Summary: Each of us is different, and each of us has a long way to go.
Jacob, The Man Who Learned to Adjust
1. John went to visit his old grandfather in a secluded area of Georgia. After chatting all night John’s grandfather made a breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast. However, John noticed a film on his plate, and questioned his grandfather, "Are these plates clean?"
His grandfather replied, "They’re as clean as cold water can get them. Just finish your meal!"
For lunch John worried that the plates had dried egg and asked, "Are you sure these plates are clean?"
The old man said, "I told you those dishes are as clean as cold water can get them. Now I don’t want to hear any more about it!"
Later that afternoon, as John was leaving, his grandfather’s dog started to growl, not letting him pass. John yelled, "Grandfather, your dog won’t let me get to my car."
The old man shouted, "Coldwater, go lie down!" [Reader’s Digest]
2. Sometimes we suspect something is wrong, we confront it, but still fall prey to it.
3. I think our nation, communities, churches and families are tense; we are all afraid of the difficulties which are only beginning to emerge as a result of our economic meltdown, but we feel helpless to do much about it. The plate looks dirty.
4. I have been praying and contemplating the nature of our church’s ministry and mine in particular in light of these dark days that have engulfed our nation, and the impact to those in our church family.
5. When it comes to your financial situations, I must confess ignorance in most cases. I do not know how frugally you live, how much you make, how much you have saved, nor how much you owe. I am unsure about your lifestyle when it comes to money, and I am unsure about changes and sacrifices you will make or are already making.
6. I do not know if you will have your same job or any job 3 months from now. And I do not know how long our financial downturn will last. But I know one thing that makes it worse: fear.
7. Franklin Roosevelt once said, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." FDR was wrong. There is plenty to fear: denying reality is simply another form of lying.
8. We are living in changing times. Some people do better with change than others. Fighting change is often a function of control which is often a function of fear.
9. So today I would like to being a brief series on the life of Jacob, a man who learned to adjust to change.
10. Jacob was probably spoiled; as one of two non-identical twins, he was his mother’s favorite. He was not someone who was used to change, but he was forced to make changes against his will. Faith did not come easy to him. He relied on his wits, but, smart as he was, he found himself vulnerable time and time again, and fighting fear was a battle for him.
Jeremiah 10:23, "I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps." This was the lesson Jacob would eventually learn.
Main Idea: Each of us is different, and each of us has a long way to go.
I. Esau Had Natural Advantages, Jacob Had DIVINE Ones (19-23)
A. Both children an ANSWER to prayer (19-21)
• they had been married 19 years
• According to the Talmud, Isaac and Rebekah went to Mount Moriah, where he had been bound, and prayed together there that they might have a son.
• Mt. Moriah is a ridge next to Mt. Zion; the temple was built there
B. ADVERSARIAL in the womb (22)
The Hebrew implies that they bruised one another in the womb; this gives a new meaning to the term, "infighting."
I have known some cantankerous people, but fighting it out while yet in the womb-- that takes the cake!
C. Jacob the ADVANTAGED (23)
Esau means “Hairy,” and he was also called “Edom,” meaning “Red.”
Jacob means the “supplanter,” or “the trickster,” or “the deceiver.”
In our day, we might call Esau "Red" and Jacob "Sneaky"
If we produce a modern-day version of this story, that’s what we could name it: "Red and Sneaky."
II. Esau and Jacob INHERITED Differing Personalities (24-28)
A. Seen at BIRTH (24-26)
They looked different, they fought in the womb, and one was grasping the heal of the other (a tag-along; he wanted a free ride).
Since it is obvious that we inherit different physical characteristics and different innate abilities (coordination, intelligence, etc.), why do some people fight the idea that we also inherit personalities?
The answer is probably this: sin has so corrupted us that we view ourselves as the standard by which others are judged; in a sense, we make ourselves into our own gods.