Summary: Expect a dawn of new experiences after encountering God.
All Scripture quoted in this lesson is from The Bible by Jesus unless otherwise noted
“Jacob left Beersheba in the desert and walked through the hills of Galilee. When the sun set and night descended, he laid down to sleep at that spot. He took a stone as his pillow and went to sleep. He dreamed and saw a ladder set on earth with its top reaching to heaven. There were angels going up and down the ladder. I stood at the top of the ladder and said, ‘I am the Lord God of your father, Abraham, and of Isaac. The land which you are laying on, I will give to you and your descendants. You will have descendants like the dust of the earth. You will spread out over this land to the west, east, north and south. Through your descendants I will bless all the people of the world. I will go with you and protect you and bring you back to this land. I will be with you until I have done everything I have promised you.’ Jacob woke up and said, ‘Surely God was in this place and I didn’t know it.’ He shook with fear and said, ‘This is a reverent place. This is the house of God; this is the gate to heaven.’ Jacob got up early the next morning and poured oil on the stone he had used as a pillow. He called the place Bethel (House of God); previously the place was called Luz. Then Jacob vowed, “God if You will be with me and keep me in the place I am going, and give me food to eat and clothes to wear, and bring me back to this place, then You will be my God. The place of this stone will be Your house, and I will give You a tenth of all that is mine.” (Genesis 28:11-22, The Bible by Jesus)
A. INTRODUCTION: FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH GOD
1. God took the initiative. “I stood at the top of the ladder and said, ‘I am the Lord God of your fathers’” (Genesis 28:13, NLT).
2. When a person is limited . . . threatened . . . and scared, he/she will listen to God and respond positively.
a. Esau planned to kill Jacob (27:41).
b. Mother (Rebekah) schemed to protect Jacob, her favorite son. She faced Esau’s threat, schemed again (1) go to her brother Laban, (2) stay a few days (20 years). She never saw Jacob again (33:1-4).
c. Jacob was alone. The criteria for a life-changing experience.
B. GOD’S FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH JACOB
“I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, the God of your father Isaac” (28:13, NLT).
1. Ladder “a stairway” (28:12, NLT), a way, entrance, access to God and heaven.
2. Promise of a place. The ground you are lying on belongs to you.
3. Promise of influence. You will have children/descendants will be numerous.
4. Promise of God’s presence. “I am with you” (28:15).
5. Promise of protection. “I will protect you” (28:15).
6. Promise of future. “I will bring you back to this land” (28:15).
7. Promise of fruitfulness. “I will fulfill . . . everything I have promised” (28:15).
C. GOD’S SECOND ENCOUNTER WITH JACOB, 20 YEARS LATER
1. Jacob ran away from his angry Uncle Laban (Gen. 31:14-55).
2. Jacob plans to meet his “angry” brother coming with 400 warriors (Gen. 32:3-21).
3. He separates from wives and children and is alone in a tent (32:24).
4. He wrestles with a man all night not knowing it was God.
5. Because of his “stubborn” tenacity, Jacob wouldn’t let him go. God touched his thigh (32:25).
6. God changed his name, “Your name will no longer be Jacob (tenacity) . . . from now on you will be called Israel (prince with God)” (32:28, NLT).
7. Jacob called the place Peniel, “which means “face to face” (32:30).
8. Jacob was transformed: (a) he limped, (b) he was God centered, (c) he testified of God everywhere he went.
D. SEVEN LESSONS
1. Both God and you have different reasons for an encounter.
2. Family issues will motivate you to seek God.
3. You must give up your “values” when encountering God.
4. You can seek God on an encounter when everything seems lost.
5. You must seek to encounter God by yourself.
6. Usually you will be surprised when encountering God.
7. Expect a dawn of new experiences after encountering God.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.