Summary: The New Year is a reminder that living life can be a fearful experience, because we are all vulnerable to the choices others make and circumstances beyond our control. Our compassionate God wants to reassure us through His Word, yet many of us want this r

Help -- Life is Scaring Me!

(Genesis 28:10-20)

1. The headlines and issues going into 2009 are legion: the economy, the war, your family and personal issues, the moral condition of our nation…pessimists never had it so good!

2. It can be hard to cope with life; yet many of you have the greatest weapon to combat the devils onslaughts right in your hand or lap: your Bible.

3. But it is not the printed pages that have the power, it is, rather, their content. The Word.

4. The more American Christians neglect the Word, the weaker we become.

5. This year, we are going to try to shore you up as we encourage you to participate in our "You’ve Got the Time" Bible listening program.

6. Today’s Bible account reinforces the centrality of Scripture in coping with life’s frightening times.

Main Idea: Living life can be a fearful experience, because we are all vulnerable to the choices others make and circumstances beyond our control. Our compassionate God wants to reassure us through His Word, yet many of us want this reassurance without the study.

I. During Life’s Scariest Time, God Reassured Jacob through His SPOKEN Word (10-22)

A. Jacob’s CRISIS (10-11)

Jacob was leaving home, perhaps the first time outside of his country. Alone, without a job, fleeing to relative hundreds of miles away.

In times of crisis, we are both vulnerable and open. Many people come to faith in Christ during a crisis, and many people are drawn to false religions during a time of crisis or great unhappiness. They are looking for something, and if they are exposed to repeated influences, they typically succumb. That’s how smart people get involved in all sorts of things.

In this instance, it was God, and not the devil, who got through to Jacob during his crisis.

B. Jacob’s DREAM (12)

1. This is what Nathaniel (Bartholomew) was STUDYING before he met Jesus

2. The stairway is a picture of JESUS (John 1:47-51)

C. God’s WORD (13-15)

God’s Word contains both information and promise.

D. Jacob’s INVIGORATION (16-19)

Realizing that God has a plan for your life and that He is in control and intimately acquainted with all your ways -- and that He is out for your best interest -- and that He has spoken to you -- that will lift your soul and your spirits.

E. Jacob’s Pledge to SERVE (20-22)

1. He sets up a monument as a reminder (mechanism)

Good intentions often do not bear fruit unless we set up the mechanism.

I have a calendar reminder system on my computer that sends me email reminders. It has generally worked well, but lately my email outbox gets hung up and the mail is not sent; I’ve had to rely on another reminder through my g-mail as a back up.

A mechanism is a system. For example, coming to church and Sunday School is a mechanism to get you some Biblical nutrition; it is not enough. But it is one mechanism which, if done regularly with a good attitude, will help. The Daily Bread is another mechanism some people find helpful. A weekly Bible study can be another avenue. Biblical teaching on the radio another. Listening to the Bible read is yet another.

This stone monument would be a reminder to Jacob that God met him there.

For the NT believer, looking back on our baptism is a reminder. The Lord’s Supper is a reminder.

2. He prays a prayer:

The common Hebrew word for prayer is tefilah, the root …means to judge, clarify, decide. The word plilim is used for a court of law in the Torah (Exodus 21:22). The issues of life demand a constant clarifying of what is important; a sifting of the abundance of information and stimuli which inundate us every day. Thus, as described in Siddur Avodat HaLev, ‘Prayer is the soul’s yearning to define what truly matters and to ignore the trivialities that so often masquerade as essential’.

3. He makes a vow

The giving of a tithe was not an attempt to buy God off, but rather an indication of allegiance. This is a case where one particular is used as an example.

Literally, "tithing, I will tithe to You."

II. God is Willing to Reassure Us Through His WRITTEN Word

A. For more than psychological reassurance, you must focus on the WORD

Psalm 56:3-4, "When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?"

Psalm 138:2b, " for you have exalted above all things your name and your word."

B. The Five ASSURANCES (from Navigators 2:7)

1. SALVATION (I John 5:11-13)

"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."

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