Scripture Reading: Genesis 46:1-7
“So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, ‘Jacob, Jacob.’ And he said, ‘Here am I.'” (Genesis 46:1,2)
There are a very few times in Scripture when God calls a person’s name twice in His address to them: “Abraham, Abraham” (Genesis 22:11,12); “Samuel, Samuel” (I Samuel 3:11,12); “Martha, Martha” (Luke 15:41); “Saul, Saul” (Acts 9:4). The only other time God does this is with Jacob — “Jacob, Jacob.”
We must remember that this man had two names — Jacob and Israel. Jacob was the name of his weakness. Israel was the name of his strength. Jacob was the name of his birth nature — self-pity, slow believing, deceiving. Israel was the name of his new and spiritual nature — “one conquered by God.”
Israel started out in great vigor and strength for an old man as he headed to Egypt. He came to Beersheba where he offered sacrifices to God. Beersheba marked the southernmost boundary of the land of Canaan. Past Beersheba was a desert and past the desert was Egypt. When Jacob came to Beersheba, he became fearful. Thus God addressed him as Jacob. Egypt had bad memories for Jacob. His grandfather Abraham went to Egypt and met trouble there (Genesis 12). His father Isaac thought about going to Egypt, but the Lord warned him not to go (Genesis 26). Surely Jacob remembered what had been said to Isaac and what had happened to Abraham.
After Jacob offered his sacrifices to God at Beersheba, God spoke to him in visions of the night. Then God came to Jacob again and relieved him or his fears. God called Jacob by his name — “Jacob, Jacob.” God knows our names and our hearts. He knows everything about us — our fears, our worries, our griefs, and our concerns. He knows our old name and our new name. When He said, “Jacob, Jacob,” He was saying, “I know you; I know you; I know all about you.”
Then God reaffirmed His covenant with Jacob — “I am God, the God of your father” (v. 3a). He was saying to Jacob, “The promises I made to your father are the promise I make to you. You can be assured that I will fulfill them.” Then God made several promises to Jacob — “Do not be afraid to go to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I Myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes” (v. 3)
As He did with Jacob, God comes to us in our fears and worries. He reassures us of His love, and promises to be with us in our times of fear and distress. He will never abandon us but will go with us wherever we go and in whatever circumstances we may face.
Lord God, You know all about me. You know my fears, my worries, my griefs and my concerns. You know when I am weak in my faith and when I am strong in it. You know my old name and my new name. Thank You that I do not have to fear when I face the uncertainties of life. You will be with me and You will deliver me.
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