“From the Inside Out” is the theme for the sermon series in June about how God changes us.
Pastor Dale will begin the series this Sunday with the story found in Genesis 32 of Jacob’s preparations to meet Esau, the older brother he had betrayed and robbed twenty years earlier. Jacob knew he was supposed to return to the land of Canaan, the Promised Land. However, he truly believed that Esau stood in the way of that blessing and he had made extensive preparations to appease the angry confrontation he assumed lay before him.
It was the night before Esau arrived. The family and servants had been dispersed and hidden. Jacob stood alone – until the Angel of Jehovah showed up and the wrestling match began – and Jacob was winning!
It must be pointed out that Moses, the author of Genesis, did not tell us that God could not overcome Jacob – only that he did not. After a night of struggle the Angel finally disabled Jacob by dislocating his hip. This would be devastating to a wrestler. It would be like breaking the arm of a quarterback or the leg of a running back. Jacob was now unable to wage an offensive battle. He was helpless. All he could do now was to cling defensively in desperation. And this he did.
What Jacob learned that night was that Esau could neither provide nor prevent the blessing of God. It was not Esau that stood in the way of Jacob’s blessing in the land of Canaan. On one hand, it was God who opposed him that night. On the other, it was Jacob himself, who by means of his trickery and treachery, his cunning and deceit had attempted for all his life until this point to produce spiritual blessings through carnal means. But the blessing of God must be obtained from God himself, and this must be done by clinging to Him in helpless dependence, not by trying to manipulate Him. The realization of this fact brought about a dramatic change in the character and conduct of Jacob, and thus his name was changed to Israel to reflect this transformation.
In preparation for our time of study this Sunday, let me encourage you to read the following verses:
• Genesis 32 – The first 21 verses provide the background; the good stuff starts at verse 22 and continues through the end of the chapter
• Hosea 12:3-5 – Jacob overcame the Angel of Jehovah – most likely with his tears and begging for favor – there is just something about tears and begging that touch a Father’s heart
Remember, this Sunday is Father’s Day. A legacy of faith can begin or be strengthened by gathering your family to worship together this Sunday.