A Lesson of Jacob: Put God First

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Jacob had to learn some difficult and bitter lessons before finally learning the lesson of where his heart should be. Have you learned to put God first?



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This evening we do have a theme for this Winter Family Weekend. It is 'Learn to Discern the Narrow Path of the Superhighway'. The narrow path of the superhighway. The alternatives of the narrow path of the superhighway are based on what Christ stated in the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount was given by Jesus Christ to His disciples showing them how a citizen of the kingdom of God should live. He starts off with attitudes at the beginning of the sermon. He moves from there into your influence in the world. You are to be like salt and like light. Then He talks about the Law. He says, "I haven't come to destroy it. I've come to magnify it." And He shows the magnification in chapter 5 of the Sermon on the Mount as He brings out six illustrations. You have heard that it was said to those of old, you shall not kill, but I say to you if you hate, you've broken the Law, so on and so forth.

 
Then He moves into our relationships – our relationships to others: give; our relationship to God: pray; our relationship to ourselves: fast. What can destroy those relationships? Worldliness, worry, judgment. Then He concludes the Sermon on the Mount by saying, "The summation or your relationship with God: ask and keep asking and you find. Knock and keep knocking and the door will open." Summation of your relationships to your neighbor: "As you want them to do to you, you do to them." And then He concludes with four admonitions. I want you to go with me over here to Matthew chapter 7. Mat. chapter 7. He has four admonitions at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. The first admonition is about the narrow way and the broad way. The second one is about true and false prophets. Then He talks about true and false disciples and He concludes with the rocky and the sandy foundation. But I want to look at verses 13 and 14 of Mat. chapter 7. As Christ concludes the body of His message, and He says, "What are you going do about it? What is going to be your reaction? Are you going to applaud it? Are you going to critique it? Will you ignore it? What I want you to do is apply it." Verses 13 and 14 of Mat. Chapter 7 He says,
 
Mat:7:13 - "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate, broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
 
Verse 14 - "Because narrow is the gate, difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
 
As He concludes, He says there are two ways. One is narrow – difficult; the other is broad. It is entered by two gates. The first one is narrow, the other one is wide. It is leading to two destinations. One is life, the other is destruction. And it is traveled by two crowds. One is traveled by the few, the other is traveled by the many. I don't want to detail the instructions by Jesus Christ. We have seminars that will be dealing with the narrow pathway and the superhighway. One of the best ways we can learn to discern the narrow vs. the super is by the examples of others. And I want to look at an example this evening. An example of an individual who went down broad way and he paid for it. He paid for it dearly and he sets an example. We are to learn a lesson so that we don't follow his path. The primary example he is setting is in regards to his marital relation, but the lesson that we learn applies to life.
 
The individual that I want to talk about is Jacob - Jacob - the patriarch, Jacob. I want you to go with me back to the book of Genesis because we are going to spend time here this evening in the book of Genesis. First of all I want to deal with Jacob's background. Gen. chapter 25. As we pick up the story regarding our patriarch, Jacob, Gen. chapter 25, beginning with verse 21. Isaac, Jacob's father, married Rebekah , mother, and it says,
 
Gen:25:21 - Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
 
Verse 22 - But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If all is well, why am I like this?" So she went to inquire of the LORD.
 
We find 'wrestle mania #1' going on inside of Rebekah. She wants to know what's going on. She inquires of God.
 
Verse 23 - And the LORD said to her: "Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger."
 
Verse 24 - When her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb.
 
Verse 25 - And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau.
 
Hairy – a nickname.
 
Verse 26 - Afterwards his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau's heel; and his name was Jacob.
 
And the name means 'supplanter'. In the Hebrew the word supplant means 'to overthrow by tripping up', 'to supersede by treachery'. His character is one of deceit. You look at his background from whence he had come, you see that his mother had come from a background of deceit. This was passed on to her son as we will see.
 
Verse 27 - So the boys grew. Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents.
 
Verse 28 - Esau was loved by Isaac because he ate of his game, Rebekah loved Jacob.
 
You've got a problem unfolding. Esau really pleased his dad. Esau was a man's man. A macho man. Isaac would introduce Esau, "Here is my son. He can tear apart a car and put it back together in a couple of hours. A man's man. He could be the starting linebacker for whatever team is around here. He is a man's man. My boy, Esau. He's rugged. He can hunt, strip that venison and cook it. Love him."
 
Jacob? Huh! "Here is my son, Jacob. He can make a good bowl of soup. Boy, can he wash some dishes. Oh, Jacob, washing dishes. And he can change a diaper in 10 seconds." Jacob was no sissy. We see that in the account, but the impact of this love of the father for one over the other is going to come out in Jacob's life.
 
Verse 29 - Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and was weary.
 
Verse 30 - Esau said to Jacob, "Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary." Therefore his name was called Edom.
 
Verse 31 - But Jacob said, "Sell me your birthright as of this day."
 
Verse 32 - And Esau said, "Look, I am about to die; what is this birthright to me?"
 
Some thing's wrong here. Isaac is no poor pauper. Isaac is a very wealthy man – we read it in the context. You mean that Esau couldn't find some bread? Some beans? Some food? Canaan is considered the land of milk and honey. Esau's a man of the field. Could he not go out into the field and find some fruits? Berries? Vegetables? Why this stew? In Esau's mind this was probably the best stew in the world. You've got these chili contests – you put Jacob's stew up against any body's stew and I'm sure everybody's going (slurp) "Wow!" So he sells his birthright.
 
Verse 33 - Jacob said, "Swear to me as of this day." So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.
 
Verse 34 - And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
 
And he despised more than his birthright as we will see in the context, he despised his brother also. He's got problems with Dad. He's got a background from Mom. He's got problems with his brother. All of this is going to impact him in his life.
 
In chapter 27, Isaac is old. He wants to bless the firstborn, Esau. Before the blessing he tells Esau, "I want you to go out here and I want you to fix some venison and I want you to spice it up because my taste buds are failing. Add some A-1 spice sauce to it, salt and pepper and I will eat it and then I will bless you." Esau goes hunting; Jacob goes fishing for that blessing with the help of Mama. He was successful. He gets the blessing and when Esau finds out what happens - not going to go through the context of this – we find in the context of chapter 27, Esau wants to kill his brother. But he doesn't want to do it before his father dies. When Mama gets wind of this, she says, "I want you, Jacob, to go to my family, Padanaram, because she knew Esau wanted to kill her favorite son, Jacob.
 
Jacob now takes off. We'll pick it up now in chapter 28. We've gone through our background. We're going to see the beginning of what is the problem in Jacob's life overall. Chapter 28, he's on his way to Padanaram. He then stops by the road, sleeps on a rock. The first Hard Rock motel – not cafe. He has this dream. It's a ladder going up to heaven. Angels ascending and descending. And we pick it up with verse 16.
 
Gen:28:16 - Jacob awoke from his sleep, he says, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I did not know it.
 
Verse 17 - And he was afraid and he said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!"
 
Verse 18 - Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put at his head, and he set it up as a pillar, and he poured oil on top of it.
 
Verse 19 - And he called the name of that place Bethel... house of God ...as it was formerly called Luz.
 
Verse 20 - Then Jacob made a vow, saying, " If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and ifGod will give me bread to eat and clothing to put on,
 
Verse 21 - "so that I am able to come back to my father's house in peace, then God will be my God.
 
Big mistake. Big mistake. He puts off - which most commentators will say 20 years – I personally believe it was 40 – puts off 20 or 40 years establishing a relationship with God. He wanted to try the field. He wanted to go down 'broad way'. He's going to pay a price – a big one.
 
In chapter 29, verse 1 it says,
 
Gen:29:1 - So Jacob went on his journey... the Hebrew suggests that Jacob lifted up his heels. Back in the past, back way in the past at SEP, kids used to march around SEP up in Orr, MN with a certain little slogan like "We've got hip in our step, we've got pride in our stride." Well, this is Jacob. He's bouncing on from where he was at Bethel going to Padanaram and he's as happy as a lark because he figures that God is going to now bless him. "After all, I've made this conditional promise to God that You're going to be my God if You bless me." So now he goes. He reaches Padanaram. He meets his cousin, Rachel, by the well. Cousin then brings him to Dad, Laban. Laban is Jacob's uncle and now we begin to see the impact of this decision that he made in chapter 28. We pick it up now with verse 15 of chapter 29. Jacob says I'm going to stay with you for one month.
 
Then Laban says... verse 15 ...to Jacob, "Behold, because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what should your wages be?"
 
Verse 16 - Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger, Rachel.
 
Verse 17 - Leah's eyes were delicate... now, I'm using the New King James. In the margin for delicate it has 'weak'. The Hebrew can mean 'defective'. Or she could have cross eyes. She could be myopic. I take these off and y'all are just a blur. She could be squinting like Mister Magoo. This is Leah. Now on the other side in the Hebrew, the possibility is that the Hebrew means 'soft and tender'. This is the only positive thing about Leah. She's got some beautiful eyes. So either she's got defective eyes or she's got beautiful eyes and that's the only thing beautiful about her when you read the contrast. The end of verse 17 it says, ...but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance.
 
Ah, Rachel. Makes your heart palpitate. Makes your eyeballs bulge out. Make you think, "OOo la la la! Whoo!" This is Jacob, he sees Rachel. "Whoo-hoo!" Looks at Leah, "Hmmmmmm" "Whooooo-hoooo! Wow!"
 
So, verse 18, Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, "I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter."
 
Now, he loved her based on outward appearance. That's important. But there's an ingredient that's more important than outward appearance. It's the inward appearance. He really didn't know her. Furthermore, when you read the context, it doesn't say that Rachel loved Jacob. Jacob loved Rachel. It doesn't say that Rachel loved Jacob. When you read the context, Rachel loved Rachel. Now, it's customary at this time as even in certain societies today, to present a dowry – some gift to the family of the future wife. Since Jacob is flat broke, Ray Charles used to sing a song, 'I'm Busted'. Since Jacob is busted, he agrees to work for Laban. The agreement was for seven years. That can buy a lot of Wendy's burgers. Seven years? Think about this based on today's income. That could be anywhere from $150,000 to $300,000. Uh, hey, I have a daughter. Any of you want to give me a dowry of a few hundred thousand dollars, I'd take it. But I want you to note something. The agreement is specifically for Rachel. See, Jacob comes from a background of deceit and he is learning about Uncle Laban who is a master artist of deceit. A deceiver knows a deceiver so he specifically agrees for Rachel, your younger daughter. Possibly he knew the custom of the time - older daughters should be given in marriage first. Leah (ugh) – Rachel (yeah).
 
Verse 19 - Laban said, "It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me."
 
Verse 20 - So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love that he had for her.
 
It may be somewhat unusual. Normally as the song, 'Ebb Tide' started by Roy Hamilton, popularized by The Righteous Brothers, "Time goes by so slowly". But he worked seven years, and they seemed but a few days to him. Probably what was happening, Laban was working him so much to death that he didn't have time to think. But I want you to think back to your courtship – those who are married – for most of us it was a time of LLL-ooo-vvv-eee. Oh, were we in love! No sacrifice was too great for my Sweetie. Not at all. Back in the time that we had rotary dials, you could start dialing that seven-digit number – before you got to the seventh number, your Sweetie would pick up the phone. You think back to that time, you can write 5, 10, 20 page letters almost on a daily basis. Now that you're married, the only person that writes now is Art - arthritis - only one that's writing today - can't write, unfortunately, now. And then back then, boy, you saw each other before the wedding, before the marriage – man, were you on cloud nine. Oh, that was such an outstanding feeling to be on cloud nine during that time. Young man said to his father at breakfast one morning, "Dad, I'm going to get married." His father said to him, "Do you really know if you are ready to get married? How do you know?" The young man said, "I'm really in love with her." He said, "Are you sure? How do you know you're in love with her?" He said, "Last night I was kissing my girlfriend and a dog bit me and I did not feel it until I got home." That's because you're up here on cloud nine and you can do all kinds of things on cloud nine and there is this giddiness. You have this giddiness.
 
There is this Dr. Michael Leibowitz who said that giddiness is created when a chemical is released into the system. The chemical is phenethylamine . Over the years when I go through premarital counseling, one of the books that I have a tendency to go through to talk about romantic love, Song of Solomon. It's difficult for me going through the book of Song of Solomon without going (sigh) getting a little giddy. Now, phenethylamine is the same chemical found in chocolate. Let's see if I can create such a feeling. Normally, I'd use Hershey's. I've graduated. This is a Dove bar. Dove for Love. Mmmm. Mmmmmmm. Mmmmmmmmmm Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. I don't feel no chemical, but boy I tell you it tastes good! Mmmmmmmm. I've got a couple extras so if some of you want to come up afterwards and sprinkle it on your ice cream, let me know. Mmmmmmm! Mmmmmmmmm! You know, I used to love strawberry then vanilla. Now I love chocolate now. I'm like Mr. Pinelli, he loves chocolate and I can't even offer him any. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm because I'm going to eat them. Now I need some water. They're good. I don't feel the chemical yet.
 
But prior to the wedding, we go through these experiences and then something happens. What happens? What causes that giddiness to cease? Before the wedding, we are two heads on one shoulder like Siamese twins. After the wedding, it's like one of us moved to Siam. What happened? Before the wedding, we practice international relations – Russian hands and Roman fingers – where the hands are rushing and roaming over each other. After the wedding, "Don't you touch me." What happened? Before the wedding, open the car door. Could not imagine – could not imagine her opening that car door by herself. After the wedding, looking at her, "What's wrong with you? Your arm broke?" Before the wedding, no sacrifice is too great for my Sweetie. You know, hey, he belches. "Oh, boy, isn't that sweet." She could fix his favorite food and burn it and "Oh, man, I like that roasted taste in that food of yours." He could go up his nostrils and pick 'em out, "OOo, wow, hasn't he got a great looking hand." And, of course, he could spend all kinds of money – as one lady said to her mother, "I just can't get Johnny to stop spending money on me." The girl's mother said, "Marry him." You see, during the courtship we do all kinds of things. And then we get married and hard reality sets in. As someone said, "Courtship is a beautiful dream and marriage is the alarm clock." The sacrifice can slow us down.
 
I came across this years ago. It's the Seven Stages of a Married Cold. Seven stages of a married cold in which are revealed the sequence of actions where the husband reacted to his wife's cold during seven years of marriage. So the wife has a cold seven successive years of the marriage. How does the husband react?
 
First year: "Sugar dumplin I'm really worried about my baby girl. You've got a bad sniffle and there's no telling about these things with all the strep going around. I'm putting you in the hospital this afternoon for a general check up and a good rest. I know the food is lousy, but I'll be bringing your meals in from Rosini's. I've already got it arranged with the floor supervisor."
 
Second year: "Listen, darling, I don't like the sound of that cough and I've called Doc Miller to rush over here. Now, you go to bed and be a good girl just for Papa." A little different, but hey, fine.
 
Third year: "Maybe you'd better lie down, honey, nothing like a little rest when you feel lousy. I'll bring you something. Have we got any canned soup?"
 
Fourth year: "Now look, dear, be sensible. After you've fed the kids, got the dishes done and the floor finished, you'd better lie down."
 
Fifth year: "Why don't you take a couple of aspirin?"
 
Sixth year: "If you'd just gargle with something instead of just sitting around barking like a seal all evening..."
 
Seventh year: "For Pete sakes, stop sneezing. Are you trying to give me pneumonia?"
 
Change. If we look back to courtship we were on that cloud, then things changed. The emphasis, unfortunately during that time was somewhat in the wrong place. It's all on romance instead of getting to know each other. One of the points of Song of Solomon that emphasizes that very point as he is saying that we need to learn from each other, take us the foxes that are destroying our vineyard, let's see how we're going to react to one another when the problems come up in our relationship.
 
So the problem for Jacob was that he probably did not know Rachel and he was too busy standing on his head gargling peanut butter for her, so he gets married.
 
Verse 21, chapter 29 - Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her." Or as the NIV says, I want to lie with her.
 
Verse 22 - Laban gathered together the men of the place and made a feast... we will come back to that word shortly.
 
Verse 23 - It came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah, his daughter, brought her to Jacob and he went in to her.
 
Verse 24 - And Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a maid.
 
Verse 25 –Now it came to pass in the morning, that behold, it was Leah... yeah, there was a switch in the middle of the night. Right. Now, understand something here. Jacob, after the feast, goes into the marriage tent – it's possibly dark, he then consummates this wedding and then as the sun might be peeping through the tent door, Jacob wakes up a little late, his beloved is on the other side and Jacob now maybe sprays some breath spray in his mouth – pulls out a Listerine mint, puts it in his mouth and he starts singing "Oh, what a beautiful morning" And she says, "Uh-huh" "Oh, what a beautiful day" "Yes, it is." "I've got a wonderful feeling" "Uh-huh" "I'm coming over your way." And so he kisses her back. (kiss) He kisses her neck. (kiss) He kisses the hair. (kiss) "Uh-huh" Kisses the forehead. "Uh-huh" Closes his eyes and lays one great big sloppy one on the lips. (Smack) And then he opens his eyes. And he looks. And he (shakes his head in disbelief) "What?" Jumps up. Wraps the towel around him and he looks and he rubs his eyes and he says, "Uh, last night uh, uh, you and I ..." And she says, "Uh-huh."
 
Now, some commentators say that Leah was brought in veiled. Others say that she was brought in at night and Jacob didn't know and couldn't see her. What dummies! In his right mind, even in his wrong mind, after spending seven years knowing the toenail length of his intended, studying her physical makeup all the time, would not even know her smell, her heartbeat, the palpations in her heart, the rhythm of the beat, who wouldn't know it? What was Jacob's problem? Go back up to verse 22. That last word in verse 22 - feast. The Hebrew word for feast, Mishta. It means 'a feast of alcohol'. See, Uncle Laban was pouring on the Johnny Walker Red and the Smirnoff's and the wine – old and new – and he was just downing it and, see, Jacob was rocking and rolling and reeling and Jacob makes his way inside of that tent, "Uhhhhh, Rachel." And see as she looked this way before and he goes "Wow" This time he looks this way and he says, "Wow" He didn't know any difference because he possibly was so drunk he didn't know, and Leah looked like Rachel. And so, the end of verse 25 it says,
 
Verse 25 - ...And he said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?"
 
Verse 26 –And Laban said, "It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
 
Verse 27 - "Fulfill her week, and we will give you this one... for, uh, just another seven years. That's all. Now, his father-in-law was the first Monte Hall on the Bible. Some of you don't know who Monte Hall was. He was a game show host. Host of the show Let's Make A Deal. And he would have contestants on and there were three doors that you could select from, or he might be walking around with a bunch of cash in his pocket and you had to make a choice. And sometimes there might be a car behind one of those doors. There might be some jewelry or a trip. Or there might just be a gag gift behind one of those doors. And it's your turn now to make the choice. And here we find Laban – wheeler dealer, full of deceit, full of trickery, mouth as smooth as silk. And so in verse 28,
 
Verse 28 - Jacob did so, fulfilled her week. So he gave him his daughter Rachel as wife also. Fraud! He agrees to it. And since he agrees to it, it is no longer fraud and he has no end of problems. He has no end of problems. Leah and Rachel has to be in on this ruse as well, but Jacob agrees to marry both of them.
 
Verse 30 - Jacob also went in to Rachel, and he also loved Rachel more than Leah. And he served with Laban still another seven years.
 
And now we see the onslaught of problems.
 
Verse 31 - When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb... and boy, did He ...Rachel was barren.
 
Verse 32– Leah's first child is Reuben. She grabs this boy, runs up to Jacob. "See, a son. Now I know you are going to love me."
 
Verse 33 – the end of it: the second one comes on, Simeon, and it names him, 'I have heard'. "God has heard my cries."
 
In verse 34 the third-born is Levi meaning that, "hey, my husband is going to be attached to me now."
 
In verse 35 Judah is born, the fourth-born and she names him "Praise the Lord."
 
Four boys right off the bat.
 
Chapter 30 and verse 1 - When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, "Give me children, or else I die!" This is broad way. Looks good, but boy, you pay a price. Boy, do you pay a price.
 
Verse 2 - Jacob's anger was aroused against Rachel... wait a minute! Didn't he love this woman like nobody's business? What happened? ...he said, "Am I in the place of God?... Amazing how things change. So Rachel decided to give Jacob her handmaiden, Bilhah.
 
And so in verse 6, Bilhah gives birth to Dan and Dan means that 'God's now judged between my sister and me.' "She's got four and now I've got one." We're getting in a race. Bilhah has a second child in verse 8, Naphtali. "I'm wrestling with my sister." Where do they get the names of these kids?
 
Verse 9 - Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took Zilpah and gave her to Jacob. Zilpah now has the firstborn for Jacob and his name is Gad means 'it's a troop's coming now'. This is five. "I've got a troop. I'm going to get me some more."
 
And then, verse 13, Zilpah has Asher. 'Oh, happy day' is her attitude.
 
And verse 14 - Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother, Leah. Rachel said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes."
 
Now, this would probably be the first equivalent in the Bible of Viagra. Levitra, Cialis – sex stimulant - what they believed at that time. And so Rachel now is pleading, "I want some. It might help me even conceive."
 
And so she agreed. In verse 15 - She said to her, "Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son's mandrakes also?" And Rachel said, "Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son's mandrakes."
 
I mean, this is amazing. Huh? Jacob comes in from the field, he's been working all day and Leah goes out to meet him and she says, "Tonight I celebrate my son's mandrakes with you." Peyton Place? Leah, then, has another child. Leah has Issachar in verse 18. And Issachar means pretty much 'I paid for you'. Great name - 'Wages'. And then she has another son and in verse 20, Zebulun. "My husband's going to dwell with me now."
 
In verse 21 - Afterward she bore a daughter, and called her name Dinah. And it means 'judgment'.
 
You want to find out about Desperate Housewives, now I've never seen an episode of it on TV, this is it. Right? This is the first episode. You've got some desperate women who are fighting each other for their husband. Why? Why? Jacob thought he was doing the right thing. What happened?
 
Verse 22 - Then God remembered Rachel... and where do you read Rachel remembered God ...God listened to her and opened her womb.
 
Verse 23 - And she conceived and she bore a son, and said, "God has taken away my reproach."
 
Verse 24 - So she called his name Joseph... which means, "Add me another one, God. Now, I'm thankful I've got one, add me another one, God." So, after fourteen years of this – and as I said, I tend to believe it could very well be thirty-four – discussed this years ago with Dr. Hoeh – that Jacob very well could have been with Laban for some forty years, but after the 14 / 34 years, Jacob is so frustrated, he wants to leave and he wants to go back home. He works an additional six years for Laban. God tells him to flee. He does. Laban pursues. Laban wants to kill him, but God intervenes. Laban and Jacob form a compact, a covenant - chapter 31 brings that out.
 
We come to chapter 32. As Jacob is going home, his brother, who years ago wanted to kill him, starts coming toward him. Jacob remembers well the animosity his brother felt toward him. Jacob sends items of appeasement to Esau. Esau keeps coming. He tries to send foodstuffs. Esau keeps coming. He knows he's in trouble. So, in chapter 32 beginning with verse 24:
 
Gen:32:24 - Jacob was left alone; a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.
 
He wrestled all night. God allows this crisis to come on him in the first place, because now God is going to get his heart turned in the right direction. And you see, this is the thing with those who decide they want to go down broad way, go down the superhighway. You pay a price. You pay a big price, but God doesn't finish with you until He says so. And He will bring the crises just like the Prodigal Son when he came to himself and this is the event for Jacob for him to come to himself. So he wrestles all night long.
 
Verse 25 - Now when He saw... Jesus Christ, who was doing the wrestling ...that He... Christ ...did not prevail against him... Jacob ...He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. The margin for 'touch' is 'strike'. The Hebrew means that He gave what would be the equivalent of a Karate chop right to his thigh. He knew the body and as soon as He hit that spot, it was like he was only on one leg. He had one leg, he had two arms, but then Jacob continued to wrestle. He now has grabbed a hold of Jesus Christ and he was not going to let go. He is probably in some pain, he is probably in some discomfort, but he is going to hang on and not quit.
 
Verse 26 – Christ said to him, "Let Me go, for the day breaks." But he said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me!"
 
Why did Christ say, let me go? Christ knows him now. He knows where his focus is going to be now. He knows that Jacob has had to learn some difficult and bitter lessons. And that's the case with so many of us that come in as adults. We have gone through a lot of experiences and it would be great if people could learn - our youngsters could learn from our experiences and not have to go down that same road because it's painful. It hurts. And at times, the only way some learn is they have to go down that same road themselves.
 
So, verse 27 - He said to him, "What is your name?" He said, my name is Heel Grabber, Supplanter, Cheat, Deceiver, Trickster.
 
And Christ - verse 28 - says, "Your name shall no longer be called Deceiver, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and you have prevailed."
 
"Jacob, I've waited 20 - 40 long years for you to come to this point in your life. I've had my hands on you. You wanted to do it your way. You thought it was better your way. Now, you've come to recognize and realize you're way is not the best way. Now you realize that it is My way so I'm going to change your name and it's going to mean Prevailer with God." Christ knew that he, from this point on, was going to put God first. "And you are Prevailer with Man" because Christ knew that the promise was given him that he would be protected from his brother, Esau.
 
In verse 29 - Then Jacob asked saying, "Tell me Your name, I pray." And He said, "Why is it that you ask about My name?" And He blessed him there.
 
What was that blessing? My own personal belief is that he received the Holy Spirit at this time, that this was the moment of Jacob's conversion because prior to this event, Jacob referred to God as 'the God of my Father, Abraham, the God of my Father, Isaac' and after this experience, he refers to God in a personal way. There's a personal relationship that he has with God.
 
And so, in verse 30 - Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: "For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."
 
Verse 31 – and Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip.
 
He limped. God had to cripple him. God had to humble him to get him to the place where God could use him and that Jacob would now keep God first. When you're young, the world is your stage. The superhighway is running before you – broad – and it's so easy. It looks so glamorous. It looks so 'Rachel', but you pay a price. You pay a price. But, understand something, God still has His hand on you! God still wants you! God will do whatever it takes to get you to turn around to go the narrow way even if He has to cause you to limp. But, boy, once you come to that relationship, things change.
 
Chapter 33:1 –Jacob now lifted his eyes and he looked, and there, Esau was coming, and with him were four hundred men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two maidservants.
 
He put them in order.
 
Verse 3 - he crossed over before them, bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
 
Verse 4 - But Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.
 
Macho man, Esau, man's man, Esau. Unh-unh. There's a change. Who brought the change? It has to be God. They sit down. They share a meal.
 
Verse 8 - Esau said, "What do you mean by all this company which I met?" And he said, "These are to find favor in the sight of my lord."
 
Verse 9 - But Esau said, "I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself."
 
Verse 10 - Jacob said, "No, please, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present from my hand, inasmuch as I have seen your face as though I have seen the face of God...
 
Jacob has got different eyes now. He can look at Rachel, he can look at Leah, he can look at Laban, he can look at Esau and he can see through the eyes of God. It's a different perspective. The more you can see God through a problem, the less the problem becomes. The less the problem becomes. We allow the physical and the mundane to blow our minds, to cause us to lose sight of God. Now, Jacob is able to cope with these problems he has in his marriage and even what will come with his children. And he has set in motion some juvenile delinquents. As you read the account even with Dinah in chapter 34; you've got the problem with Reuben sleeping with the handmaid in chapter 35; Joseph had a problem with pride; but I want you to notice the end of all of this in chapter 47, verse 9. Jacob has come before Pharaoh. Pharaoh asks him, "How old are you?"
 
And in chapter 47, verse 9 - Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life...
 
Why? If Jacob could do it all over again, what would he do? Where did he go wrong? At the beginning. He did not lay the proper foundation in chapter 28 with God and he waited some twenty or forty long years before he did that. And what Jacob shows us even in our relationships: love is not enough unless you are talking about the love of God, but that's another subject. Love is important, but you need more than that. There has to be a relationship with God. That's the foundation for the narrow way, the narrow path. Those who go down the superhighway, they don't want it and you pay a price.
 
I'll end over here in Matthew chapter 7. We read the first admonition. I'll end on the fourth admonition.
 
Mat:7:24 - "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them..." I don't care whether you're baptized or not, these are the words of Christ, Himself. You hear week in and week out, he who ...hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man that built his house on the rock... and there are problems that are going to come in your life.
 
Verse 25 - the rain will descend, the floods will came, and the winds will blow - you will encounter 'Laban's', you will have 'Esau's', you will have all kinds of trials in life, but your house will stand because it is founded on the Rock. That is your relationship with God. You've got to have it. You've got to have it in order to succeed in life. You've got to have that rock-solid relationship with God, otherwise,
 
Verse 26 - everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does... them not is foolish, builds that ...house on the sand... and when the problems come, the house will crumble.
 
Therefore, we need to lay that right foundation. The foundation of the superhighway is to do your own thing and there are so many out there doing it. Moral relativism, post modernism, all these terms we come up with, just doing your own thing. The foundations for the narrow path are a rock-solid relationship with God. May we learn the lesson of Jacob in marriage, in family and life. Lay the right foundation for marriage, for family and life by putting God first.

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