Summary: We can let our crisis handle us or we can let God handle our crisis.
God’s Help in Times of Crisis
Text: Gen. 32:1-21
1. Read Gen. 32:1-21
2. Illustration: A “lame duck” President met with his successor in the Oval Office. Near the end of the orientation, he presented the incoming leader three numbered envelopes, with specific instructions to open them, in order, when great difficulties arose. After the new President completed his “honeymoon” period with the media and the public, the nation experienced an economic downturn. He opened the first envelope. Inside was a card that read: “Blame me.” So he did, criticizing the former administration. After a while, social upheaval brought about a critical domestic crisis. The President opened the second envelope. Inside was a card that read: “Blame my party.” He did so, in an overt display of partisan politics. About a year later, foreign policy resulted in serious problems and the President opened the third envelope. Inside, the card read: “Prepare three envelopes.”
3. The older I get the more I am convinced that crisis are a regular way of life. The only thing that really changes is how you deal with them.
Proposition: We can let our crisis handle us or we can let God handle our crisis.
Transition: From the life of Jacob, we learn that...
I. In Times of Crisis God is There With Us (1-2)
A. Two Camps
1. Jacob’s life since receiving the blessing of his father seems to go from one crisis to another.
a. He has to flee from Esau
b. He has to work fourteen years to get his wives
c. He has to flee from his father-in-law
2. In this passage we see him face yet another crisis: he has to come face to face with Esau again.
3. However, as he went to face this crisis "the angels of God met him."
a. These divine messengers are there with Jacob but don’t say a word; they are just there (Hamilton, 317).
b. That is how it is so often in the crisis of life. We cannot see God, we cannot hear God, but we know that we know He is there with us.
4. Jacob knows that God is there with him for he says "This is God’s host."
a. More literally, "God’s camp."
b. He knows that God is right there beside him.
c. Just as he was at Bethel, Jacob knows that he is in the presence of Almighty God.
5. Jacob names that place Mahanaim.
a. The word means "two camps."
b. He and his camp are there, and God and His camp are there.
B. If God Is With Us
1. Illustration: We need God’s help on a daily basis. I came across a little prayer in a Christian magazine, headed: "A Morning Prayer for Help" - note that I said "morning"! "Dear God, so far today I’ve done alright, I haven’t gossiped, lost my temper, been nasty, selfish or over indulgent. But in a few minutes God, I’m going to get out of bed and from then on, I’m going to need all the help I can get."
2. There is no time we need the presence of God more than when we are facing a crisis.
a. We cannot handle it on our own.
b. We cannot face it on our own.
c. We cannot get through it on our own.
3. Without God we will:
b. Fall Apart
c. Crash and Burn
4. Rom. 8:31-32 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (ESV)