Summary: This sermon teaches us that our scars are simply reminders that a wounding has occurred; but that a healing has taken place; a healing that lifts us higher than we ever could have risen without the wounding.
By: JB Hall
Introduction: Scars are usually not considered to be a beauty mark. People often try to hide their scars with clothing or make-up. And yet scars have a story to tell.
Scars serve as a demarcation line between the past and the present; between what existed prior to the wound that brought the scar, and what exists now on this side of the wound.
Scars tell of a wounding that has occurred. But scars also remind us that a healing has taken place.
Scars remind us of danger and damage that has come our way; but also of recovery and restoration that has followed.
Scars inform us that a permanent change has taken place; that things will never be as they were before.
There are many types of scars: there are physical scars, there are financial scars; there are emotional scars; there are relationship scars; there are scars of loss; there are psychological scars; there are social scars; and there are spiritual scars.
While, like I said earlier, scars are not usually thought of as a mark of beauty, they do serve as a constant reminder of a beautiful thing that has occurred in our lives; a beautiful wounding that has resulted in a glorious new future for us.
1 Samuel 2:6 & 7 say, “”The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.” “The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.”
So, it is often in the horror of wounding that the beauty of healing comes to our lives.
Scars then, serve as a beacon, always pointing us back to the transforming wound; always reminding us of the cost of our healing, lest we forget and either endanger ourselves by lapsing back into the same patterns that brought the wound; or, take the healing for granted and become unthankful.
This morning I’d like us to take a look at 4 individuals whose scars provided a visible reminder of the touch of God that brought a horrible wound, so that He might lift them higher than they ever could have risen without it.
1. Jacob - that supplants, undermines; the heel. Changed to Israel - who prevails with God.
A. Jacob was a supplanter; he was always undermining someone’s purpose or plans.
B. He was a trickster; a cheat; a thief.
C. In Genesis 25:29 – 34 Esau, Jacob’s brother came in from a hunting trip and was hungry.
D. He asked his brother Jacob for some lentils he had cooked; but Jacob sold him his lentils for Esau’s birthright.
E. So, Jacob bought Esau’s birthright for some lentils and bread.
F. This was not just a symbolic gesture: it was real: Esau really gave up his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentils and some bread.
G. In Genesis, Chapter 27 Jacob schemed with his mother Rebekah to deceive his father Isaac into thinking he was Esau so his father would give him Esau’s birthright; and so he did.
H. In Genesis, Chapter 31 Jacob again cheated Laban.
I. He had made a deal with Laban that all the ringstraked, speckled, and spotted cattle would belong to him; but he would separate all the solid colored cattle for Laban.
J. When the strong cattle came to breed, Jacob place striped sticks before them causing them to bear ringstraked, speckled, and spotted sheep and goats.
K. When the weaker cattle came to breed, Jacob didn’t place the striped sticks before them.
L. Thus, Jacob had all the best sheep and goats and Laban had all the weaker ones.
M. Again, Jacob had undermined the wealth of Laban and had stolen the best for himself.
N. As Jacob left Laban with his wives, children, and possessions in Genesis, Chapter 32, his brother Esau came with 400 men to meet him.
O. Jacob feared his brother and tried to plan a way to appease him so he would not come to kill him,
P. That night there came a man and wrestled with him all night.
Q. As Jacob wrestled with Who many believe to be the pre-incarnate Jesus, this Man told Jacob to let Him go.
R. Jacob would not let go until He blessed him.
S. In the wrestling this Man touched Jacob’s thigh which left him crippled.
T. But He blessed him and changed his name to Israel – meaning ‘who prevails with God’.
U. Jacob bore the scar of spiritual struggle the rest of his life.
V. But, Jacob’s physical scar, a permanent limp, from that night forward was a visible reminder of his wrestling with God, and the change that that spiritual struggle had brought to his life.
W. It served as a dividing line; dividing the past life of treachery and deceit from his new life as prince of the Jewish nation.