Summary: Jacob suddenly meets something in his life that he is powerless over.
Jake the Snake Wrestles with God
By Pastor John Stensrud
Immanuel Baptist Church
October 1, 2000
If he was alive today, hi-tech head-hunters would be on the phone to him regularly. Better yet, he would be well-suited as a shifty-eyed used-car salesman.
I can just hear him say: Hi my name is Jacob from Clunker-Junker auto sales. We have beautiful previously owed, low mileage automobiles for no money down and payments that anyone can afford. No reasonable offer for one of my beauties will be turned down.
But we know better than that – we can see behind his sales pitch. He is out for number 1, himself only. He would be more than happy to sell you a car where the odometer has been tampered with and sawdust has been poured into the crankcase. He is the quintessential snake oil salesman.
Jacob, son of Isaac – let’s call him Jake the Snake was the sort of character that lots of used car businesses would love to have on their lots. Energetic. Lots of initiative, to the point of being aggressive. Not one to take "No" for an answer. If he had something in mind, he would go for broke to get it. The book of Genesis details his character and life for us.
Jacob was the second born of twins. He was delivered with his hand grabbing onto his brother’s heel, seemingly trying to pull Esau back so that he could get out ahead. In fact, the way he was born was a prophetic statement of what his life would be like. Jacob wanted desperately to win at all costs – preferably at someone else’s expense.
Jake the Snake deep down inside was a liar and a cheat. And he knew it. Nearly every time again he would open his mouth, he would find himself telling a whopping lie to cover up one of his shady deals.
Do you know who Jacob reminds me of? If you have ever watched “Leave It to Beaver,” you will remember the character named Eddie Haskell. Eddie Haskell would act like a perfect gentleman in front of Ward and June Cleaver but would act like a hood when he was hanging out with his friends. I loved the way he would try to play a con job with Mrs. Cleaver. “Oh Mrs. Cleaver, your Theadore is such a fine example of a young man.” Then the next moment, Eddie would get Beaver alone and call him a little creep. And so it was with Jacob or Jake the Snake.
He ended up spending his life running, twisting, getting out of one tight spot and quickly ending up in another. He had his own mother fooled – he wormed his way into becoming mama’s favorite son. Not only that, he swindled his brother, lied to his father, and has to run when his brother puts his name at the top of a hit list. His own brother wants to put him on ice – I mean he wants to kill him.
So he ends up at some relatives where he marries his cousin and begins a 20 year segment of his life cheating and being cheated by his father-in-law. Eventually he leaves and heads back to his father’s ranch.
His father-in-law gave him a dose of his own medicine and life becomes tough for Jake. He doesn’t make it any easier by concocting crazy schemes and shooting off his quick, double-talking mouth. He knows it. He can’t seem to get away from it.
But one thing Jake has going for him: no matter how tough the odds, no matter how bleak it seems, no matter who lines up against him, he’s determined to win at life. He won’t let anyone or anything get in his way. He’s going to win in this crazy game of life, FOR SURE!! If anyone gets in his way, he will run over them like a Mack truck.
The word was “if you were in Jake the Snake’s way then either you move aside, or get run over.”
Jake is now on the way home. Back towards the brother who had threatened to kill him. Back to the father he had cheated and lied to. While he’s on the way he has an experience that changes him forever. He’s getting closer to home and has been informed that his brother is approaching with 400 armed friends. It looks like the jig is up for Jake. The boom is about to be lowered. How in the world will he get himself out of this scene? It’s not fun and games when 400 men are looking for you and you have a sneaking suspicion that they’re mad.
We’re going to pick up the reading in Genesis at night time. Jacob is worried. Really worried. Scared spitless would be a better way of putting it. Afraid not only for himself, but also for his family and possessions that he has accumulated through the years through a variety of methods. His whole camp is asleep, but Jacob walks around. He CAN’T sleep. Could you if you were in his shoes? He has to find a way out of this latest predicament.