before God can fully bless us, He needs to fully break us of our ‘Jacob-like’ ways. Such breaking is all a part of the process of being rebuilt by our Master Maker.