When Jacob (יַעֲקֹב) emerged from the womb as the heel-catcher (Gen. 25:26), fixed on living for himself and his own benefit to the detriment of others, God delivered him into the hands of a bigger, wiser, more cunning heel-catcher in the person of Laban.
Having fled from Laban, and now facing Esau, the heel-catcher was caught between Laban behind and Esau ahead; and between the two God appeared (Gen. 32:25).
When the heel-catcher was caught by God, He asked, “What’s your name?” (Gen. 32:28). Jacob answered, but his answer was a confession, “I am the heel-catcher” (Gen. 32:28).
From that confession, God reached out, reformed, and renewed Jacob, and said, “No, you are no longer the heel-catcher, you are Israel (יִשְׂרָאֵל). You are now God-governed, a prince with strength from God” (Gen. 32:29, amplifying paraphrase).
The reformation of Jacob happened when he was at his lowest point: alone, afraid, and facing certain death (Gen. 32:25). No one left to swindle, God wrestled him away from his old nature by confession: “Jacob is my name.”
Face to face with God (Gen. 32:31), he confessed, and changed man limped away with a new name, facing certain death by his brothers hand.
Israel, however, is saved from destruction, and he would now limp out, or walk out, the prophetic word given to his mother, “the older will serve the younger” (Gen. 25:23); not from swindling, but the promise of God’s presence in covenant (Gen. 35:10-12).
It is our nature to be the heel-catcher, to live for the benefit of this self; but when God suddenly appears, when all options of self-salvation and self-preservation have vanished, God, in our darkest hour wrestles the old nature away, and speaks a new name to us, one that we walk out in Him by faith (Rev. 2:17), a name of overcoming.
When you walk out to face the uncertainty with your limp, you are not in a position of weakness, but strength. You have overcome by Him, and will not be overcome. Glory to God! For you are now governed by God the Father, in the name of God the Son, by the abiding, empowering presence of God the Holy Spirit.
We all limp differently, but its source and healing is the same: Yeshua/Jesus.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33).
Be well. Shalom.
One thought on “The Heel Catcher: Reformed”
Great word, Rabbi! Amen!