By Tyson Thorne

October 25, 2018

NoG EloheYisrael Large

Jacob, the son of Isaac, had a propensity for naming places and things. And for setting up rocks and altars. After wrestling with God he set the stone he'd used as a pillow on its end — making a "standing stone" and called the place "Bethel" (House of God). At that time God had given Jacob a new name, Israel. Later in life he settles down a bit and buys some property near Shechem. While there Israel built an alter and inscribed upon it the name of his God: Elohe Yisrael — the God of Israel. The story is told in Genesis 33.

At first glance this passage appears somewhat pedestrian and unimportant, but in the context of the story of Genesis there is something rather dramatic happening. After his night of "wrestling" with God, when he received his new name, he continued as Jacob for some time. He was still a con man at heart, conniving, and anxious for the next scam. Up until this time YHWH is the God of Abraham and Isaac. Now we see a change of heart. Jacob accepts his God-given name and, more importantly, YHWH as his God. We now have the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

This passage appears at this point in the narrative to ask the reader a very important question: Is the Lord your God too? Many people are raised with a religious tradition, just as Jacob was, but have never made the decission to make the God of the universe the God of their life. Some have gone a step further and given mental ascent to God on regular occassion, but haven't taken the time to listen to him (through the study of the Bible) or to try and give God any room in life. They still have not made the Lord God of their life. Still others have attended church on a regular basis but, as a friend of mine is fond of saying, going to church doesn't make one a Christian any more than going to a garage makes one a car. Everyone must make a decision about God, to make him yours or to live apart from him. Not deciding is a decision itself.

If you have made the decision to make God your God then I'd like you to do something. Take out a post-it note or 3x5 card and wrote on it, Elohe Your-Name-Here. For me, it would read "Elohe Tyson", the God of Tyson. Then stick it somewhere you spend a lot of time. Perhaps you'll use it as a bookmark if you are a book worm. Perhaps you will post it to the bottom of the TV or computer screen, to remind you before you spend more time in front of the tube that there is a God you serve.

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