Summary: Practice the art of remembering the wonderful things that God has spoken to you. Many are promises that you can see fulfilled in your lifetime.
What must I Remember in Difficult Times
Gen. 28:10-22 (Jacob at Bethel)
Intro.: When Willy Mays went to the major league, he only got one hit in his first 26 times at bat. The manager found him crying in the dugout. Willy felt that he was a failure and could not go on in the majors. The manager told him that he would be a centerfielder for the Giants as long as he was the manager. Willy Mays went on to hit 660 home runs (#3 on the al-time list).
It just took someone to come along and give encouragement.
We all face uncertain times at different junctures of life. We wonder how we will carry on. Thank God for the Scriptures. For therein we find pointers to assure us of God's power and desire to help.
Jacob was far from home and felt that he could not return home. His brother Esau wanted to kill him. He felt lonely and unprepared for his journey in unknown territory and hidden dangers.
Jacob knew that he did not deserve help from God, but the Lord extended mercy to him nonetheless.
In an unexpected place (a desert campfire) at an unexpected time (trying to get some sleep), God shows up on the scene.
Jacob has his famous "stairway to heaven" dream/vision.
I. Remember God's Promises
The Lord let Jacob know that He had made a promise to Abraham and to Isaac that the land even where he was sleeping would be for him and his descendants, and that the whole world would be blessed through them.
This was wonderful encouragement to Jacob. He felt isolated and foreign, yet God was giving him a promise.
Someone said that there a more than 3,000 promises in the Bible. They are for the believers.
What you gonna do? You can pout and ponder about the problem or you can praise and press on because of the promise.
II. Remember God's Presence
In Gen. 28:15, God tells Jacob, " I am with thee".
Many times we feel all alone, but don't just live on feelings.
"Feelings come and feelings go
Feelings are deceiving
My warrant is the Word of God
None other is worth believing."
Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Ps 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Having the presence of God with you is no guarantee that you will get to avoid the problem at hand. What it does guarantee, is that you can have peace in the midst of it all.
III. Remember God's Protection
Again in verse 15, God speaks and tells Jacob, "I will keep thee".
When we remember and are aware of His protection, the fear factor is diminished. We have the assurance that all is going to be okay.
IV. Remember God's Provision
The term "keep thee", not only speaks of protection, but in the Hebrew, it also speaks of provision. The Lord has promised to provide anything and everything that you could possibly need to make it through.
Whether it be funds or faith, gas or grace, healing or hope-------you can count on God.
There came a day (although it was many years later), when Jacob returned to this same place. He was reminded of his original visitation from God. He remembered the promises that God had fulfilled.
Then he made another altar.
And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother. And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.
He made a slight change in the name of this altar---The God of the house of God. It was more than just a place of religious dedication. He wanted to honour the original Promise Keeper--God.