Hope for the Future
The story of Jacob has always fascinated me. From birth, God gave him a remarkable promise that from him a nation would arise that would be the chosen line for God’s blessings and that his older brother would serve him (Genesis 25:23; 28:4). With this kind of divine assurance, you might think Jacob would turn out to be a godly honest man. Instead, he became a crooked con man. He lied to his father, stole his brother’s birthright, and deceived those who had once trusted him, and spent about 20 years separated from his immediate family as a result. Despite Jacob’s sordid history, numerous times in the Bible God declares that He wants to be known as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6, 3:15; Matthew 22:32, Acts 3:13) and God even says, “This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation” (Exodus 3:15).
Toward the end of Jacob’s journey, God changed his name from Jacob, which means ‘deceiver’, to Israel, which means ‘May God prevail’ or ‘Prince of God.’ Why then does God still refer to Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Why doesn’t God say that he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel? It’s as if God wants to say to us that He is the one who takes those who fail and changes them into those who prevail. He is the one who turns the earthly minded into the heavenly minded (prince of God). He takes those who have broken lives and turns them into something beautiful. He takes those who have wandered from Him and welcomes them back again. He takes those stained by the mess of their sin and washes them clean. He takes those who have little hope and gives them hope for the future.
K.P. Yohannan, in his book God’s Answer to Our Failures, tells the true story of Robert Robinson, who lived in the 18th century. He was the man who wrote the famous hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” In his later years, though, he wandered away from his faith to pursue the pleasures of the world. During this time of his life he was riding a stagecoach next to a woman who was reading a book. She suddenly came across the lyrics to a song (written in her book) that moved her: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” She asked Robinson what he thought about these words. She had no idea that she was sitting next to the man who had penned those words years earlier in his famous hymn! Robinson, upon hearing them, broke down in tears of repentance. He said, “I am the … man who composed that hymn.” After this encounter, He was brought back to God and his hope for the future was renewed.
Maybe you feel like Robinson. You’ve wandered from the place of closeness you once had with God. Or you’ve revisited a sin that seems to surface too regularly. Perhaps you are plagued with a situation that seems so hopeless. Remember, God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He will prevail in your life as you look to Him.
 Robert Robinson, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (1758). Public Domain.