Summary: Jacob: Wrestling with God and Man, Pt. 4

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Charles Sykes, a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Institute, a public policy think tank, didn’t like the way his fellow citizens whine, evade responsibility, and point fingers. The infamous 19991 Los Angeles riot was a case in point, when rioters, looters, and arsonists excused their behavior by calling their act of lawlessness an insurrection, an uprising, and a protest.

So Sykes wrote a controversial book titled A Nation of Victims and appeared on TV to counter the mood that people from all walks of life had adopted, which stated: “I am a victim of a syndrome or a dysfunction -emotional, racial, sexual, or psychological. So what I do is not my fault, I am not responsible for my behavior, so-and-so or this-and-that made me do it."

In an interview with C-SPAN Sykes said: “All of us in some sense can blame somebody else for our problems. Mommy and Daddy are a good target, but also we all want to be loved and we would wish that everything was suited for us, that all of our needs were taken care of. That’s what it was like when we were babies. Part of the problem in American culture is that Americans are very ambivalent about growing up. We know that we have to do it, but we don’t necessarily like it."

Victims, typically, hide behind catchy but convenient slogans such as the one I saw: "90% of people is dysfunctional, the rest is in denial."

Jacob was the consummate sufferer and classic sucker, but also the ultimate survivor in Haran. He was victimized upon his arrival in Haran but he refused to be deflated by the treatment. Jacob came from nowhere, arrived with nothing, but left with God’s favor, Laban’s fortune, and a big family.

How did Jacob turn his life around from victim to victor? Why are some victims able to triumph over man-made tragedy, traps, and troubles? What do victors have that victims do not?


16Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful. 18Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, "I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel." 19Laban said, "It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me." 20So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. 21 Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to lie with her." 22 So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. 23 But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob, and Jacob lay with her. 24 And Laban gave his servant girl Zilpah to his daughter as her maidservant. 25 When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?"

(Gen. 29:16-25)

One of the most humbling things I did in my first year of pastorate at a church was to wash the urinal or toilet stand. Years of neglect had left eight long, vertical, parallel lines on the urinal. The yellow stains were a blight and an eyesore.

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Sheryl Menke

commented on Jan 14, 2008

Very good message. Thanks

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