Jacob: God's Blessings... Look UP & See!
America yesterday remembered an event that forever reshaped our nation and our world. Many listening today can recall what you were doing that day. Others cannot. September 11, 2001 will stand out as one of the hardest most difficult times in America.
It is in times of hardship that it is most often difficult to see God’s hand of blessing. We become myopic in what we look at and how we perceive things. Many would agree that we are going through one of those difficult seasons once again, times of hardship, concern, our hearts are burdened for our nation.
Our eyes tend to sink down as our heads hang. We become focused on the things of this world too quickly… keeping ONLY what is right in front of us in view rather than lifting UP our eyes. God tells Jacob in Genesis 31:12 ““He said, ‘Lift up now your eyes and see ...
Jacob is going through difficult times in our passages today. The burdens of life are heavy, work is hard, the furtive is uncertain. In chapters 30-31 we see
Jacob Oppressed / Lacking Comforts in Life
We See God’s Blessings / God Intervening
Returning to The Land Promised / A Hope
Have you ever come to scripture and read it amazed… wow this is dealing with what I am going through right now!
This is because God’s Word is living and active
It is also because God’s Word deals with real life
Israel… the original audience here, has just come out of oppression from Egypt, they have been in the wilderness, they are preparing to go to the promise land. now they read the words in Genesis… Wow this is just like us!
And guess what Israel??? We serve the SAME GOD!
Guess what church??? We serve the SAME GOD!
Oppression and Discomfort
Oppression and Discomfort
God often uses these tools for His greatest work in our lives! Things had grown this way for Jacob as he served his uncle Laban. Genesis 30:25-36 gives the picture of things and what Jacob did about it. Jacob would later tell Laban what he felt and describe all the hardship… Genesis 31:38-42…
LOOK at this hardship THEN look at what Jacob proposed to do...
“These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks. “That which was torn of beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it myself. You required it of my hand whether stolen by day or stolen by night. “Thus I was: by day the heat consumed me and the frost by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. “These twenty years I have been in your house; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flock, and you changed my wages ten times. “If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, so He rendered judgment last night.”
Now it came about when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my own country. “Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me depart; for you yourself know my service which I have rendered you.” But Laban said to him, “If now it pleases you, stay with me; I have divined that the Lord has blessed me on your account.” He continued, “Name me your wages, and I will give it.” But he said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you and how your cattle have fared with me. “For you had little before I came and it has increased to a multitude, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned. But now, when shall I provide for my own household also?” So he said, “What shall I give you?” And Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this one thing for me, I will again pasture and keep your flock: let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted sheep and every black one among the lambs and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages. “So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come concerning my wages. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, will be considered stolen.” Laban said, “Good, let it be according to your word.” So he removed on that day the striped and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats, every one with white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the care of his sons. And he put a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.
Wow, just wow! This was NOT a good deal for Jacob!!!!
Odds were against him
There had to be a full complete trust in God!
Had God allowed Jacob to be comfortable… Jacob may have never left!
Baby birds and the nest
Israel and the luxuries of Egypt
You and I in this World
I love Jacobs price… “you shall NOT give me anything” God will supply
This Leads us to a consistent message through out scripture...
God is the One who Blesses
God is the One who Blesses
Throughout these two chapters we consistently see God doing an amazing work!
Jacob has ALLOWED GOD TO BE GOD!… Trusting God to provide, God to work, God to bless… NOT MAN!
Consider Jacob’s observations about God in the midst of this hardship time… Genesis 31:5-9...
and said to them, “I see your father’s attitude, that it is not friendly toward me as formerly, but the God of my father has been with me. “You know that I have served your father with all my strength. “Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, God did not allow him to hurt me. “If he spoke thus, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock brought forth speckled; and if he spoke thus, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock brought forth striped. “Thus God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me.
Jacob is seeing God’s hand
Laban said he saw God’s hand
How do YOU respond to God’s hand?
There were many gods in the land
Rachel desired to hold onto some of them… takes idols
Israel would form a golden calf and worship it on the way to the promised land
What or Who takes precedence in your life over God?
Self - Money - Position - Your Nationality - Fun and Pleasure - Sports?
So much of this world can become a wrong focus for us
Jacob see God’s hand working and he listens when God directs… Genesis 31:3 Genesis 31:11-13
Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
“Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’ “He said, ‘Lift up now your eyes and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. ‘I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.’ ”
Returning Home… Promised Land
Returning Home… Promised Land
God has allowed discomfort
God has brought blessing
God is calling to something better… something promised!
The blinders are removed and the HOPE of what lies ahead is worth everything
Jacob sees the promise of God’s faithfulness, His blessing and NOW he is returning!!!!
Israel must have leaped in their hearts as they read these words
God working to bring them HOME
Our pursuit of HOME… the Promised blessings is NOT without pursuit by the world, by the prince of this world
Laban would pursue with vengeance
Pharaoh would pursue with rage
Satan still prowls like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour!
God intervenes on behalf of man…
Genesis 31:24 “God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night and said to him, “Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad.””
Pharaoh's army is crushed by the sea
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
This world is NOT OUR HOME… this is just the journey! Paul urges the 2 Corinthians 5:20 to consider their perspective of living here on earth...
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Jacob kept a straight path back to Bethel to meet God...
May you and I as we walk with Him each day stay the course, remove the blinders and see Him working in us through us and around us!
Church stop hanging your head… lift up your eyes and SEE!!!!