Summary: How could anyone ever love someone like Jacob? Is spite of who you are, what you have done right, what you have done wrong, God has not given up on you!
THE BETHEL EXPERIENCE
INTRODUCTION: We have studied in detail the ups and downs of the Old Testament family of Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob. Perhaps we feel fortunate we don’t have the kind of problems they had. Or maybe some of us wish family could have been more like them.
I want to look more closely at Jacob in this final message on the Family of God. We know that –
1. Jacob’s life seemed to be filled with extenuating circumstances that were not necessarily his fault.
2. Jacob had failed everybody and everybody had failed Jacob.
3. Jacob was rejected by his father, smothered by his mother and hated by his brother. (Not a very good home life.)
4. Jacob had lots of excuses for the way he acted.
5. Jacob had stayed in trouble most all of his life.
6. Jacob made his brother so upset that (in Genesis 27:41) Esau swore he would kill him.
PROPOSITION: How could anyone ever love someone like Jacob? Is spite of who you are, what you have done right, what you have done wrong, God has not given up on you!
PROPOSITION: Why is the life of Jacob so important for us to understand? Jacob shows for us what life is like (for any of us) when we don’t know God.
Text: Genesis 28:15 thru 17
ILLUSTRATION: I once spoke with a young man in Evansville, IN, who reminded me a lot of the story of Jacob. His name was Jason. Jason was a good guy and never did anything wrong. One day Jason began to ask me questions about religion and the afterlife. I asked him if he was a Christian. He told me that he had been in church all his life, but had never felt God. Jason wasn’t sure there was really a God anywhere. I explained the plan of salvation to him. I told Jason how important it was for him to experience a real relationship with Jesus Christ. He told me he had too many other things going on in his life to become a Christian. It was evident to me that Jason was running from the Lord. Just like Jacob in the book of Genesis. Running as fast as he could…
But now things were about to suddenly change in our story about Jacob. He had been running from his problems all day lone. And then Jacob laid down to get some rest. And that’s when it happened.
I. Jacob was in the presence of God.
A. (Verse 15) “Behold I am with you…”
B. Our text gives us a glimpse of the experience Jacob had with God that would radically change his life once and for all.
C. Up until this point in time, Jacob has had no personal contact with the Almighty Jehovah God.
D. Jacob had heard the stories of how the Lord had spoken to his father Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham.
1. Never before had Jacob knew what his father and his grandfather were talking about. They were (no doubt) holy men of God, but Jacob knew he was not worthy enough for God to speak to him.
E. Jacob had never seen God, never touched God, or felt the presence of God.
F. Jacob’s life was empty, lonely and meaningless.
G. Question: Have you ever been there?
1. Maybe you are one of the fortunate ones that has a relationship with Christ. You may remember that special day when your first sensed His presence.
H. Question: Or, are you going through these same feelings that Jacob did?
1. Maybe you are alone and as far away from where you now you should be.
2. Like Jacob, I can remember a time when all I had was an awareness with the “Man Upstairs”. God was nothing more to me than an imagination.
II. Jacob heard the promise made by God.
A. (Verse 15) “…I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
B. We may forget promises we make, but God never will. God is faithful in all His ways.
C. God has mercy for Jacob in spite of how unfaithful Jacob has been with everyone.
D. Jacob is very encouraged now that Someone loves him unconditionally.
E. In times of discouragement, defeat and/or disappointment, we need only open our promise book the Lord has given to us and let God’s voice give to us His reassurance.
F. Question: What do you do when you find yourself like Jacob? That is, alone and miserable with no one to turn to and no one who cares? Do you pace the floor? Wring your hands? Grit your teeth? Bite your nails? Or do you reach for the promises God has spoken that are only found in the holy Word of God?