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Presentation 65. The woman was left dazed. Her husband, whom the War Dept. had reported dead years previously, was alive. She and her family had held.

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation 65. The woman was left dazed. Her husband, whom the War Dept. had reported dead years previously, was alive. She and her family had held."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation 65


3 The woman was left dazed. Her husband, whom the War Dept. had reported dead years previously, was alive. She and her family had held a remembrance service, gone through the bereavement process, and attempted to reshape their lives. One phone call from her repatriated husband had created an emotional turmoil: joy and disbelief were fighting for supremacy. This not uncommon story helps us understand, what Jacob must have experienced, when his sons came home and said, 'Joseph is not only alive but is the top man in Egypt. Introduction Presentation 65

4 We are all creatures of our emotions. They shape and distort our response to news and can have a profound influence on our faith. C. S. Lewis speaks of faith in his doctor, in the operation about to be performed and in the anaesthesia that will render him unconscious. But, he says, that does not alter the fact that when they have me down on the table and clap that horrible mask over my face, a mere childish panic begins inside me. I start thinking I am going to choke and I am afraid they will start operating before I am properly under. In other words, I lose my faith in anaesthetics. It is not reason that is taking away my faith… it is my imagination and emotions. This helps us to understand Jacob's strange inner turmoil. When told Joseph was alive he doesnt instantly agree to go to Egypt and see his son. A Creature of Emotions Presentation 65

5 We, like Jacob, are often more ready to believe bad rather than good news. Years before, when brought Josephs blood stained coat he assumed the worst. Whenever anything bad happened his response was, Its what I've come to expect from life'. He reveals this pessimism to Pharaoh in 47.9 saying, 'my years have been few and difficult'. In other words, 'Its been a hard, hard life'. This despondent pessimism is an enemy of faith. Think of the two disciples, who made their way home after the crucifixion. Not even the good news of the resurrection brought by the women, who had visited the tomb could excite their spirits. By allowing their downward crashing emotions to infect their faith they remained completely despondent until Jesus turned the situation around. A Creature of Emotions Presentation 65

6 Many people are the victims of their emotions. They have become so disheartened by the circumstances of life that they find it hard to recognise good news, when it is staring them in the face. But the good news of the gospel constantly pushes itself forward eager to create a response of faith. Therefore it is worth exploring how faith was awakened in Jacob's heart. First, he was given a full account of the events v27, including the brothers confession of how they had deceived him years earlier. There is something very convincing about this kind of confession. It is not something that men do naturally. In addition, Jacob was given a verbal message from Joseph. Did he hear the voice of his son in their words and think, "Yes its just be like Joseph to see the hand of God in all his trials, and to act with such grace and forgiveness, this how he would talk and act? A Creature of Emotions Presentation 65

7 Secondly there was the evidence of the Egyptian carts. There was no other explanation for this fleet of Rolls Royce equivalents bearing the royal coat of arms! Jacobs sons possessed something for which there was no other rational explanation. Similarly, when unbelieving men and women hear the testimony of Christians, what carries real weight is that these Christians possess something that has made them different. There is a grace, a winsomeness, a kindliness in their lives which others envy. The possession of the Spirit, the Transformer of their lives, gives weight to their testimony! And so Jacob comes to the conviction of faith that we find in v28... A Creature of Emotions Presentation 65

8 Jacob is now acting out of faith and so is described by his new name 'Israel'. When Jacob is in charge he is a whining, self pitying, complaining man. But when he acts in faith he is Israel, the true child of God. Now the facts recorded in Gods word create faith. We must not underestimate the power and influence of God's voice in scripture it has about it what John Calvin the famous Reformer described as, the ring of truth. Faith is never healthy when it is distracted by feelings, it does not grow in the hothouse of emotion. For good reason Paul reminded the church in Rome that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God Rom. 10.17. A Creature of Emotions Presentation 65

9 En route to Egypt Jacob brought the caravan to a halt at Beersheba. It stood on the southern boundary of the land God had given to Abraham. Clearly Jacob was alarmed about crossing the border? Why? He was leaving the familiar behind and entering the unknown. Remember he was an old man and old people find change difficult. Children can find it difficult to persuade elderly parents that they are no longer able to look after themselves. The words residential care can cause panic attacks. It is extremely difficult to face the prospect of change, to uproot and move on. Young people take change in their stride. It is a great adventure, an exciting prospect! But for older people it is harder to pull up the stakes. Panic Attack Presentation 65

10 Secondly, Jacobs fear was surely compounded by the knowledge that Egypt was a pagan country. They had no shortage of gods, be it was a beast of the field, a planet in the sky, or a river flowing by. Was Jacob concerned about the effect of a continued exposure to paganism upon his family? Thirdly, Jacob was aware of a dark cloud that hung over his people's history. Back in Gen.15.13 God had told his grandfather Abraham that his descendants would be enslaved and mistreated for 400 years. Did Jacob fear that he would be leading his family into awful bondage? Panic Attack Presentation 65

11 It may have been these kinds of fears that brought Jacob to an abrupt halt on the boundary at Beersheba. Much as he longed to see Joseph, he was concerned about stepping out of God's will and of complicating the purposes of God. In the past God had been clear that the patriarchs should live in Canaan and to seek their spiritual good there. It is against this background that we are to understand the sacrifices offered in v46. Jacob is looking for some assurance that he is heading in the right direction. What a commendable example he sets: he is bringing all his fears and anxieties to God and saying, I wont go one step further if you are not in this venture. Panic Attack Presentation 65

12 Christians can race ahead of God into situations that change the whole direction of their lives. Be it a romantic involvement, a career move, moving house, even initiating some great scheme designed to advance God's work. We can run ahead of God and hope that he will run behind us with his approval. Sometimes it is months or years before such people look back and ask, 'Where are you God? Why are you not blessing my life? God delights to respond to the sort of prayer that says, 'Father keep me from making any decision that might grieve your heart, render my service unfruitful and complicate your work'. God is more eager to answer our prayers for uidance than we are to pray. Panic Attack Presentation 65

13 A young Christian boy ran ahead of God in pursuit of romance. The girl he showed interest in was a committed Christian. Their Christian friends thought them a good match. He had prayed about it. But it was the kind of prayer that seeks Gods approval for what has already been decided. After two years of courtship the relationship broke up. Like Jacob he was to learn that God delights to respond to prayer that says, 'Father keep me from making any decision that might cause me to step out of your will and complicate your work'. Panic Attack Presentation 65

14 God begins by calling his servant by name, Jacob, Jacob. Words that indicate that God was not only the God of his fathers but also his God! Jesus said, 'the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out, John 10.3. There is nothing more reassuring in the midst of all our fears than to be persuaded that we are known to God, that we are his. Jesus addressed the problem of discipleship anxiety by turning his disciples attention away from their anxieties and to their relationship with God. 'Your heavenly Father knows what you have need of. Matt 6.3 2 It is this relationship, which should dispel the fears of our hearts. God is not a distant heavenly policeman waiting to trip us up but a loving heavenly Father who will assure, this is the way walk in it. Isa.30.21 Panic Attack Presentation 65

15 When God said, I am God the God of your father he was reminding Jacob of the covenant faithfulness that he had shown to Abraham and Isaac, would also be shown to him. It is a wonderfully reassuring to know that God is neither capricious not changeable. When God commits himself to us it is an enduring commitment. When Christians speak of commitment they often start their thinking with their commitment to God. That is the wrong starting place. The place to begin is with God's commitment to his people. The hymn-witer reminds us, My name from the palms of his hands eternity cannot remove'. That is the source of our motivation for commitment to God Panic Attack Presentation 65

16 Finally, in v34 God promises Jacob that he will to go with him. Even death would not separate him from God's blessing or inheritance. Oh you can be sure Egypt was still frightening prospect for Jacob. The dangers were still as real as ever, the enslavement of his people was still a reality that lay over the horizon. But the thing that now made the difference was the knowledge that in all of that God was with him. Panic Attack Presentation 65

17 Are you standing at a difficult cross-roads in life? Are you fearful concerning some new challenge that lies ahead? Ask God to make clear the direction in which you should go. Do not move ahead of him. Waiting on God is not time wasted for when you move in response to his encouragement, it will be with a sense of conviction and boldness. There is nothing in all the world more reassuring than the knowledge that our God goes with us in order to bless. Conclusion Presentation 65

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