When I first heard that the name “Israel” meant “he who struggles with God,” I was a bit surprised. Why would God give that name to his people? Why would he want to be known as a God with whom His people wrestle? It seemed strange to me at first.
After all, God set this situation up in the life of Jacob. He came to wrestle with Jacob not the other way around. Jacob was trying to prepare for his encounter with his brother Esau the next day. He had sent his family and goods over the Jabbok river and he stayed behind alone….to pray.