Summary: Three precepts for finding God’s big dream for your life. Second sermon in four-part series, "Dreaming Big for God."
Most sports fans know the name of Reggie White, great defensive end for the Green Bay Packers who recently went to be with the Lord. Some do not know that he was an ordained minister. Before signing a $17 million deal with the Packers, White said publicly that he would look to God to tell him where to play.
Later a coach from Green Bay admitted that he left a message on White’s answering machine that said, "Hey Reggie, this is God. Go to Green Bay."
God doesn’t leave answers on answering machines so how do we find God’s big dreams for our life?
You might be saying to yourself, "I would like to dream big for God. What does God want me to do and how can I find out?"
Jacob found himself wrestling with the same questions. In fact, no one ever lived a more topsy-tervy existence than Jacob when it came to figuring out God’s big dreams for his life.
So today we’re going to dissect Jacob’s life to discover God’s big dream for us.
Here are THREE PRECEPTS FOR FINDING GOD’S BIG DREAM FOR YOUR LIFE:
1. ADMIT WHO YOU ARE before you dream of who you can become.
Jacob was pretty much a rascal for most of his earthly existence. He even came out of his mother’s womb holding on to the heel of his paternal twin brother Esau - hence his name, which literally means, "heel-grabber".
Figuratively the name Jacob means "supplanter". A supplanter is someone who tries to take what belongs to others by deception. Jacob honed the craft of deceiving others (in order to have his own way) into an art form.
When the midwives, or whoever else gathered around the birth of Isaac and Rebekah’s twin boys, saw the second son’s hand on the heel of the first son, they took note of it right away. The story surely must have made the rounds among the entire clan.
Jacob most likely endured ribbing about his name all during his childhood. Every time someone spoke his name he may have remembered the story. He could almost hear their thoughts: "There’s the boy, who, even at his birth, was trying to take what belonged to someone else."
To make matters worse, his parents played favorites. Jacob was the darling of his mother and Esau was Isaac’s preference. This foolish parental error may have motivated Jacob all the more to begin supplanting his seconds-older sibling.
In those days the oldest son inherited the birthright and the blessing. Esau held that place by a photo finish. Big problem with Esau however, was that he was the sort of person who lived for the moment. He failed to consider the consequences of his actions.
One day when he came back home, dog-tired from hunting, consumed with hunger and thirst, he asked his culinary brother to feed him with some of the stew he had just cooked. Then Jacob "the supplanter" bargained, "First sell me your birthright." (Gen. 25:30 NIV)
"Look, I’m dying of starvation!" Esau said. "What good is my birthright to me now?" (Gen. 25:32 NLT)
So he sold his birthright for a bowl of stew!
Esau wasn’t really dying of starvation. He could have turned aside Jacob’s raw deal and taken a little bit more time and found something else to eat. Accepting a bargain like that was along the same lines as Russia selling Alaska to the United States for about two cents an acre.
What Esau did was foolishly impulsive and we are warned in Scripture not to make the same mistake.
"Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau. He traded his birthright as the oldest son for single meal." (Hebrews 12:16 NLT)
This is the real reason Esau lost his birthright. He was careless with the blessings of God. What a red flag for us! Short-term thinking can rob us of God’s big dreams for our life.
Esau may have been the willing dupe in this story - but what kind of scoundrel would take advantage of his own brother in his hour of need? How manipulative. How exploitive. And yet...how totally human.
Before we condemn Esau or Jacob remember, "For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard." (Romans 3:23 NLT) We’re all Esau’s and Jacob’s.
Isaac and Rebekah’s boys aren’t the only rightesouness-challenged people to ever live. We all have some soul-searching to do before we can find God’s big dream for our life.
Do you know what Jacob’s biggest problem was? It’s also our biggest hurdle when it comes to discovering God’s big dreams for our life - our own self. Dreaming big for God is most often hindered by our own need for change.
Your struggle begins with you - just like Jacob’s stuggle began with Jacob.