Summary: This sermon has two points. 1. The believer’s life is a battle. 2. The believer’s hope is in heaven.

One Mother – Two Nations

Part #2 - Jacob

“Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents.” Genesis 25:27 (NASB)

Today we want to look at the character of Jacob. From our text we find that he was “a peaceful man – living in tents”. But we know a little more than that about Jacob – don’t we? We know that he had a twin brother and that his brother was not an identical twin. The boys were as different as night and day. One was hairy – the other had smooth skin. One liked the outdoors – the other it seems was more inclined to staying near home. One was living in the here and now – the other was planning for the future. Of course Esau was the firstborn yet it would be Jacob who receives the birthright and the blessing. In Genesis chapter twenty seven Esau complains about this when he says:

“Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has supplanted me these two times? He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing." Genesis 27:36 (NASB)

But in truth Jacob did not steal away Esau’s birthright, but only took the advantage to buy what careless Esau was willing to sell. Having the birthright – the blessing did justly belong to him; for the birthright and the blessing were not to be separated. From this story we know that Jacob’s character was crafty. Yet we also know that the Bible tells us that: “Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents.”

Many of the people of the Old Testament times seemed to have a simple lifestyle. They were a plain people wearing plain clothes. They crossed no seas. They had no grand parlors in which to entertain guests. They ate a simple diet such as Jacob did – lentil stew. It would seem that those who lived such a lifestyle would strive to be a peaceable people. Yet we know from the history of the Jewish people that life has been anything but peaceful. So too the life of Jacob was anything but peaceful. Even before the twins were born there was a struggle between them. Look at what we find in Genesis chapter twenty-five:

The children struggled together within her (Rebecca); and she said, "If it is so, why then am I this way?" So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her, " Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples shall be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger." Genesis 25:22-23 (NASB)

It is natural for children not to get along at times. But it seems that this was no natural strife or ordinary struggle. There were two nations in one womb – struggling for power. They had no skill of wrestling – yet they struggled within her womb just the same. It was so unpleasant that Rebecca cried out, “Why am I this way?”

Perhaps this is a picture of what all who are believers go through. Two natures in one body struggling against each other. Even though we have been born anew – the old nature – the sinful nature does not want to give up. We battle within ourselves – for we know what is right – what is pure – what is holy and we strive to please God. Yet the old nature somehow draws us away – pulls us down – gets in our way. We want to enter the straight and narrow gate that leads to life – but often end up going through the broad road gate leads to destruction. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Someone has rightly said that every Christian is a walking civil war. We know what is right. We know what we should do. We know what we spiritually want to do. Yet we don’t do it. Paul has rightly said:

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:15-25 (NKJV)

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