Riding on a plane to a conference called “Marked”. I already knew in my mind some of the things that would be declared over the young people that would attend. You will be marked by power, by destiny, by purpose, by anointing, etc. All true. All good words. All real. But as I was looking out the window, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “That is true, but I need to tell them that there is another type of mark that I place on people. It isn’t pretty, it isn’t popular and it doesn’t make for good preaching, but it is real and it is the rest of the picture.” So this morning I want you to know that you have been marked by power, by destiny, by blessing, by anointing. You are a chosen people. You are an ordained group of people. However, I would also like to complete the picture for you so that maybe your life and experience will make some sense.
Text: Gen. 25:29-33; 27:21-23, 41; 32:24-31; 37:1 (Chapter 25-33)
29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, "Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!" 31 Jacob replied, "First sell me your birthright." 32 "Look, I am about to die," Esau said. "What good is the birthright to me?" 33 But Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, "Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not." 22 Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, "The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau." 23 He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he blessed him.
41Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob."
24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.
25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the
socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." 27 The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. 28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.
1 Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.
II. Jacob’s Journey
He got what every young man dreams of the family inheritance. They didn’t operate with written wills like we do. They operated a little differently. The firstborn was given a birthright and a blessing. You must understand that in effect this had the same results as a will for the children in a family. Jacob was born into a family where the parent’s played favorites and with the help of a conniving mother makes his dream of having the birthright come true. For a bowl of beans he gets the whole bean field. He gets the birthright and the blessing (the keys to kingdom if you will). You need to go and read the powerful words of blessing that are spoken over this young man. They have implications for him for the rest of his life! And ultimately come to fruition by him coming back and setting up his residence in the promised land of Canaan.
He wanted the birthright because it meant:
a. A double portion of the father’s inheritance.
1) The amount would have been very great
b. He would rule and authority over other members of the
c. Patriarch and priest of the house on the death of his father
d. Chief of the chosen family, and heir of the promised blessing
e. Able to invoke the blessing of Abraham
"I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
So this young man becomes marked by great wealth, great power, protection, position, and promise! He was marked!
But, interestingly enough even though he is now marked by these things he now finds himself looking over his shoulder. Living in fear of his past. A fugitive. A hated brother. An outcast. Unwanted. Being bested by his uncle at the very sleight of hand that he thought he had perfected. Excited about a wedding only to wake up the next morning to find someone he didn’t want in his bed. He finds himself having to work in a job in which the pay wasn’t what he expected and took more time than he anticipated. His life wasn’t exactly turning out like all the TV preachers said it would. In an outward display that was a metaphor for his life he finds himself limping . . . the result of a dislocated hip in a God dominated wrestling match! The runner is now a limper. Handicapped.
Right before he marches into his promise. Right before his family is restored. Right before his prophesied blessing comes to pass. At that moment he is marked by pain! Think about that just a moment . . . God caused pain! His limp came from wrestling with God. His pain marks him for rest of his life. He is known by, recognized, written about, and marked by the pain he endured.
I came to reaffirm to you this morning that we too have received a birthright. We didn’t deserve it any more than Jacob did. We too stood in line and received what the elder brother should have received and that He freely game up. At the moment we accept Christ into our lives a transfer of birthright is completed. We become recipients (worthy or not) of all that belonged to the firstborn (Jesus). And the implications are grand, rich and just as meaningful as the birthright that Jacob received. The birthright means that we have access to life and life more abundantly (a double portion). We have authority (to bind and to loose, to bless and to curse). We have become heirs and joint heirs (we operate under His name and in His power). We have access to provision and healing! Where we once were faced with defeat and meaningless existence we now have the opportunity to become a great, chosen people!
Our lives are indelibly marked by this birthright and we can say with conviction, “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”
And yet, many of our lives parallel the life of Jacob. Blessed, destined, promised and still marked by pain.
Some of you have watched as your spouse (the love of your life, the partner of dreams) passed away or walked away. Relationships have ended that you expected to last forever.
Some of you have buried children and we all know parents aren’t supposed to outlive their kids.
Some of you have watched in horror and in disbelief as children (now making their own way in life) who once brought you such joy now step all over the heritage, example, and standards that you branded them with as a young child! Once a source of smiles now a source of tears!
Some of you are either presently or have in the past walked through financial ruin (hopes dashed, dreams delayed or altered forever).
Some of you have been taken advantage of, some neglected, some abused, some violated, some have witnessed violence and perhaps some have committed violence.
You cry yourself to sleep and then put on the smile in public. Waiting on your blessing, destiny, and prosperity. But what if the picture of a blessed, prosperous, powerful, chosen people is incomplete? What if God still marks people with pain? What if we are called to limp? Are we to become disillusioned because it didn’t play out the way we anticipated or thought we had been promised? Are we to doubt God’s word? Are we to discount the birthright? Are we to see ourselves as failures and think this stuff only works for some people? Should we discount ourselves as Christian inferior? The superior ones are the ones always blessed, never experience any tragedies, injustices, painful moments! What do we do if we have been marked by pain? We must learn from Jacob!
III. The Lesson about Pain
I came to tell you 3 simple truths this morning that we have to learn!
1. God doesn’t waste our pain.
We have met God as Jehovah Jireh (our provider)! We have encountered Him as Jehovah Shalom (our peace). We have trusted Him as Jehovah Rapha (our healer). We have turned to Him as Jehovah Nissi (our banner – our cover).
But I came to introduce Him to you today as Jehovah Frugal! He doesn’t waste anything in our lives. He works all together for our good! Revelation teaches us that God bottles up ever tear! God redeems our pain.
A wounded healer specializes in gathering wounded followers! God redeems our pain and turns it into a platform to speak to others. Others need to hear you stories of victory, triumph, and greatness, but the common language of humanity is pain! We can identify with pain!
2. Pain marks you, but it doesn’t have to stop you.
Jacob’s walk was changed forever. Pain doesn’t stop his journey. He walks with a limp but he still fulfills his destiny. I read to you the last verse so you could be reminded that even though his walk is altered forever he still winds up in the Promised Land. He still makes progress. He still grows. He didn’t allow his to keep him from dealing with his past or dealing with people!
We cannot allow our pain to derail us from continuing our walk. Continuing progress. There is some pain that you will have to learn to walk with for the rest of your life. You will always have a limp. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep walking! That doesn’t mean you can’t get to your final destination.
Some of you have allowed the pain of your life to become more than a handicap you have allowed it become a hindrance. You have let it become an excuse to quit walking, trying, growing, and wrestling! Notice again, that even after his hip was dislocated that Jacob continued to hold and wrestle for His blessing! Through the pain and in the pain he was blessed! Pain may mark you but it doesn’t have to stop you! There is some pain you will have to learn to live with. Pray all you want, fast all you want, claim victory all you want but there is some pain that will affect your journey! It will affect the way that you walk, but that doesn’t have to keep you from walking!
Grab back onto your promise. Grab back onto your blessing! Hang on for dear life for your destiny! Some of you have allowed what happen to you sideline you! Limp into your inheritance!
3. Your pain may prepare you for your arrival in your promise!
The pain that marked Jacob forever was positioned mere hours before He walks into his promised promise! His pain prepared him for his arrival! Could it be that your pain is preparing your for entry into the greatest, most productive, most fruitful, most meaningful season of your life? Could it be that the thing that you have allowed to derail you was in fact a doorway or a threshold that if you had kept walking through it on the other side was an inheritance? What you see as debilitating God may very see as preparation and coronation? Maybe, just maybe your pain prepares you for power! Maybe, just maybe your pain prepares you to handle provision. Don’t see your pain as an end. See it as a beginning!
Is pain painful? Of course! Is pain enjoyable? No! Is it common? Yes. That is the good news this morning. You are not alone in the struggle. We need to quite posturing this morning and trying to make everyone in the room think that we have been unscathed. We are marked – you can’t hide it. You are marked by power, position, provision, and promise. But the rest of the picture is that we have also been marked by pain. We must embrace the pain allow it work its purpose in us and not allow it to stop us. The good news is that since it is the common language of mankind we can all relate. I want you to keep limping towards your inheritance. However, this morning I want you to know that you can lean on someone as you go! Football players helped to health then back in the game!
If you are in pain this morning and you don’t know Jesus – the greatest news of all is that He understands your pain. Hebrews 4:15 reminds us that we have access to a savior that knew what it was like to hurt, to be done wrong, to endure pain but He kept walking. We can turn to Him and He will help us to keep walking!