Summary: When throwing rocks womn't cut it, what do we do?
“When Heaven Comes Down…Our Regret Is Replaced”
In the movie Forrest Gump, Forrest has a lifetime friendship with Ginny. In one scene, when both of them are grown and Ginny is just beginning to retreat from her lifestyle of sex and drugs, they are walking down a dirt road. Soon they come to the shack where Ginny lived as a little girl - the shack where she experienced abuse. As they come up to it her face contorts with hatred and anger. She reaches down, picks up a rock and flings it towards the shack. It chips off some of the already deteriorating paint. She picks up another rock and fires again, this time crashing through an already broken window. She picks up and hurls another, and another, and another - all with reckless abandon. Finally, she falls exhausted to the ground. Forrest gazes down at her and says, “I guess sometimes you just don’t have enough rocks.”
There was more to what Forrest said than what he probably knew. Surely she could have thrown stones all day and never destroyed the shack. That was obvious. But not so obvious was the deeper meaning of the scene - throwing stones all day would never abolish the abuse, or demolish the effects of it. Throwing stones would never bring her torment, her agony, her misery, her anguish to the ground.
And we’ve been there - we’ve thrown the stones - at situations, at people, at memories. And it’s never relieved the agony, destroyed the misery, or lessened our anguish. It has never eased our torment. So Ginny’s question is ours – When throwing stones won’t cut it, what do we do? This morning we delve into the life of Jacob for our answer. Jacob, after all, had a HISTORY OF REGRET.
It went all the way back to his birth. Isaac and Rebekah were the proud parents of twin sons, Esau and Jacob. The first born, and the heir to the family fortune, was Esau. Jacob was born second. The two brothers were as different as night and day. Esau was the gifted athlete, the rough and tumble outdoorsman; Jacob was the brilliant student, the soft hearted compassionate child. As one person put it, Esau was first on the track, Jacob was first on the test; Esau brought animals home for food, Jacob brought animals home for pets; Esau was Sylvester Stallone, Jacob was John Boy Walton. And Isaac was proud of Esau while Rebekah was proud of Jacob. And in this volatile mixture the stones flew.
Eventually Rebekah and Jacob conspired to steal the inheritance due to Esau. When Isaac, old and blind, pronounced the blessing on
his son, it was not upon Esau, as he thought, but upon Jacob. When Esau discovered the dreadful deed, he vowed to Kill Jacob as soon as Isaac died. Dysfunction at its best! Certainly, in his best light, JACOB WAS A SORRY SCOUNDREL. He was the type of person who would give the shirt off someone else’s back! He deceived his father and defrauded his brother. To this day the descendants of Esau and Jacob are at odds! Now, at the threat of death, Jacob flees town, filled with regret. He had everything he wanted, yet nothing he really wanted.
But THROWING STONES IS COMMON. We’ve thrown them and been hit by them. There are victims of abuse here today who know all too well Ginny’s feelings in Forrest Gump. And we all know marriages and relationships where the primary means of communication is stone throwing – and the mates have real good aim, knowing just what to say and when to say it. Then, too, there are young and old children who know just what to say to, what to throw at Mom and Dad. Certainly there are parents who rock their children, with words, through neglect, through favoritism. Consider the youth, in epidemic proportions, who are distraught, depressed, and hopeless because they’ve been bullied. Employers and employees throw stones; even churches and pastors throw stones. Don’t we all really live with a history of regret? Maybe you’ve even tried to flee. Like Jacob.
So Jacob fled. Night falls and he lays his head on a stone to sleep. He expects nothing but a good night’s sleep. But then he dreams. He had forgotten there was a HEAVEN TO RECOGNIZE. There was a ladder with messengers and with the Lord. Heaven came down to earth. God came down when unanticipated and transformed Jacob’s sense of reality. God redefined everything. Notice GOD OPENS ACCESS NOT TO A SAINT BUT TO A SCOUNDREL! Jacob now knew he was being pursued not by Esau but by God, not by vengeance but by grace. Isn’t that just like God? He even pursues us!
Where you are right now may well be the place where God wants to meet you. No matter what you’ve done, how many stones you’ve thrown, how much regret you harbor, or how much bitterness you hold, He has not crossed you off his list! The ladder is always there. Just look at Jesus; He’s the ladder from and to God. In John 1:51 we read: “He then added, I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” He is our access to heaven. GOD SENT JESUS TO TRANSFORM OUR REALITY. We need not live in regret, fearfully fleeing into the night. Jesus is involved with our lives. He meets us as God met Jacob, even when and where we least expect it. And when He meets us, He has a message for us, just like he had for Jacob (13): “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac.” He was giving Jacob a HERITAGE TO REMEMBER. After reminding him of the promises made to Abraham and Isaac, and thus to him as the heir, God binds himself to this treacherous fugitive. Jacob is starting to understand that there is an alternative to his lifestyle. THE DREAM DID NOT RESURRECT A SHAMEFUL PAST BUT RAISED UP A SHINING FUTURE. God was being true to his word, faithful to his promises. How is it we sing? “As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be. Great is Thy faithfulness.”