Summary: Manuscript of sermon on Gen.46:1-7 and learn from Jacob how to handle change.
Principles for Handling Change
by Andrew Chan, Senior Pastor, PBC, Vancouver, BC
Sermon preached at South Vancouver Pacific Grace Mennonite Brethren August 8, 2001.
A young minister just out of seminary, decided to take a job on the police force for a few months, in hopes that the experience would be useful to his calling. After passing the physical, he took the oral exam, which was designed to test his mental alertness, and his ability to think and act quickly and wisely in an emergency. One of the questions he was asked was, “What would you do to disperse an agitated crowd?”
His quick reply “I’d take up a collection.”
Today I hope I don’t have to use that tactic and quickly disperse you.
A Chinese Buddhist monk strode into a Zen pizza parlor. “make me one with everything on it” As the monk said looking at 5.99 special GST included. When he got his order, he gave the owner of the pizza parlor a $20.00 bill, which the guy pocketed. “Haiya” said the monk, “where’s my change ah?” “Change” replied the owner profoundly “must come from within.”
We live in a world that is filled with challenges and changes esp. in multi-cultural Vancouver. Quite a bit of that is stressful, try changing a lane in traffic during rush hour, you know it is so true. Try changing your mind after you purchase a stereo, wait in line, at customer service, fill a form explain why u change, process credit card, takes another 10 minutes, find manager to sign it, then maybe you get your refund in 2 weeks.
Change is not easy, isn’t it. We are creatures of habit. Find comfort in habits, routines. Even with kids, change is not easy. Take kids out for camping, first thing they look for is cable tv.
Invite you hear from the Bible about a guy who has to change, - he had to deal with change in a big way. How big? According to psychologist – one of the biggest stressors in life is moving. Imagine if change is not easy for kids, for those who now have to put up with closed Lions Gate. how about for an old guy who is close to 130 years old, like Jacob who is the con artist also known as Israel. He was just told his most favorite son, thought dead long ago, Joe was still alive 45:26 and ruler of all Egypt. “Yikes” it is a wonder he did not clutch his chest and died of a heart attack. Jacob, con artist aka Israel, was “stunned” (NIV), he could not believe the news. Maybe that’s ancient Hebrew way of saying he had a mild cardiac arrest, because the text reports later, “the spirit of their father Jacob revived”. Maybe someone was there who applied CPR, but he revived “I will go and see him before I die.” He sure didn’t expect this bit of news.
Suddenly things changed all around him. All along Jacob believed son Joe was lost forever, torn to shreds, eaten by Godzilla or something. Did he mourned, refuse to be comforted, wept and tore his robes, sons and daughters brought no comfort, many days (Gen.37:34). Think about it, emotions, stress of keeping his big family together, head of clan, big boss, the head honcho, stress of having to feed them all, especially 11 sons of his. Gotta imagine the ladies must be slaving in kitchen all day to cook for these guys. Anyway, here in his situation, Jacob or the con artist aka Israel, dire straits, keep alive, famine stricken, hardly any food. Now he hears of Joe, he must be saying How much more can this old heart take. and the old stress-o-meter must be going ding ding.
On top of that he’s got to go to Egypt to see his son and make a life or death trip to a foreign country. Old folks don’t like too much routine disturb. And now his Hebrew mind is racing - Egypt represents isn’t that place anti-God, in fact Jake’s father Isaac had been warned by God not to go down to Egypt (Gen.26), even when there was a famine.
Now a severe famine struck the land, as had happened before in Abraham’s time. So Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech, king of the Philistines, lived.
2 The LORD appeared to him there and said, “Do not go to Egypt. 3 Do as I say, and stay here in this land. If you do, I will be with you and bless you. I will give all this land to you and your descendants, just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father. 4 I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. 5 I will do this because Abraham listened to me and obeyed all my requirements, commands, regulations, and laws.”