Summary: We learn through the story of Jacob that God is there for us during our darkest moments. All we must do is cling to Jesus and Jesus will give us the victory.
A Bridge Over Troubled Water
Over the last few weeks we have been looking at the beginning of the nation of Israel. We had several stories about Abraham. And last week we looked at Abraham’s son Isaac on the altar as representing Christ and the New Testament Gospel. But that really was the only truly important story about Isaac. So this morning we are moving on to Jacob Isaac’s son.
I am going to summarize Jacob’s story. And then I am going to really focus on one aspect of Jacob’s story that again reveals some of the nature of Christ. When I thought about Jacob’s story and his involvement with God, I thought about an old Simon and Garfunkel song, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Let me read you some of the lyrics of that classic folk rock song.
When you’re weary, feeling small, When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all; I’m on your side. When times get rough And friends just can’t be found, Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down. Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down.
Jacob faced a lot of troubled water in his life. But it was in those moments when he faced some of the roughest water that God revealed Himself to Jacob.
I. Jacob’s Life.
Jacob’s life began with a prophecy about trouble to come.
Genesis 25:21-24 (NLT)
Isaac pleaded with the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children. The LORD answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins. But the two children struggled with each other in her womb. So she went to ask the LORD about it. “Why is this happening to me?” she asked.
And the LORD told her, “The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son.”
And when the time came to give birth, Rebekah discovered that she did indeed have twins!
Even before Jacob’s birth God foretold that Jacob’s life would be troubled. And much of his trouble would come from his twin brother.
For example: When Jacob and his brother Esau were teenagers, Esau comes in after a long day of hunting and asks Jacob for some of his stew.
Genesis 25:30-34 (NLT)
Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”)
“All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.”
“Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?”
But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.
So we see the struggle between these two brothers. And Jacob seems to be getting the better of his brother, but the day would come when he goes too far.
When Jacob’s father Isaac is old, blind and feeling like his time to die was soon to come, he decided to bless Esau. He liked his son Esau much better than Jacob and so had decided to give Esau everything, even though God had said that the younger was to inherit Isaac’s place as the head of God’s nation.
But Jacob plots with his mother to steal away Esau’s blessing and inheritance that they felt rightfully belonged to Jacob anyway.
Genesis 27:5-10 (NLT)
But Rebekah overheard what Isaac had said to his son Esau. So when Esau left to hunt for the wild game, she said to her son Jacob, “Listen. I overheard your father say to Esau, ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare me a delicious meal. Then I will bless you in the LORD’s presence before I die.’ Now, my son, listen to me. Do exactly as I tell you. Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to prepare your father’s favorite dish. Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.”
Jacob and his mother plotted how to steal away Esau’s blessing. And it worked. Jacob disguised himself as Esau, took Isaac his favorite meal, and lied to his father to steal Esau’s blessing. And that went way over the line.
Genesis 27:41 (NLT)
From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.”