Summary: This title seems blasphemous, yet it can be understood correctly when we look at how Jacob faced his own weaknesses in return home to Esau. THis is the final sermon in a series of four on Jacob.
June 26, 2005 Episode IV - The Return of the Jacob - Genesis 31-32
The easiest position to play in the sporting world is that of the armchair quarterback. You don’t have to exercise. You don’t have to risk injury to your body. All you have to do is sit in a nicely cushioned chair of an air conditioned house and yell at a television. You can second guess everything the coach and players do without ever being put in a position of making a decision yourself or being in danger. What an easy thing that is! The problem is, that’s not what God calls us to be. He calls us and tells us to get out in the field! When I was a sophomore in high school, I had gone through the practices of pre-season for football. When it came to game time - and actually play against other opponents - I was actually somewhat afraid to get on the field. It was no longer time for practice - but time to put my neck on the line. I think that’s the way we often approach Christianity. We’re against abortion - but we don’t bother writing our politicians about it. We don’t want to put a bumper sticker on our car, because someone might key it. We want people to believe in Jesus , but we don’t want to risk telling them about Him. It seems like we like being the designated bench warmer - having the paycheck and the acclimates of being called a Christian, but not experiencing the dangers of getting out on the field. We have no excuse for this - unless you think God will count fear and laziness and old age as a good reason.
Throughout his life, Jacob certainly was NOT an armchair quarterback. He wasn’t afraid to get in the wrestling ring - even in the womb - and mix it up with his brother. Even though he was the younger, he wasn’t afraid to go after the blessing by using some porridge and sheepskin and lies in the process. Not only was he a wrestler, he was a dirty wrestler - a cheap shotter. He made mistakes - as we’ve seen. But at least he got in the RING.
Today, we see Jacob get in way over his head - as he gets in a wrestling match with GOD. The heel grabber seemingly has grabbed the wrong Heel! As we look at this wrestling match however, we’ll see how -
Jacob Shows us How to Conquer God
Psalm 2:2-5 states:
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath.
Conquering God- what a joke! GOD laughs at such a statement. Satan - one of the most beautiful and the best of God’s creation - tried to conquer God - and ended up in hell. The very thought of conquering heaven would earn anyone an equal judgment from God on high. Yet stick with me. Because Jacob - weak old Jacob - does that very thing.
By the time Jacob reached the shore of the Jabbok, he didn’t look like a man who was apt to wrestle with anyone - much less God HIMSELF. The old heel grabber seemed to still have a little bit of the schemer within himself. After having devised a way to increase his spotted flock and get a good inheritance from Laban - it appears that he thought he could win Esau over in no time at all.
Genesis 32:4-5 He instructed (his messengers): “This is what you are to say to my master Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, menservants and maidservants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favor in your eyes.’”
Notice that within this greeting Jacob referred to himself as Esau’s “servant” and Esau as his “master.” He showed respect to his older brother. He also notified him that he was not coming to claim any inheritance from Esau - God had already given him plenty. Having just received the assurance that angels were with him, he seemed to have thought this would be all that would be needed. The response of his messengers did not carry this confidence, however.
Genesis 32:6 When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”