God hears our prayers, but may not always respond exactly the way we expect. In last week’s passage, Jacob showed himself a man of godly action and a man of godly prayer. He was walking straight into a potentially dangerous situation hoping, despite his anxiety, the Lord would deliver him. This week, God begins to answer Jacob’s prayer, but not at all like Jacob envisioned. We’re going to see God grab ahold of Jacob and make a new man out of him. And in the process, we’ll learn from Jacob that the only way to overcome defeat and death is to grab hold of God. Just like Jacob, it takes a life-changing, God-altering intervention to bring us to that point. Only God can make that happen. This Sunday we will look at how Jacob’s wrestling provides us encouragement and life-changing hope, even in the face of defeat and death.
Monthly Archives: February 2015
Who isn’t struggling with this winter, unless you own a ski area or oil company?! It’s been tough. It’s been hard physically and emotionally for almost everyone. And as I write this, the snow is coming down outside again. Struggles are part of life in a fallen world. We have all kinds of struggles. We struggle with life. We struggle with people. And we even, at times, struggle in our relationship with God. We see all of these same struggles in the life of Jacob this week. And while Jacob is not exactly a role model, the Lord does show us, through Jacob, that we can’t go it all alone. Mere human effort is insufficient for human struggles. So this Sunday, we’re going to look at a couple of ways Jacob responded to his struggles, which will help us respond to our own.
The lives of Jacob and Laban were deeply intertwined and yet worlds apart. They were family, came from a rich heritage and had lived together in the same environment for 20 years, yet they were operating from different perspectives. The differences between Jacob and Laban are not that dissimilar to the differences between the Lord’s people and others. The Lord intends for His people to stand as a contrast to others. At least that’s how those who profess Jesus are supposed to be. The more Jacob grew in his faith, the more he served as a contrast to Laban. Earlier on, Jacob and Laban were not that different, but as Jacob placed his faith in the Lord, the Spirit of God began to work in Jacob’s heart to change him – to increase his contrast. This weeks passage in Genesis demonstrates five ways in which the Lord’s people serve as a contrast to the world. I hope they serve to encourage you to turn up your own contrast and magnify the work of Jesus to those God has placed you near.
Have you ever been the guest of another person and sensed you may have worn out your welcome? Have you ever wanted to leave but couldn’t quite find the right opportunity to graciously bow out? I begin losing most of my cognitive function by 9 PM and have known to fall asleep on my guests when it gets much beyond that hour. I know – I’m the life of the party. Times like this can be awkward and non-verbal communication begins to take over. Well, much the same thing was happening in our passage this week, as the Jacob-Laban episode begins to come to its conclusion.
Jacob has worn out his welcome and he begins to sense it. Yet, it isn’t fear that causes him to make the great escape. He makes his move because the Lord is with him. Jacob is finally becoming a true man of faith and realizes that when the Lord is with you, He is all you need. This begins an important turning point in the life of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham and recipient of God’s covenant of grace. Is the Lord with you? How do you know? How can it change the way you deal with difficult circumstances and people?
Find out this Sunday as we hear from God’s Word and worship together at 10:30.