Summary: Sense is a virtue, but God plus sense is out of this world!
God Plus Sense Equals Blessing
1. It takes all kinds of people to make a world.
2. Some Boeing employees on the airfield decided to steal a life raft from one of the 747s. They were successful in getting it out of the plane and home. Shortly after they took it for a float on the river, they noticed a Coast Guard helicopter coming toward them. It turned out that the chopper was homing in on the emergency locater beacon that activated when the raft w as inflated. They are no longer employed at Boeing.
3. Or take this one: A pair of Michigan robbers entered a record shop nervously waving revolvers. The first one shouted, ’Nobody move!’ When his partner moved, the first bandit shot him.
4. We could make a grid. On the horizontal line, we could have, "sense and no sense."
On the vertical line, we could have, "saved" and "lost."
5. The quadrant we want is "saved and sense." There are quadrants that would be "saved and no sense," "lost and sense" and "lost and no sense."
Main Idea: Sense is a virtue, but God plus sense is out of this world!
I. Jacob Started with Sense, But GOD Added Himself to the Equation (1-32)
A. God emboldened Jacob by OPENING his eyes to angels (1-2)
Jacob exemplifies great wisdom in his actions.
B. Jacob tried to TACTFULLY contact Esau (3-5)
1. He expresses humility: "your servant" (3-4)
2. He expresses that he does not need Esau to help him (5)
3. In other words, he was not claiming his birthright inheritance: he was neither above Esau nor dependent upon a double portion of Isaac’s inheritance.
4. Some people cannot surrender their rights… because they can legally do something dictates that they must…they pay for it in many ways…
5. As Matthew Henry puts it, "Yielding pacifies great offences."
C. Jacob reasonably assumed Esau’s 400 men implied HOSTILITY (6)
Jacob knows human nature. He had no reason to believe that Esau’s hostility had subsided, so naturally he would think this.
D. Jacob makes CONTINGENCY plans (7-8)
• Maybe at least half of my family will survive. We called this, "not putting all our eggs in one basket." In economics, it is called a "diverse portfolio." Spreading out risk is typically a wise move.
E. Now Jacob prays, claiming God’s PROMISES (9-12)
• In some ways, Jacob’s prayer is a model prayer. There are certain things that really please God. One of those is repentance. Another is when we seek His help based upon our desire to glorify Him. This is what Jacob does.
F. Jacob sends a LAVISH gift to Esau (13-20)
Proverbs 21:14 says: A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.
G. Jacob WRESTLES with God (21-30)
1. He spends the night ALONE (21-23)
2. He WRESTLES with a man all night (24)
3. This man supernaturally DISLOCATES Jacob’s hip (25)
4. Jacob refuses to let the man go until He BLESSES Jacob (26)
5. The "man" proves to be GOD (27-32)
Probably "the angel of the Lord," the preincarnate Son of God who often appears in the Old Testament as an angel or a man…
6. He changes Jacob’s name to ISRAEL (28)
• Israel = "he overpowered Elohim"
• We call this an example of "prevailing prayer"
7. The Israelites do not eat the hip tendon as a MEMORIAL (32)
Only the forequarter of a Kosher slaughtered animal is brought to Kosher butcheries. The hindquarters are not brought into Kosher butcheries. In Genesis (32:25-33) the Torah recounts the fight that Jacob had with an angel who dislocated his sciatic nerve. Because of that injury we are instructed that the Jewish people do not eat the part of a Kosher animal that contains the sciatic nerve. [source: www.uos.co.za/kashrut/defaultFull.asp]
Sense is a virtue, but God plus sense is out of this world!
II. This COMBINATION of Faith and Sense is Generally a Good One!
A. Some of us WRESTLE with logic but not with God.
Hosea 12:2-4, “ The LORD has a charge to bring against Judah; he will punish Jacob according to his ways and repay him according to his deeds. In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel; as a man he struggled with God. He struggled with the angel and overcame him; he wept and begged for his favor.”
1. Jacob wrestled with his emotions, he wrestled with a logical plan, but when his plan seemed to fail, he was ready to wrestle with God.
2. To wrestle with God means to haggle with God, like Abraham did when he tried to bargain God down from destroying Sodom and Gomorrah out of concern for his nephew, Lot.
3. To wrestle with God is to trust Him while taking your unanswered questions to Him, like Job did.