Summary: What is it going to cost you, surrendering to God?
William Borden. Heir to the Borden Dairy Estate, graduated from high School in 1904 a millionaire. His parents gave him a trip around the world, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. He wrote home saying, I’m going to give my life to prepare for the mission field.
When he made his decision, he wrote in the back of his bible two words: No Reserves.
He turned down high paying jobs after graduating from Yale University he entered two more words into his Bible: No Retreats.
After completing his studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, Borden sailed to China to work with Muslims, stopping first at Egypt for some prep.
While in Egypt he was struck with meningitis and died. What a waste – some might say.
But that is not God’s perspective:
In his bible under the words No Reserves, No Retreats, he wrote: No Regrets.
From God’s perspective William Borden arrived where God wanted him to be Living a Life Of Full Surrender.
From the World’s perspective: William Borden was a man who had it all and threw it away.
From God’s perspective: William Borden was a man who had nothing at all and gained everything.
Let’s face it –at the end of it all each of us stands before God. What is better to be holding – everything from the world’s perspective? - everything from God’s perspective?
This is what we see with Jacob. In our Scripture, Jacob appears to have it all, but a powerful encounter with God shows he needed to surrender to gain it all.
Round 1 – God Desires An Encounter With Us. We desire it too, but are unaware. Jacob is going to have a life changing encounter with God. It is not his first encounter. He grew up knowing about God, but really had no relationship. He first encountered God at his lowest point in his life. He gained a profound awareness but being aware of God, is not the same as knowing God. Yet this awareness did produce a faith in God.
He encounters God again when he is struggling with his uncle Laban. He is further aware and his faith is stronger. But he still heavily relies on himself to do things, helping out God. Still, he realizes things work out better with God. Though he hasn’t seen, it is all Godm, now he encounters God again. Not like the last encounters – this God will change him for good.
This is not a random, running into God – that never happens. God has him exactly where he wants him. Jacob is really not a good guy, with a true heart. God want to change that.
Here – pay attention- What God desires for Jacob, is what God desires for us. A heart ready to follow his lead. God will do anything needed to bring us there.
Many of us think God desires us to have a blessed life. He does – but not how w see it. We see, material and carrier success, peace and tranquility. We see this as what God want for us, in other words, the good life. But this is not true. If it where, Jacob who is very wealthy, wouldn’t need anything more. He has wealth. He has success. A wonderful family...But what God wants, number one thing, close relationship with an open heart, he did not have.
Not only does God desire this changing encounter, but so does Jacob. So do we – we may just not be aware. Jacob, again looks as if he is running away from a difficult situation. But he is really running toward God.
Round 2 – When We Are Out Of Options We’re In The Ring.
Jacob is in the process of moving – from twenty years of difficult work with an uncle who cheated him at every turn. But still God made sure he was blessed. Since his uncle couldn’t get ahead no matter how difficult he made it on Jacob, he had grown jealous, and had an attitude towards him. He is not welcome where he has come from but he is not welcome where he is going, His cheated brother, Esau, who swore he would get revenge and kill him is up ahead.
When his servants come back they bring ambiguous news. Your brother is coming with 400 men. A welcoming party? A raiding party?
Jacob knows this could be the end, so he does two things: Sends gifts ahead, a common thing at this time. What it shows is this: Sender is the servant of the receiver. Jacob is trying to appease his brother hoping to overwhelm him with gifts. But there is more, he is hoping to show he is the servant three times over.
He divides up the family and camps alone. He does this in the hope that if things go down in a bad way, some of his family will survive. He camps by himself so that if Esau finds him, he will be the only one killed.