Read: Exodus 1-2:25
These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy[a] in all; Joseph was already in Egypt. Exodus 1:1-5
I don’t know about you, but when I get to verses that list a thousand names in a row (i.e. Numbers chapter 1) I kinda gloss over. Sometimes it’s just difficult to get through some things until you understand their role. We see this here. God is a god of specifics and details, and these names are written for a reason. And even though there are not a thousand names here, let me encourage you to read through and study them. It’s truly amazing what you learn when you get into how detailed God’s plan really is.
Before I get into the relevancy of the names I actually want to reference another scripture. Let’s look back at Genesis 35:10-11.
“You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.’ Thus He called him Israel. God also said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you.’”
We see God do this a lot. He’s a name changer. Abram becomes Abraham. Sarai becomes Sarah. In this case, Jacob becomes Israel. And these name changes aren’t actions of preference but of identity. God is basically redefining who these people were. The same goes with Jacob. Here, God changes his name from Jacob (generally meaning “grasping the heal” after his birth in Genesis 25) to Israel (meaning “one who prevails with God”). This is a much stronger and meaningful name that really foreshadows his lineage. This change comes right after he “wrestles” with an angel demanding a blessing from God and, I think, God changing Jacob’s name to Israel reveals just that…His blessing.
Why do I think that? Well, these names in the beginning of chapter 1 are the names of Jacob’s sons… AND…these sons go on to form the nation of…Israel. BOOM! I know. I just blew your mind. Or maybe not. Either way…
The 12 sons of Jacob (again…Jacob is now Israel) form the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel. And it’s almost incomprehensible to think that these sons, these tribes, eventually lead to Jesus (you can literally read the lineage in the book of Matthew, chapter 1). And Jesus, being the hope and salvation of the world, really brings the whole “one who prevails with God” idea back around to help us understand how amazing God is. He is specific. He is detailed. He is all knowing. And His plan is perfect. As Isaiah says in chapter 55:9,
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Don’t skip out on the details of God’s Word. Dive into them. Research and understand them. They are there for a reason.
Lord, thank You for being a God who can see beyond what I can see. Thank You for knowing what I can’t and for giving me the ability to see what you are showing me. Let me always be open that. In Jesus’ name. Amen.