Christian Overcomers

Study the Word, Overcome the world

Overcomers Get A New Name | Genesis 32

In Chapter 31 Jacob and Laban had a heated argument that ended in a peace agreement with Jacob leaving after having served Laban for 20 years. Now Jacob is heading back home with his wives, his children, his servants, and all his livestock. And while on his way home, he will have a run in with his long-lost brother Esau, who planned to kill him 20 years ago. Will these two brothers be reconciled to one another, or will Esau carry out his plans to kill him? We’ll find out.

Besides all of that, there are some very interesting things that will happen in this chapter. Jacob will meet a group of angels, he will make a model prayer, and will even wrestle with God himself and get his name changed from Jacob to Israel. And if we want God to give us a new name, the blueprint for how that is done is given in this chapter.

Let’s get into the Word.


Genesis 32:1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.

Wow! That must have been something. No doubt God wanted to reassure Jacob that He was with him on his journey back home.

Genesis 32:2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.

Mahanaim means the two hosts. No doubt referring both to the Jacob’s entourage and God’s army in heaven following them. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if we could see into that heavenly dimension. How often are angels surrounding us?


Genesis 32:3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.

Genesis 32:4 And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:

Genesis 32:5 And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.

Remember, Jacob and Esau parted on bad terms. Esau wanted to kill Jacob for taking his blessing and birthright from him. Though it has been 20 years Jacob is a little bit fearful that Esau still wants to kill him.

Genesis 32:6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.

Uh oh, doesn’t look good. 400 men is a little war party.

Genesis 32:7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;

Genesis 32:8 And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.

Jacob takes immediate action to protect his family and his people. He is preparing for the worst and will soon be praying for the best. We should do the same. So many people think that we should just let God guide everything we do, and not move anywhere until He tells us. They even think it is sacrilegious to make our own preparations for emergency situations. They say, “Well, you should just trust the Lord.” But maybe God wants us to first do what we can and then ask Him for help.

Does God really want to do everything for us? Do you want to have to do everything for your kids? I don’t think so. I think you want your kids to use their own brain and then lean upon you for help and assistance when “needed”.


Genesis 32:9 And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:

Notice how he reminds God of His promise. That’s okay to do. It shows that you believe in His promises. Way better than ignoring Him and saying nothing.

Genesis 32:10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.

Interesting that a couple hundred years later Jacob’s descendants after being delivered from bondage in Egypt (like Jacob was delivered from the bondage of Laban) would be crossing over this same river with a commission to conquer the promised land. Truly, there must be some divine significance of this.

But note the humbleness of Jacob. He says, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth”. Boy can you relate to that? I mean God has been so good to us, sending His only begotten Son to die for our sins, and then revealing all of this wonderful truth to us from His Word. None of us deserves it, but by His grace He does these things for us.

Let us always be thankful for that.

Genesis 32:11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.

Such a great prayer Jacob is making, and now it moves into a prayer for deliverance.

Genesis 32:12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

Remember God? You said that my seed would be as the sand of the sea which cannot be numbered.


Genesis 32:13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother;

Genesis 32:14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,

Genesis 32:15 Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals.

This is quite a present! Worth hundreds of thousands of dollars today. Jacob is trying to appease his brother Esau.

Genesis 32:16 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.

Jacob is using some wisdom and perhaps a little psychology here. He is sending his present in multiple waves to Esau hoping that each one will help him steadily gain favor with him again. Had Jacob sent it all at once, perhaps it wouldn’t have quite the same effect.

Genesis 32:17 And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?

Genesis 32:18 Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.

Genesis 32:19 And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him.

Genesis 32:20 And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.

Genesis 32:21 So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company.

Genesis 32:22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.

Genesis 32:23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.


Genesis 32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

This seems sort of random, what is this all about? He wrestles a man all night long?

Genesis 32:25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

Jacob was wrestling an angel, and the angel just touched him and dislocated his leg.

Genesis 32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

Even after his hip dislocated Jacob kept fighting on.

Genesis 32:27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

Genesis 32:28 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.

This is quite a significant verse in the Bible. By God’s grace Jacob will be saved from Esau but by his own perseverance he gets a new name meaning – An overcomer, or a Prince that rules with God.

The modern church likes to talk about God’s grace but they never talk about how we are supposed to overcome! Had Jacob been brought up in the modern church he would have thought it was not “nice” to wrestle, that behavior is too aggressive. Perhaps he would have just laid down and said, “Oh, please don’t hurt me. Have you heard about the love of Jesus?”

You know God can’t really use those kinds of people. I’ve never seen any of those kinds in the Bible, have you? But I have seen Him use peopel like Jacob. People who use common sense, take necessary actions, pray, and then persist until victory is achieved. Remember, Jacob wouldn’t let the angel go until he blessed him. Are you like that with God? When you are going through tough spots in your life do you say, “Oh, okay, I give up”? When studying difficult passages in the Bible do you give up on trying to understand their meaning? I hope not. That’s the lesson here. We are to wrestle with God until we get the blessing.

There are other instances in the Bible that involve getting a new name. Here are a few:

Revelation 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Revelation 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Isaiah 56:4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;

Isaiah 56:5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

Isaiah 62:1 For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.

Isaiah 62:2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.

Isaiah 62:3 Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.

Isaiah 62:4 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married

Isaiah 65:15 And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name:

Paul was given a new name, Peter was given a new name, etc.,

I tell my wife she got her first name upgrade when she married me and took on my last name. Haha.

Genesis 32:29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.

Genesis 32:30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

Now we know this wasn’t just some man, and it wasn’t an ordinary angel, it was Almighty God Himself! Think about that. God sometimes does some very strange things. Some of you dad’s probably enjoy wrestling with your boys, God seems to enjoy the same thing here with Jacob. But it wasn’t only for fun and enjoyment here, God was testing Jacob’s persistence. He was initiating or preparing Jacob for things to come. And Jacob passed!

I think God still expects us to wrestle with Him at times. Just like He was preparing Jacob, he prepares us today.

Genesis 32:31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.

Walking with a little bit of limp, perhaps to remind him that God is more powerful than he.

Genesis 32:32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.


Probably the most important lesson we can take from this chapter is that we are to persevere with God and overcome. God is looking for overcomers and Jacob’s actions gave us a template on how to do that. First, we must realize that the angels of God are with us, secondly, we must take our own necessary precautions, thirdly we must pray for help, and last of all we must persevere until the end. After doing all of that we will get our new name – a prince that rules with God.
blog comments powered by Disqus