Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Jacob was about to have three reunions. In the midst of then he gave us a model prayer.

When I was in the work force I was in middle management for my employer. An employee of mine was named Eric. Eric was a bad boy. He had the much deserved reputation of being a partier and a womanizer. Some of his stories would even make me uncomfortable. He often got himself in binds at work but I was always able to smooth things over. For all of his shenanigans he was a faithful and hard worker.

Around this same time I met a beautiful lady named Debbie. She swept me off my feet. I had not dated anyone like her in a very long time. Beauty, class, and all that a man was looking for in a wife. I was certain that one day we would be married.

Then came the Christmas party at work. As I escorted her in the door she and Eric locked eyes. Exclaiming each other’s names they flew across the room and embraced each other. My stomach dropped. How could this classy, beautiful lady have ever dated a womanizer like Eric? How could I continue dating her after all the other employees who knew him would now view her?

They came walking toward me arm in arm. “What a small world,” she said. “I never knew that my cousin worked for you.” Cousin! This was the greatest news that I had heard in awhile.

Debbie and I were later married. Eric continued along his path and got into a jam that I could not get him out of. I was in the process of working out a program to help smooth things over when he quit.

After he left I had to cover for him in his position while handling my own. I decided that I had reached a point where management no longer appealed to me. So I stepped down and took the position vacated by Eric.

Years later Debbie’s family had a family reunion at her aunt’s house. It was there that I saw Eric for the first time since he had left the company. I walked up to him and offered my hand to shake. He looked at me with contempt and snorted, “Why should I shake the hand of the guy who got rid of me and took my job?” I was somewhat stunned. I had fought for his job but he quit. Yet some how in his thinking his present situation was my entire fault. The reunion became very uncomfortable for both Debbie and I.

As we continue to look at the life of Jacob we will discover that he has three reunions. One was planned. The other came out of nowhere. And one came from on high.

Last week we discovered that Jacob had been tricked by Laban into marrying both of his daughters. Jacob worked for 14 years to have Rachel’s hand. We learned that his leadership role was very weak as he became victimized by his wives. There was strife, bickering, and jealousy between the two sisters. There were handmaidens given to Jacob by the two sisters. Once he was bartered off for some fruit.

We learned that God had promised to prosper, protect, and return Jacob to his native land. But Jacob chose to rely on his own abilities and began a game of trickery against Laban to become wealthy. This would cause a great deal of tension between Laban and his sons and Jacob. God came to Jacob twice and told him to return home. So he decided to do so. But one of Jacob’s disruptive wives decided to get even with dad.

Genesis 31:19-21 “At the time they left, Laban was some distance away, shearing his sheep. Rachel stole her father’s household idols and took them with her. Jacob outwitted Laban the Aramean, for they set out secretly and never told Laban they were leaving. So Jacob took all his possessions with him and crossed the Euphrates River, heading for the hill country of Gilead.”

Three days later Laban was told that Jacob, his family, and all there possessions were gone. Also his idols were missing. Laban was furious. He and his relatives set out to find Jacob and possibly destroy him. An unplanned reunion was about to take place.

But remember, God had made Jacob a promise. “I am with you…I will give you…I will keep you…I will bring you home…I will never leave you.” So God intervenes on Jacob’s behalf. Genesis 31:24 “But the previous night God had appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and told him, ‘I’m warning you—leave Jacob alone!’”

When Laban caught up with Jacob seven days later he grilled him on why he snuck away, why he didn’t give him a chance to say goodbye to his daughters and grandchildren. But most importantly why Jacob had taken his gods.

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