Sermons

Summary: Jacob: Wrestling with God and Man, Pt. 2

THE END DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE MEANS (GEN 27:1-46)

//The new science of siblings Time July 10, 2006

Katherine Conger of the University of California, Davis, “devised a study to test how widespread favoritism is. She assembled a group of 34 adolescent sibling pairs and their parents, visiting them three times over three years and questioning them all about their relationships, their sense of well-being and more. To see how they interacted as a group, she videotaped them as they worked through sample conflicts. Overall, she concluded that 6% of mother sand 70% of fathers exhibited a preference for one child – in most cases the older one. What’s more, the kids know what’s going on. (18% of people polled say their parents favored one child to another.)

When my wife applied for a teaching position at a university in Orange County, she made it the final round, only to lose the teaching position to a better-qualified candidate. The blow softened for her when the Lord led us to ministry in Riverside. She realized then that the cross-county travel would not make sense and that God knew what was best for both of us, instead of just her.

A year later, after she had obtained her professional license, another university rejected her, although this time she was more qualified than the selected candidate. She began to question: “Why has the Lord put the burden of teaching in me and not open the door? Is it because of my own desire to be successful? Am I really not as good as the other candidates?”

For a while she settled for a government-funded job that “paid the bills” but had little or no challenge or fulfillment. She vacillated between two extremes: often moaning, “I hate this job, I don’t want to go to work!” and occasionally, “I must serve God where He placed me with a good attitude.”

After a year of precious administrative experience, a better position opened up in still another university, and this time, she needed not apply. Both the college and graduate school courted her, and even though she initially interviewed for the college level, she ended up teaching at the graduate school! The position was an answer to a prayer that she made before we were married. She had asked me to drive her to the university one day, and while I was driving pass the school and oblivious to her words, she asked the Lord for a job there as a wedding gift, claiming: “This is my Promised Land.”

The path to God’s will is not one of subversion, but one of submission. Seeking God’s way, His timing and guidance, is a constant struggle and a lifetime lesson for a believer, but insubordination brings trouble into our lives, turmoil upon others, and reprove from God.

The co-dependent, high-octane and double-crossing relationship of the two brothers Jacob and Esau with their parents, as expected, was headed for an ugly confrontation, fall and ending. One of the twins would cry, one would flee, but both parents were heartbroken for individual reasons. Esau did not get better, Jacob got worse, and the family disintegrated into pieces.

What is God’s way for the family? Why is it better to follow God’s way than to follow our instincts or to follow bad advice? How can relationships be saved, sustained and strengthened?

TRUST IN THE FAMILY AND ITS WORTH

27:1When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.” “Here I am,” he answered. 2Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. 3Now then, get your weapons--your quiver and bow--and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. 4Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.” 5Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. (Gen 27:1-5)

A mother crab was having a hard time teaching her young the right and dignified way to walk when they were scurrying at the beach one day. No matter how often and how hard she taught her son, he still did not get it right. In fact, he was way off mark and hopeless beyond correction. In desperation, the mother crab chastised him: “How many times do I have to tell you to walk straight! Stop walking sideways! It’s much more becoming to stroll forward than walk sideways.”

The equally frustrated young crab protested: “I will, Mother, just as soon as I see how. Show me how to walk, and I’ll walk like you.” (Adapted from William Bennett, The Moral Compass 522 NY:Simon & Schuster, 1995)

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