“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 (struggled) with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 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. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Genesis 32:27-30
I have been called many things in life, but I was given my dad's name at birth, Rosendo. I have no middle name, but I am a Jr. I wanted to name my son after me as well, but my wife told me that since we are not royalty, we should not have "III" as a part of our son’s name. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked to spell my name, I would be a very wealthy man. My name is phonetic, but people seem to struggle with it the moment I tell them what it is. I did not like my legal name as a kid because it was so unique and no one really had ever heard of it. It's funny, but the older I got, the more I grew to like my name for that same reason.
As you probably know, my nickname is Saso, and I get asked all the time where my name comes from. It is not a name you hear very often, but I have seen it a couple of times on movies and even on Twitter. When I was very young, my family called me "Muchacho" (which means young man), and then "Chacho", which somehow evolved into "Saso". I don’t believe it means anything, although some may have derived their own opinion of what my name means to them. People who know my legal name chuckle when they find out my nickname, but it is really all I remember being called as I grew up. Professionally, I go by my legal name, but my ears seem to respond more to Saso. I do my best to not defame the name I was given, and I was even able to sneak it in as my son's middle name.
I think of Jacob and the name he was given at birth. The meaning of Jacob in the Hebrew is "one that supplants", which means to overthrow or undermine. His birth name was not flattering, but this changed as he wrestled with the angel of God and was given a new name, Israel. Earlier, he was reminded by God of His promises to his grandfather, Abraham, and now he was being set up as the patriarch of a great nation, one which could not be numbered and one that would find favor with Almighty God. God kept His promise to Abraham and fulfilled it with his grandson, Jacob, and provided Jacob with a new name that would distinguish a great nation.
After Jacob wrestled with the angel of God, he realized he had seen God face to face, yet was preserved. He realized there was a plan for his life, and there is a plan for ours as well. Do you believe that God will always keep his promises? Do you believe in the God of the impossible? Will you cry out to Him and allow Him to show you great and mighty things? If He is able to change Jacob the deceiver to Israel the patriarch, what is He able to do in your life? May we not lose faith in what God can do, and may we praise the name of Jesus as a name that is above all names. Philippians 2:9 states, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him (Jesus), and given him a name which is above every name:” May we praise His name today.
Stay in the fight!