Summary: Proposition: It may sound like a cliche, but we need to let go and let God.
GOD MOVES IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS
Text: Gen. 29:1-30
1. Read Gen. 29:1-15
2. There is a story about West Side Baptist Church in Beatrice, Nebraska. Normally all of the good choir people came to church on Wednesday night to practice, and they tended to be early, well before the 7:30 starting time. But one night, March 1, 1950, one by one, two by two, they all had excuses for being late. Marilyn, the church pianist overslept on her after-dinner nap, so she and her mother were late. One girl, a high school sophomore, was having trouble with her homework. That delayed her, so she was late. One couple couldn’t get their car started. They, and those they were to pick up, were subsequently late. All eighteen choir members, including the pastor and his wife, were late. All had good excuses. At 7:30, the time the choir rehearsal was to begin, not one soul was in the choir loft. This had never happened before. But that night, the only night in the history of the church that the choir wasn’t starting to practice at 7:30, was the night that there was a gas leak in the basement of the West Side Baptist Church. At precisely the time at which the choir would have been singing, the gas leak was ignited by the church furnace and the whole church blew up. The furnace room was right below the choir loft!
3. God moves in mysterious ways! This is what people say when circumstances happen in their lives that they cannot explain through reason.
4. However, there is another way of describing this phenomenon: God is in control! The sooner we figure this out the happier and less stressed out we will be.
Proposition: It may sound like a cliché, but we need to let go and let God.
Transition: This story about Jacob tells us two things about the sovereign leading of God. First...
I. God Sovereignly Leads His People (1-14)
A. Do You Know Laban?
1. This narrative begins "Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east."
a. The area that he traveled to is what came to be know Mesopotamia, a land that stretched east of the Persian Gulf (Horton, Complete Biblical Library, 261).
b. Jacob went there for two reasons: 1) His brother wanted to kill him, and 2) He needed to find a wife.
2. What is so striking about this text is the way that Biblical History repeats itself.
a. Back in Genesis 24, Abraham had sent his servant to his people to find a wife for Isaac.
b. In that story, Abraham’s servant came to a well, in fact it may be the same well that Jacob finds himself at now.
c. The fact that the meeting took place at a well is significant because a well was often associated with God’s blessing —Bible Knowledge Commentary
3. This story shows that "coincidence" is for those with either no faith or no sense to see the sovereign hand of God.
a. He “happened” onto a spot where a well was located;
b. it “happened” to be near Haran, where Laban lived (29:5),
c. and Laban’s daughter Rachel just “happened” to be coming to the well (v. 6).
d. This timing was the work of the loving sovereign God who was leading all the way —Bible Knowledge Commentary
4. Jacob was a man on a mission, and God was leading the way.
a. At Bethel God had promised his land, descendants, blessing, and protection.
b. This meeting at the well was the beginning of the fulfillment of that promise (Ross, Creation and Blessing, 501).
5. While Jacob was still speaking to the men at the well, along came the first fulfillment of the promise, Rachel, the daughter of Laban.
a. The well had a large stone that covered it. This stone kept people or animals from falling into it, and protected against contamination (Walton, NIV Application Commentary, 585).
b. Therefore, Jacob moved the stone for Rachel to water her sheep.
c. This shows the transformation in his life. Before his encounter with Yahweh, he thought only of himself. However, now Jacob was generous, zealous, and industrious.
6. Then Jacob "kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept."
a. Now the kissing of relatives (vv. 11, 13) was a proper greeting.—Bible Knowledge Commentary
b. But I believe that Jacob wept because he knew that God was already fulfilling his promise.
7. When Rachel found out who Jacob was she ran and got her father, and when he got their "Laban said to him, "Surely you are my bone and my flesh."
a. God was now returning to Jacob some of the things he had forfeited because of his impatience and greed.