“One shall say, I am the Lord’s –
and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob;
and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord,
and surname himself by the name of Israel.”
“Another shall call himself by the name of Jacob.” Jacob was a wrestler, for he wrestled all night with the angel; and by wrestling he obtained the blessing. So at present you may be a wrestling Jacob, but have not yet come off a prevailing Israel. You may not be without a sense of guilt and bondage at times in your conscience, and may often doubt and fear whether the root of the matter be in you, because you cannot use the language of assurance and say, “I am the Lord’s.” Still you may be a wrestling Jacob. The Lord may have put his Spirit in you to enable you to wrestle with him for the blessing, and yet he may not have given you that appropriating faith whereby you can believe that he is yours, and can call him such.
How full was the patriarch Jacob of doubt and fear when his own life, and that of his wife and children, lay in the very hands of the injured Esau! But it was this very fear which made him wrestle all the harder, and more fervently cry out, “I will not let you go except you bless me.” Can you not say, “I am seeking for a blessing of this kind with all my heart; I am wrestling with God for it by prayer and supplication, and nothing less can satisfy me?” If this be your experience, you certainly may “call yourself by the name of Jacob.”
“And shall surname himself by the name of Israel.” As Jacob represents a wrestler in the court of grace, so Israel is the emblem of one who has obtained the blessing. When, therefore, any wrestling Jacob has prevailed with God by strength of arm, he may surname himself by the name of Israel. He can then say, “I have wrestled with God for the promised blessing, and have obtained it. I have cried unto the Lord, and he has heard my cry. I have spread my petition before him, and he has at last granted it.” So wrestled and so prevailed Hannah, David, Hezekiah, and many a saint both dead and living.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869