The name Israel is significant because, as President Nelson explains, it “refers to a person who is willing to let God prevail in his or her life.”
What does it mean to you to “let God prevail” in your life?
28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
I have studied the gathering, prayed about it, feasted upon every related scripture, and asked the Lord to increase my understanding.
So imagine my delight when I was led recently to a new insight. With the help of two Hebrew scholars, I learned that one of the Hebraic meanings of the word Israel is “let God prevail.” Thus the very name of Israel refers to a person who is willing to let God prevail in his or her life. That concept stirs my soul!
The word willing is crucial to this interpretation of Israel. We all have our agency. We can choose to be of Israel, or not. We can choose to let God prevail in our lives, or not. We can choose to let God be the most powerful influence in our lives, or not.
For a moment, let us recall a crucial turning point in the life of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. At the place Jacob named Peniel (which means “the face of God”), Jacob wrestled with a serious challenge. His agency was tested. Through this wrestle, Jacob proved what was most important to him. He demonstrated that he was willing to let God prevail in his life. In response, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, meaning “let God prevail.” God then promised Israel that all the blessings that had been pronounced upon Abraham’s head would also be his.
President Russell M. Nelson