Summary: Though God wants us to ask for unbelievable things from Him, often there are requirements, on our part, that need to be met in order to receive by faith.
March 2, 2003
Text: Genesis 25:23-31:55
Title: Don’t Just Stand There; Do Something
We hear much in the church world about faith. We know about saving faith - trusting in Christ alone for your eternal life. I have personally been encouraging you to take steps of faith. I’ve explained how faith plays a significant role in healing. We have seen that by faith we receive blessings from God. Three weeks ago, on a Sunday night, I challenged you to begin to ask God, in faith, for things larger than you have ever considered or even imagined. God wants to bless us like that.
But tonight I want you to consider something more than just standing back and receiving blessings.
First of all, the Lord isn’t going to just pour out blessings on you because you look good or appear to be a good Christian. If we are going to receive blessings something is required of us. We have to ask for those blessings. That means prayer.
Second, just because we have prayed and believed that we receive God’s promises doesn’t mean that there is nothing else required of us.
Third, in many instances, in order to receive God’s promised blessings, He has given us the wherewithal to do things in order to receive them.
Let me give you and example. The apostle Paul wrote much about faith and the promises of God. He told the church in Philippi that God supplies all your needs according to His riches in glory, yet wherever Paul went he worked as a tentmaker. Even though he wrote to the church in Corinth that he had every bit as much a right to receive pay for his ministry, as did those so-called super-apostles, he still worked. Why? Because God gave him an ability to make a living through a trade and he allowed God’s blessing to come to him through his talents.
Tonight we are going to look at the life of Jacob, one of the patriarchs of the faith, of whom it was told to his mother that he would receive God’s blessing. I want to show you tonight that even when we have the promise of blessing we don?t have to sit idly by and wait for those blessings to be poured out. Our activity plays a big part in God’s plans for our lives.
Let us look at Jacob’s life and we will see:
One, like Jacob we are favored and blessed.
Two, like Jacob we can build our relationship with God.
Three, like Jacob our actions can be the method of blessing that God chooses for us.
I. Jacob is favored and blessed. Let’s begin our story with Esau and Jacob still in the womb. Gen. 25:22, "But the children struggled together within her; and she said, ’If all is well, why am I like this’? So she went to inquire of the Lord."
Verse 23, "and the Lord said to her, ’Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger’." God gave word before his birth that Jacob would rule over his brother. Nothing more than that; no explanation given, just the promise of blessing and favor in God’s eyes.
Now Esau was a skillful hunter. When you think of a hunter what comes to mind? A rugged individual who can survive on just what he takes from nature. He doesn’t need anything else. Esau would probably be one of those guys who says he can be closer to God in the woods than in church. Esau chose wives that were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah. Esau was so independent that he didn’t even think he needed the birthright that was coming to him so he sold it for a bowl of bean soup. He didn’t expect much from a blessing and he got what he expected.
Jacob was a mild man. (NKJV) KJV calls him a plain man; the NIV a quiet man. In Strong’s concordance we see the word translated these three different ways is tam. (tawm) Meaning "complete in a moral sense, specifically pious, gentle, dear, coupled together, perfect, plain, undefiled, upright." Jacob was all these things rolled into one person. Why did God bless one child and not the other? He knew them in their mother’s womb. God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5, "before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you."God, being the eternal and all knowing God that he is, knew Jacob’s heart from the beginning. He tricked his father into giving him his blessing. You can look at this from different angles. One tells us that Jacob means deceiver. Jacob tricked his father into giving him the blessing. He prevented his father from going against God’s will.