A Man With Three Names – Father’s Day

Title: A Man With Three Names - Father's Day

Bible Book: Isaiah 44 : 1-3

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Men, Christian Men; Men, Godly; Father's; Father's Day


A Man With Three Names

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com

Isaiah 44:1-3a

“Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant,
And Israel whom I have chosen.
2 Thus says the Lord who made you
And formed you from the womb, who will help you:
‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant;
And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water on him who is thirsty,
And floods on the dry ground;
I will pour My Spirit on your descendants,
And My blessing on your offspring…”

Today we are thinking about men, specifically about fathers. The number of homes in America in the 21st Century without a father present has risen to an epidemic level. In 1996, over 20 years ago, the National Center for Fathering stated that more than 20 million children in America were living in a home without a father present. Does that really matter? Listen to these statistics from Life is Beautiful:

  • 85% of youth people who end up in prison grew up in a home without a father.
  • 7 out of 10 youth in state-operated correctional facilities are from fatherless homes (U.S. Department of Justice)
  • 39% of children from the 1st to 12th grade in America do not have a father in the home (National Public Radio)
  • Children from fatherless homes are twice as likely to drop out of school.
  • National Public Radio reported that 1 in 3 children in America live in a fatherless home.
  • Girls who grow up in a fatherless home are 4 times more likely to have a child before age 20.
  • 90% of children who run away from home are from a fatherless home when they make that decision (U.S. Justice Department). (https://lifeisbeautiful.org/statistics-on-fatherless-homes/)

I could go on but these statistics are enough to make the point. There are some great people who grew up in fatherless homes, but the likelihood of extreme problems in the life of a child are much higher when a man is not in the house. Why is that? Because God designed the home to include a father and mother who love God and seek to lead their children to do the same.

Men, young or old – married or single, need to know how important it is that we stand up and become what God intends for our lives. Our own happiness, usefulness and eternity depends on giving our lives to Christ and living for Him. Also, our effectiveness in blessing others, in our families and outside our families, depends on this issue.

A wife was asked some time ago to describe her husband. She said, "He is 40 around the chest, 42 around the waist, 98 around the golf course and as nuisance around the house!"

If that dear lady thought her husband was a nuisance, she should have had to see him through God's eyes. There has never been a time in the history of the church when godly men were more needed than they are today. The picture of manhood as being a beer-guzzling, woman battering, condom carrying, vulgarity spewing, family deserting good-ole-boy must be sickening to the God who created men to begin with.  God is looking for some knee-bowing, Christ-exalting, woman-honoring, family-loving, church-attending men in whom His Spirit resides and reigns. It must be admitted that there are not many such men to be found!

The desire of God is that the men who know the Lord will walk with Him in daily communion and disciplined conduct.

In our Bible text today you see a man who had three names. The first two names in our text today belonged to a specific man, whose name was Jacob but later changed by God to be called Israel. There is no evidence that he was ever called by the third name mentioned concerning him in our text, but certainly Jeshurun is mentioned in our text and it is altogether possible that he was referred to by this term. Nonetheless, these three names are fitting for the true man of God. I am going to use these three names today to exhibit the divine progression which God desires in the life of every Christian man – and especially every Christian father.

In our passage today God unveiled his plan for godly manhood. Note in each name a revelation of God's view of us and his vision for us as men.

I. The Selfish Man - Jacob

First, we note that God referred to a man named Jacob. Anyone who has studied the Bible knows that Jacob was the grandson of Abraham and the son of Isaac. He was a twin whose brother was Esau.

We need to remember today that in his younger days Jacob was a conniving, scheming, egocentric individual. In spiritual terms we would call him carnal and worldly in his early years. He tricked his father into giving him the blessing which belonged to his brother Esau. He had already caught his brother in a weak moment and traded him a bowl of soup for the family birthright. Jacob was the modern picture of a devious, crafty, deceitful, manipulative male. He thought he could do things his own way and get what he wanted by his own wits.

Jacob got caught in his scheme against his brother Esau and fled for his life, because Esau was planning to kill him. As Jacob ran north to live with his uncle Laman, he stopped at a place to rest. God visited Him there at a place called Bethel – which means in Hebrew, The House of God. Even though he met with God there, he still had not made the commitment to become what God intended for him to be.

Many men and fathers are like Jacob. We have met with God, but we are still carnal, selfish and seek to solve life’s problems in our own strength. That is what Jacob was and it cost him dearly. I don’t have time to tell you the entire story of Jacob’s life before his name was changed but suffice it to say that he paid a high price. He worked 7 years for a wife and found out that he had been given her sister. He had to work 7 more years to get the right one. You can say that somebody had hoodooed the hoodoo-man! Laman, the uncle of Jacob was used to by God to teach Jacob what it is like when someone cheats you or pulls the wool over your eyes.

Many Christian men in our day are exactly where Jacob was in his day.  They are selfish and immature. There are men in this service of worship today who are backslidden because you have never learned to turn things over to God. You have never realized that your own efforts for getting what you want are keeping you from that which God has stored up for you. You think you are smart, but you are actually fooling only yourself. I pray that we as Christian men here today that are unwilling to remain in the selfish, in a carnal state – in the Jacob stage of life.

But, let’s move on to what happened to Jacob and how he was gloriously changed.

II. The Spiritual Man - Israel

Later, when Jacob decided to go back to face the brother he had cheated, he stopped at Bethel again. He was still Jacob – the carnal man – but he was ready to step up and be the man God meant for him to be. So, he prayed at Bethel through the night and wrestled with an Angel of the Lord. He said, “I will not let you go till you bless me.” Jacob was learning that being a man of God was more important than being a man who wanted to be god. It was there, at Bethel that God changed Jacob’s name and called him Israel. In essence, until Jacob's name was changed to Israel, until he wrestled with the angel on his second journey to Bethel, he remained a carnal believer.

From the time Jacob truly wrestled with the Angel of the Lord – when he actually wrestled with his own weak nature – He was changed. He was given another name – the name Israel. From that day forward Jacob (Israel) walked with a limp, the result of his struggle with the angel. His name was changed, his walk was changed, and his life was changed.

Jacob came to this moment when he came to the end of himself. Up until this time Jacob thought he could handle whatever came his way with his own wisdom and wit. As he approached home and the frightening reality that he had to face the brother whom he had cheated many years before, Jacob was forced to his knees in a way more profound than ever before in his life. The self-made man suddenly threw himself down before God in total abandonment.

I tell you this, there is never a time more wonderful for a man than when he acknowledges that he has reached the extremity of his own abilities. As he resigns his own strength, he finds the strength of God. That is why Paul could say that he was strongest when he was the weakest!

It would be wonderful today if God could touch some men in this service and bring them to a Bethel experience. Such a change alters are walk and talk – it alters our goals. Such a change makes us useable by God and opens doors to real manhood – God’s manhood for us. It blesses us, blesses our families and blesses all those around us. Such was the case for Jacob when he became Israel.

Amazingly, however, God was not through blessing Jacob. He gave him yet a third name. Note with me …

III. The Saintly Man - Jeshurun

We observe in our text that God calls Jacob (Israel) by the name Jeshurun. Wow! That names means “straight” or “upright.” The man who was “downright” evil became gloriously “upright” before God. Isn’t that what we desire as men – God’s men – Christian men?

In Philippians 3:12-14 we read from Paul these words:

 Not that I have already attained,[c] or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Paul was a kind of Jeshurun New Testament man – a man who was amazingly committed to God. He is a good example of how we as Christian men can grow from being Jacob to Israel, and from Israel to Jeshurun. Look at the things mentioned in Philippians that help us see how this can happen to us.

A. There is a Divine Pattern to Realize

God saw in Jacob something Jacob could not see. When the Lord called Jacob by the name Jeshurun, the entire nation of Judah was anything but righteous. Wickedness had reached the point of demanding judgment from God. At this point in history, God was ready to pour out judgment on His own people in the Old Testament. Yet, He still referred to Judah Jacob and to the nation of Judah as Jeshurun – the “upright” ones. Why? Why did God identify His people this wat when they were yet so far from being “upright?” It was because God had a Jeshurun goal from them. God had created His people to be Jeshurun, a righteous nation. He had raised up Jacob to move from being a worldly man to a godly man – and God had the same plan for the nation.

Now, let’s make this personal. My dear Christian man, God has a Jeshurun pattern for you. He has a plan for you to be all you are meant to be in Him.

Paul spoke of this concerning himself. Paul shared that God had saved him and called him for a purpose and a goal which he, Paul, had not yet experienced. Paul was a mighty Christian, but he knew that there was a divine pattern laid out for him which he had not yet appropriated.

O, that every believer, man and woman, could see this reality. We settle for less than God meant for us to be. Churches do the same thing. Ministries do likewise. God has great plans for us but all too often we settle for what we have rather than seeking God’s best. When we agree in heart that God has more for us, we take the beginning step toward finding that something more!

B. There is a Determined Pursuit to Exercise

Paul said that he was living his Christian life like an athlete in a race, in other words he was striving to push himself forward to reach the pattern which God had for him. He was so resolute concerning this that he said, "This one thing I do!" How many men here today can say that you have narrowed your life to the point that your one goal is to strive to be all that God means for you to be?

Read Hebrews 12:1. We must lay aside the weight that does so easily beset us and run with patience the race that is set before us.

C. There is a Decisive Principle to Utilize

Exactly how do we realize the pattern and exercise the pursuit of God's Jeshurun ideal for us? Look to Jesus! Hebrews 12:2 we note that Christ endured the cross for us. To do God’s will and complete His mission, even our Lord had to deny Himself. Jesus did this, we are told for the “joy” set before Him. Our Lord knew what His sacrifice would bring forth.

Paul spoke in a similar way. In Philippians Paul spoke of striving for the prize before him. Paul was reaching for his “high calling.” That means an upward calling.

God is calling us to a higher standard man – higher than we have ever known before! We must turn our eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

Hebrews 13:21 speaks of making us perfect in every good work so that we might do his will. Only the Lord can work in us that which is well pleasing in his sight.


Men let’s face the truth today. We are not what we ought to be, or what we can be in Christ. How many of you will come today, to an old-fashioned altar, to bow down and commit yourselves a new to Christ. Let us move from Jacob to Israel and from Israel to Jeshurun. O, to be a man to whom God has given three names! Remember, Jacob went on to be the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. He became a man with three names, a man making progress throughout his life - and, thus, God could use him.

A father and his small son strolled down the street in Chicago past the place where a skyscraper was being constructed. Glancing up, they saw men at work on a high story of the building. "Father," said the little boy, "What are those little boys doing up there?" The father replied, "Those are not little boys, son, they're grown men." The boy asked, "But why do they look so small?" The father responded, "Because they're so high." After a pause the boy asked, "Then, Father, when they get to heaven there won't be anything left of them, will there?"

It's so true. The nearer we come to Christ the less others see of us and the more they see of Christ.

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