Sermons

Summary: Jacob: Wrestling with God and Man, Pt. 3

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“BETTER LATE THAN NEVER” (GEN 28:10-29:13)

A Chinese fable tells of the owl’s flight to the east to escape its neighbors, who were increasingly tired and vocal of the bird’s incessant noise in the night. As it was packing, the owl met a pigeon, which asked: “Where are you going? Why are you in such a hurry?”

The owl answered tersely, “I’m moving to the east.” The pigeon asked again, “Why are you moving there?” The owl moaned, “Because people here all complained about my singing. They cannot stand my hooting. I am going to move east so that they will have no reason to complain anymore.”

The pigeon then frankly told the owl, “Moving to another place is a good idea only if you change your voice. If you don’t, the people in the east too will complain about your singing.”

Kevin McHale, the legendary Boston Celtics basketball great, explained why troubles often follow many NBA players that discover newfound wealth: “I don’t think basketball is the answer to all problems. If a guy comes into the league with a ton of problems, and they pay him half a million dollars, then he’s a millionaire with a ton of problems.” (Los Angeles Times 1/3/93)

Jacob made a bad name and a horrible life for himself when he deceived his father (Gen 27:35) and angered his brother (Gen 27:45). The first act of deception in the Bible was not committed by the serpent (Gen 3:13), but by Jacob (Gen 27:35). The English word for Jacob’s and the serpent’s act of deception is similar in NIV but the Hebrew text correctly used the word “beguiled” for the serpent’s actions and “deceived” for Jacob’s. The conniving, selfish Jacob appeared to be leaving his problems behind, but he was just taking his troubles elsewhere, transferring them to others, and prolonging the agony. Jacob’s mother had sent him 500 miles away to Haran, where her brother lived. The sober Jacob had a lot of spare time to reconsider his ways. Though it took leaving his town, his family, and his past behind for Jacob to mend his ways, he was a truly changed man by the time he reached Haran. It was better late than never!

Why is a changed life better late than never? How are people changed and transformed from the errors of their ways? Is there hope for cold, calculative, and crooked people like Jacob?

COMPREHEND GOD’S PROVIDENCE TO YOU

10Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. 11When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Gen 28:1-14)


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