Genesis 25: 23† And the LORD said unto her, 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.
B. Jacob undoubtedly knew about this promise from his mother (he was her favorite).
1. But, Jacob relied on his own tricks to "supplant" his older brother Esau.
2. He took advantage of Esau's hunger to extract his birthright for a bowl of soup
3. He resorted to deception to trick Isaac into passing the inheritance to him
1. Esau was so mad that he decided to kill Jacob
2. Jacob had to flee for his life to his uncle Laban's
D. On his way to Laban's, God broke into Jacob's life through a dream.
1. God reiterated the Promise
2. God also promised to Jacob that he would protect him while he was gone
3. God would also bring him back safely
1. Lliving his life by his own resources,
2. Being apart from any real awareness of God's involvement.
G. When Jacob got to Laban's land
1. He ran up against someone who was as good a chiseler as he was!
2. Jacob fell in love with Laban's daughter Rachel,
3. Jacob hung around a month instead of the few days he had planned.
1. He took advantage of it to extract seven years of servitude for her hand.
2. When the seven years are over,
a. Laban took advantage of Jacob's excessive partying at the wedding feast
b. Laben smuggled his older daughter Leah into bed with Jacob.
a. Jacob was furious: "What is this you have done to me? . . .
b. Why then have you deceived me?" - Ironic after his own dealings with Esau
J. Laban insisted on seven more years labor for Rachel.
1. After those seven years, Jacob was permitted to marry Rachel.
2. Jacob and Laban spent six more years decidingwho would get the biggest portion of their flocks.
3. God blessed Jacobís work
K. Because of his own scheming, Jacob turned a few weeks into twenty years.
1. He wound up fleeing for his life from his father-in-law and God had to intervene to prevent Laban from killing him.
2. On his way back home, Jacob realized that he had to travel through Esau's land.
1. He followed this promise up by sending some angels to reassure Jacob of his protection
2. Jacob was still scheming rather than trusting.
a. He sent some of his servants to bribe Esau and the hope of gifts
b. They returned with news that scared Jacob
c. Esau was coming to see him with 400 men!
M. For the first time in the Bible, Jacob prayed to God for protection
1. But then he came up with an† elaborate plan to buy Esau off
2. Jacob had an encounter with God that was the defining moment of his life
a. He was alone that night before he had to face Esau
b. He had a wrestling match with God
1. To show Jacob's life up to now
2. To teach him an important lesson
1. This was a picture of Jacob's relationship with God all this time.
a. It wasn't primarily Esau or Laban that he was resisting and trying to get around
b. It was God himself.
2. God had a will for Jacob's life
a. God made promises to him pertaining to that will
b. Jacob had been resisting God's leadership at every step
C. After wrestling all night, God dislocated Jacob's thigh with a touch
D. This showed Jacob Who he was fighting with (someone with great power Who could beat him easily)
E. God had been taking progressively more drastic steps to teach Jacob to forget† trusting in himself and trust Him.
1.† Jacob can only hang on to God
2.† Jacobís tenacity is now shown with humbleness
3. God blesses him (probably reiterates the Promise)
1. Old name - (Supplanter; "deceiver")
2. New name - (Israel "one who strives effectively with God").
H. God has always been willing to bless Jacob.
1. He has only been waiting for Jacob to ask with a trusting, dependent heart.
2. Jacob learned the lesson.
a. The next morning, he dropped his plan with Esau
b. He went ahead of everyone to meet him directly - trusting God
c.† He discovered that Esau had forgiven him, and he went on to instruct and give godly leadership for his family.
A. All of us struggle with God
1. We are committed to making our lives work apart from trusting God
a. Godís direction
b. Godís power.
2. It's not that we are ignorant about God
a. We say, God told me ---, and then do it our own way
b. Sometimes we tend to place on God our own faults Ė Selfish, controlling, etc
3. It's not so much that we doubt that God exists or that he has a plan for our lives.
a. Deep down, we know both of these things.
b. And that's what we're afraid of - we don't want to surrender the control of our lives to anyone, including God.
1. Some say we want nothing to do with God
2. Some are more subtle and passive Ė deceiving themselves
3. But the suspicion and struggle are still there.
C. God works through suffering and trials to teach us our need to depend on him.
1. The problem isn't just bad information about God,
2. The solution takes more than just learning that God loves you and has a plan for your life.
3. God works to "break" trust in ourselves through trials.
4. Just like He did with Jacob, God often just lets us reap the consequences of our actions, and then delivers us when we seek Him