Summary: A patriotic sermon for September 11 or Veterans day. The parallel and similarity between Israel and America is both obivious and alarming.

When God We Trust

“Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” Genesis 25:23

Intro: These verses of scripture…, teach us about the birth and beginning of the Nation of Israel.

We need to understand that the word “Israel” has very specific and separate, distinct meanings in the bible.

Israel-which we get from the Greek, is originally in the Hebrew, “Yisrael.”

Yisrael means, literally, “He who strived with God.”

Or to break it down exegetically:

“Yi” in Hebrew is the masculine form “he.”

“Sra” in the Hebrew means “to strive or wrestle.”

The word “El” in Hebrew is a form of the word for God.

When you see “el” in any Hebrew name, it is a form of the word for God.

See other names such as Ishmael (God has heard.)

Michael (Who is like God.)

And Daniel (My judge is God.)

So Yisrael Old Testament Hebrew or Israel New Testament Greek means: “He who strived or wrestled with God.”

To better understand the meaning of the word Israel we need to turn to Genesis chapter 32:28 (hold that place in your bibles.)

As you remember Jacob and Esau are twin brothers.

Esau was first born…, Esau was the heir of his father Isaac’s birthright…, fortune and wealth.

Esau was the beneficiary of his grandfather Abraham’s spiritual Covenant with God.

A birthright was a special honor given to the firstborn son.

The oldest son could sell his birthright…, the oldest son could give his birthright away is he chose. But in doing so he would lose his both material property and his leadership position as head of the family.

Esau by trading his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup…his place of honor.

(Think more about honor your father and mother…, keep the morals they taught, honor the standards we grow up with, and how we trade these things in for temporary pleasures and things of the world.)

Esau showed complete disregard for the spiritual blessings that would have come his way had he kept it.

Esau traded the lasting benefits of his birthright for the immediate pleasure of food.

As a result the bible says in Genesis 27:41 “Esau hated Jacob.”

This hatred went on for many years…

Until finally one day Jacob said that he would go to his brother Esau.

Jacob would humble himself before his brother Esau

and say to him, “I have been living with Uncle Laban until recently.

I have grown up, I now own oxen, donkeys, sheep, goats, and have many servants.

I am coming to you…, hoping that we can make-up and be family once again…

But Jacob’s messenger returned with the news that Esau was on his way to meet Jacob—with an army of four hundred men!

Isn’t that just like you or someone in your family?

1. You try to make-up

2. You try to ask for forgiveness.

3. You try to humble yourself

But they won’t accept it…, plus it just seems to make things worse, because now you have an army after you!

Jacob was terrified at the news.

Jacob divided his household into two camps.

Jacob divided his flocks and herds and camels into two camps.

Jacob thought, “If Esau attacks one group…, perhaps the other group can escape.”

Then Jacob went out to meet Esau…, alone.

That night Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham and my father Isaac—O Lord, you told me to return to my land and to my relatives and you promised to treat me kindly.

I am not worthy of all the faithfulness and unfailing love you have shown to me.

When I left home I owned nothing, and now you have blessed me with enough to fill two camps!

O Lord, please rescue me from my brother Esau.

I am afraid that he is coming to kill me, along with my servant and my family and my children.

During the night Jacob was alone in the camp.

Think about times in your life when you did not know what was going to happen tomorrow. You did not know what tomorrow would hold and you worried about the future. You felt all alone.

In my life…, “alone” has often been the prelude to God answering my prayer.

Because during my alone time with God is when I truly wrestle with my faith and discover God is with me.

And the bible says Genesis 33:24 “a man came into the camp and all night Jacob wrestled with this stranger in the camp…, all through the night Jacob and this man wrestled until dawn.

When the man saw that he could not win the match.

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Greg Nance

commented on Jan 25, 2014

Thanks for this thought provoking and spiritually encouraging message.

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