top of page

Encounters That Transform

Whenever I meet people and get to introduce myself, i am often met with a myriad of responses ranging from eyebrows raised to exclamations of interest or downright blank faces. Often the Police treat me with respect at traffic stops and honour me thinking that my name is a title indicating my esteemed position in legal circles. My own reaction to these responses can range from annoyance to warmth and playing along as i enjoy the special treatment or absolute engagement when i get to tell the amazing story of why i was given such a unique name.

You see in my culture names are often given with a background story or a response to an event in mind or they are given to speak prophetically into a prevailing situation or circumstances. One day i will share the story about my name but the reason why i am telling you this is because as I read through the Old Testament, I was also fascinated by the names that were chosen. Parents didn’t choose a name because it was trendy or pleasant to the ear. They chose names based on their hopes, circumstances, or prophetic impulses.

Sometimes the name was a blessing.

For example The name David was an easy name to live with, meaning Beloved.

But some didn’t get off so easy. Hosea had a son he named Lo-Ammi, meaning “Not my people.” Hosea’s wife had a history of prostitution. Can you imagine what extra baggage Lo-Ammi carried through life? He might as well have carried a sign that said: Illegitimate!

Then there was Ichabod who's name means God's glory has departed. Prematurely Born following a series of devastating events, Ichabod's name surely meant that when peaple heard it they remembered painfully what had happened leading up to his birth.

I am sure the people i have mentioned above wished they could change their names as names in those times carried such a great weight and often often speaking into the persons future destiny.

The part i really enjoy concerning names in the old testament is when we read of how certain of these biblical characters would encounter God and then their names were subsequently changed. This name change denoted the great future that God would be bestowing on the person following that special encounter.

Jacob was a deceiver until he had an amazing encounter with God. God offered to change his name to Israel, “Triumphant with God.” God didn’t have to make the offer twice as Jacob immediately switched from being a Deceiver to a prince who was triumphant after wrestling with God.

His encounter was very real and not only did his name become the name of a a great Nation born through another encounter that Jacobs own grandfather had had with God where his grandfather's name was also transformed to Father of many nations.

Our Encounters with God are an amazing opportunity to have our destiny determined and our circumstances transformed by God.

I often wonder if Lo-Ammi may have missed an opportunity to have his own name transformed so that he would no longer have such an unfortunate name. I don't have the details but it has made me think that i would never want to miss an opportunity to pursue God and encounter him because his goodness will transcend my unfortunate misfortunes and break through my circumstances whenever i encounter him.

My encounter with God is an opportunity to never be the same again but to become better and to be made greater than i could ever imagine.

As we continue with our prayer and fasting week. Make time to encounter God personally as well as corporately at the evening worship and prayer services.

I dread to think what would have been if Jacob had not engaged with God that night and had missed that encounter that changed his character and his name. However with Jacob even when God said it was time to let go, Jacob held on to the encounter until God had blessed him.

Today could be the day your name is changed and your journey made different, don not let go but press in and trust God.

Scripture Reflection

Genesis 32:1‭-‬2‭, ‬22‭-‬32 NLT

As Jacob started on his way again, angels of God came to meet him. When Jacob saw them, he exclaimed, “This is God’s camp!” So he named the place Mahanaim. During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions. This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said. “Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip. (Even today the people of Israel don’t eat the tendon near the hip socket because of what happened that night when the man strained the tendon of Jacob’s hip.)

Devotional content adapted and developed from One Hope content : Theres hope for today day #124

439 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

Truly such powerful word names are very important it’s a blessing when God speaks through his people it allows you to have wisdom and knowledge when time comes either you have a child or you wanna name something meaningful to you always remember that words are powerful we live by the consequences of what we say and in this week of prayer and fasting you are to consider your words it’s our duty as Christian either we feel like it or we don’t but it’s good to impact meaningful and spiritual food let’s continue in prayer and fast see you tonight May God bless You

bottom of page