Summary: This is a Father’s day sermon concerning Jacob’s return from Haran. It asks is your God big enough to deliver from danger, forgive and keep His promises.
A businessman suffered some financial losses at the same time when his wife was seriously ill. He came home one day, discouraged and respondent.
His five-year-old daughter, sensing her father’s mood, gave him a hug and said, "Yesterday in Sunday school, my teacher said that God raised Jesus back to life after He had been dead for three days. It takes a great big God to do something like that, just how big is God, Daddy?"
That five-year old’s question lifted her father out of his depression because he realized that the God who had raised His Son was more than big enough to help his family through this time of crisis. How big is your God?Through the life of Jacob we will see that even if we forget how big our God is–He is always there when we need a big God.
Before his birth Jacob’s mother was told by God that “the older would serve the younger” Even at birth Jacob reached out to take what wasn’t his and grab Esau’s heel. Later he took advantage of his brother’s impulsive craving and traded Easu out of his birthright for a bowl of stew. That meant that 2/3 of the estate was Jacob’s and Easu was left with 1/3. With his mother’s help he impersonated Easu and stole his father’s blessing.
Easu was so mad he wanted to kill Jacob. He had to flee for his life and ended up with the family of his uncle Laban. There he met and fell in love with Rachel. Laban made an agreement that Jacob could marry Rachel in exchange for 7 years work. Laban deceived Jacob and he married Leah. Then he was allowed to marry Rachel for another 7 years work.
During that time Rachel and Leah struggled for Jacob’s attention. Jacob did become rich but Laban and his sons felt they had been cheated out of their flocks. Jacob must have felt that he had no friends and wasn’t welcome anywhere. Gen 31:3 Then the LORD said to Jacob, “return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
Jacob was returning home when he received word that his brother, Esau, was coming with 400 men to meet him. And Jacob became terrified (V7) then did something he hadn’t done in 20 years—he prayed–this prayer is the first recorded prayer of Jacob since his encounter with God as he was running away from Esau to safety with Laban. V9-12
Jacob understood—now more than ever he needed a big God–as he prayed for deliverance. Jacob remembers God’s commands and covenant promise–he acknowledges his anxiety and confesses his unworthiness before God.
I’ve always pictured Jacob as a young boy–maybe in his 20’s but no older. Gen 26:34 says that Esau was 40 when he married the Hittite women. It was after that his mother wanted Jacob to find a wife among their own people. And Jacob spent 20 years in Haran with Laban. So Jacob was a fully mature man. It shows us that it is never too late to repent, admit your faults and return to God.
Fathers our families need to know just how big is our God. The view you have of God will do more to shape the view your children have of God, than most anything else.
1. Big enough to deliver from danger? Gen 32:11 we hear of danger to our families every night on the news. There seems to be no end to the threats we face. When the Israelites spied on the land of Canaan, even though it was blessed with abundance, some were frozen in fear. The land was too good, the people were too big, and I think that they believed that their god was too small to keep His promise. Everyone except for Joshua and Caleb–these 2 men knew that God was big enough to deliver them to the promised land. Numbers 14:7 The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD Is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us, do not fear them.
2. Big Enough to Forgive? Gen 32:10 Jacob knew he had been deceitful to get ahead. He struggled with nearly everyone he came into contact with. He became rich in possessions but poor in relationships. Now he wondered if God was big enough to forgive him. We act as though we are never wrong–as though admitting sin is admitting a terminal weakness, David learned that covering sin is even more costly, Ps 32:1-5 How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit! 3 When I kept silent about my sin my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to you, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD; and You forgave the guilt of my sin.