Summary: This sermon focuses on the problem of anxiety and how believer’s can face it and overcome it.
"A Night of Anxiety"
What does anxiety do in a person’s life?
1. It does not rid tomorrow of it’s sorrow, but it does rob today of it’s strength.
2. It does no keep you from experiencing evil, but it makes you incapable of coping with it when it comes.
3. It does not bless tomorrow, but it curses today.
God has granted us the power to bear all burdens of His making, but not to bear all the burdens of our own making that anxiety will bring us.
Jacob spent a night in anxiety from which we can learn.
I. THE REASONS FOR ANXIETY.
A. Loneliness (32:24a).
Jacob was left "alone." Anxiety often accompanies loneliness.
(1) This is not God’s intention - Gen. 2:18 - "It is not. . . "
(2) Loneliness renders us incompetent for life’s tasks. Num. 11:14 - Moses needed help.
(3) Loneliness removes our source of strength - Ecclesiastes 4:10
(4) Loneliness develops a spirit of self-pity. Elijah - 1 Kings 19:9-11
B. Past Sin
1. Jacob never forgot how he cheated Esau.
2. Past sins have a way of haunting us. God does not want it to be that way.
C. The Threat of Judgment – Genesis 32:6-8
D. The Fear of the Unknown
Jacob spent a sleepless night because he feared what tomorrow might bring. Ninety-five percent of our worries are either about past events we cannot change, or future events that never materialize.
II. THE RESULTS OF ANXIETY.
A. Needless Worry – 32:7a
The events proved his worry unjustified.
1. Worry complicates life’s problems. Simple problems become major messes. “Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due.”
2. Worry is a poor witness for a Christian. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.” (Psalm 55:22)
B. Busyness (32:4-5)
Jacob spent a lot of time and money to deal with his anxiety. Could this be why so many today are so “busy”? It may often be a way of running away from facing real issues that cause anxiety.
C. Division of God’s people – spirit of tension
D. Sleepless Nights – Jacob was robbed of rest.
III. The Remedy for Anxiety.
A. Confession – Genesis 32:10
1. Of Unworthiness 2. Need
B. Petition – 32:11-12
1. Pleads for Deliverance
2. Claims God’s Promise – 32:12
3. Abandons Sin. Jacob desired to do right.
C. Persistent Faith – 32:24-30
The wrestling with the angel is a portrayal of persistent faith. We learn we must hold on no matter how tough the battle may become.
1. This faith brings promise of brighter tomorrow (32:27-29). Jacob was no longer the “deceiver” but was now “Prince with God.”
2. This faith gives deep confidence in God’s protective power (32:30).
A fellow who was a constant worrier visited Charles Albert Tindley one day. After listening awhile, Tindley replied: “My advice to you is put all your troubles in a sack, take ’em to the Lord, and leave ’em there.” Tindley went on to write the following words which became a popular Christian song:
If the world from you withhold of its silver and its gold,
And you have to get along with meager fare,
Just remember, in His Word, how He feeds the little bird;
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.