Summary: In Jacob, we see that we wrestle with the same problems as he does. We have the same weaknesses. And, God has the same lessons for us.
“Jacob – The Man Who Wrestled With God”
INTRODUCTION: It’s interesting to study the people of the Bible. We find out that they’re not much different than we are. They dressed different … ate different things … different culture … different times … BUT … the same in so many ways.
We can SEE OURSELVES in so many characters of the Bible. God has the SAME LESSONS for us … as He had for them. The WEAKNESSES and PROBLEMS we see in THEIR lives … we see in OUR lives. The GREAT THINGS God did in THEIR lives … God can do in OUR lives.
Let’s take a look at JACOB … the man who wrestled with God. Let’s see what God wants to wrestle from us today.
Isaac & Rebekah were expecting their first child … a difficult pregnancy … TWINS! This was before sonograms … SURPRISE! Genesis 25:22-23.
Jacob & Esau were to be born … Esau was born first. They were as different as night & day.
o ESAU was a man’s man … the outdoor type … an extrovert … a man of the world … the FAVORITE of his father. 25:28.
o JACOB was a Mama’s boy … clever … self-opinioned … spoiled … crooked.
DITTY – How can you tell if you are a Mama’s boy … or a man’s man? Some once said: A Mama’s boy will have a neatly folded handkerchief in your back pocket. A man’s man will have a crumpled up handkerchief. What if you don’t carry a handkerchief? Then you’re CRUDE!
God clearly said that the younger would receive the BIRTHRIGHT. This wasn’t the usual custom. The older son usually received the birthright. With the birthright came the HEADSHIP of the family … a double portion of inheritance. The promises of God were passed down to the one with the birthright … the Messiah!
Esau didn’t care about what MIGHT happen 1000 years later. He was interested in “eat, drink and be merry” NOW.
One day Esau came in from hunting … and he was hungry. You know how it is … eating beanie-weenies & sardines. He wasn’t starving … he was from a wealthy family and there was plenty to eat.
Jacob saw an opportunity … “Know that birthright that you don’t care about …?” Esau thought so little of it, that he sold it to Jacob for a bowl of his famous chili.
Jacob bought what God had already promised him. We are so much like Jacob, aren’t we? God has promised us so much … for FREE … but we ignore His promises:
o We SCHEME … when God has promised us WISDOM.
o We WORRY … when God has promised us PEACE.
o We WORK … when God says “you have not, because you ask not”.
We think that if it’s FREE … it must not be worth much. LIKE … pills. If we have to pay dearly for them, we will take them. If the Dr. GIVES them to us, we often won’t take them.
Jacob didn’t trust God for what God MIGHT DO. NOT when he could do something about it himself.
Isaac is now about to confer the blessing on Esau. Jacob and his mother PLOT to make sure Jacob gets the blessing. Once Isaac blesses Esau, it’s BINDING. They panic … they’re not willing to trust God to keep His Word.
They make Jacob up like Esau … and Jacob pretends to be Esau. Isaac is old and half-blind, so he doesn’t know he’s blessing Jacob. 27:27-29.
When Esau finds out, he’s FURIOUS. He promises to kill Jacob as soon as their father Isaac is dead – 27:41. Jacob has to flee for his life … “get out of Dodge” for a few days. – 27:43-44.
Jacob was supposed to be there for only a few days … BUT … he ends up spending 20 years there. Rebekah dies … and she never saw her son Jacob again.
The first night on the run, Jacob has a DREAM. He sees a LADDER … and sees ANGELS going UP the ladder to Heaven … and DOWN the ladder from Heaven. 28:12-15
This is a picture of PRAYER. God is telling Jacob that He will answer his prayers. BUT … Jacob has to trust God.
o The angel going UP … is prayer.
o The angel going DOWN … is the answer.
o The ladder … is Jesus.
Jacob thought that when he ran away from Esau, he had left God behind too. LESSON: You can’t run away from your problems … or God! WHY? Because YOU are still there! AND … if YOU are still there … GOD is still there.
Jacob’s MAD at God. God didn’t do things HIS way … the way Jacob wanted. The birthright didn’t bring him instant success.