Summary: Surrender absolutely to the God who is absolutely committed to your good.
1 a: to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand
b: to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another”
During the First Gulf War a common occurrence was the immediate, unconditional surrender of members of the Iraqi Army. Resistance against US and coalition forces would often just evaporate as our troops pushed Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait. There were two reasons for this. First, the Iraqi military was no match for ours. Second, they anticipated American kindness to prisoners of war. At that point in history captivity to US forces would have been preferable to life under Saddam Hussein. Surrender is a good thing when you have no chance of winning and your cause isn’t worth fighting for.
Surrender is also a good thing when it comes to the accomplishment of goals and objectives. Laura and I surrendered to the point system of Weight Watchers in February. We count everything we eat and keep our daily of food intake under a certain number of points. As a result we’ve lost nearly 15 lbs each. Recovering alcoholics must surrender to weekly meetings at AA support groups and to an accountability system to break free of their addictions. Whatever your aim you’ve got to surrender to the program to move forward.
Surrender is good in relationships. If you want to have friends you’ve got to surrender your self-interest and be interested in them. You have to surrender your natural tendency to protect yourself to let others in so that they really know you. In order to maintain peace in relationships you have to surrender your ego from time to time in order to ask or extend forgiveness. The crown of all relationships, marriage, isn’t even possible without surrender. Think of what you have to give up, husbands, to love your wife with sacrificial love as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Think of what you have to give up, wives, to respect your husband and submit to his leadership.
Surrender is good in so many ways. Why is it so difficult? You have to trust whatever or whomever you’re surrendering to. Before you’ll surrender to a superior military force you have to trust that they will treat you reasonably well and not torture or murder you. Before you’ll surrender to a course of action you’ve got to believe that it will work. Before you’ll surrender to another person you have to trust that they’re basically good and have your best interests at heart. It’s even easier to surrender if you know that they love you.
Today we conclude the book of Genesis. It has taken 10 months and 38 sermons, but we’ve finally arrived at the end. I hope you’ve seen a pattern emerge as God interacted with sinful human beings. God presents His way, the people go their own way, the people experience the misery, pain, and destruction of their own way, God comes to them and presents His way again and again and again. His way brings blessing and peace and joy and delight in knowing and walking with the Creator of the universe. God’s way brings the satisfaction of being used for His purposes according to His design. In order for sinful human beings to enjoy His presence and plan what’s the one thing they must do – from Adam to Joseph? Surrender. What determines whether or not people surrender to God? You’ve got it … trust.
The final chapter of Genesis is really just a summation of this idea. Moses wrote this book so that the generation entering the Promised Land would trust the Lord and surrender to Him. The Holy Spirit preserved this book so that we too would trust and surrender. Just to make sure we get it, the Lord inspired Moses to include …
Good Reasons to Trust God
Unlike some overly rigid parents God doesn’t say to us, “Surrender because I told you to” or Surrender or else.” He makes surrender as easy as possible by giving us reasons to trust Him. Here are three statements God makes to each of us through the concluding verses of Genesis, which He’s really been saying throughout the entire book. First …
“Expect fulfillment of all My promises”
In the final chapter the reader is treated to 15 verses detailing Jacob’s death, funeral, and burial. Lots of odd details are included in the account like this:
Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him, taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days. Genesis 50:2-3
The Egyptian embalmers preserved Jacob like a mummy. They officially mourned for him 70 days. Historical evidence tells us that these actions were reserved for the kings of Egypt. Jacob received a royal funeral by the Egyptians. Even the funeral procession was fit for a king: