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Wrestling with God Genesis 32:1-32. Catching Up to the Past ► Can we ever escape the past and not reap what we’ve sown?  We try to forget our sins, but.

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Presentation on theme: "Wrestling with God Genesis 32:1-32. Catching Up to the Past ► Can we ever escape the past and not reap what we’ve sown?  We try to forget our sins, but."— Presentation transcript:

1 Wrestling with God Genesis 32:1-32

2 Catching Up to the Past ► Can we ever escape the past and not reap what we’ve sown?  We try to forget our sins, but our sins don’t forget us  Jacob was forgiven by God, but neither time nor geography can change the consequences ► Conflicts between  Faith and fear  Trusting God and scheming  Asking God for help and then acting as though we don’t even know God ► How do we deal with crisis in life?  What can we learn from Jacob?

3 Fear of the Unknown Genesis 32:1-8 ► From Laban to Esau  20 years before, Jacob had fled from Esau to Laban  Now he was fleeing Laban to be confronted by Esau!  Jacob headed toward Bethel, the place God had appointed for him to go ► Eventually he had to meet Esau ► Proverbs 18:19 “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city”  Jacob sent messengers ahead to tell his brother that he was coming  Jacob took things into his own hands

4 God’s Protection ► Imagine Jacob’s surprise when he saw an army of angels before him!  “This is God’s host [army]!”  He called the place “Mahanaim” = “the two camps” ► Jacob’s camp and God’s camp  Twenty years before, Jacob had seen the angels at Bethel and learned that God was with him - 28:10-12  Now God’s angels were there to protect him and fight for him  Romans 8:31 “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

5 Jabbok River

6 Faith or Fear? ► The messengers returned  Esau and 400 men were coming to meet Jacob  Jacob expected the worst  A guilty conscience often makes us see the darkest possible picture ► When faith is crowded out by fear, we usually start scheming and trusting our own resources  “I’ve found a wonderful verse to help me overcome fear” - Psalm 56:3: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee”  Moody - “I can give you a better promise, Isaiah 12:2 - Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid”

7 Faith or Fear? ► Believers walking by faith should not fear the enemy  Psalms 112:7 “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord”  Jacob was “greatly afraid and distressed” - Genesis 32:7 ► Turned to his old ways of scheming ► Did not remember God’s angels ► Divided his camp into two bands so that if one group was attacked, the other group could escape

8 The Basis of Prayer and Faith Genesis 32:9-12 ► Jacob’s prayer  One of the great prayers recorded in Scripture  Yet his faith was very weak ► The prayer says  Jacob had a profound knowledge of God’s ways and God’s character  Yet he was praying in desperation and not in confidence ► Give God a reason why He should answer when you pray

9 Jacob’s Prayer ► God’s covenant - Genesis 32:9a  God in His grace had called Abraham and made a covenant with him (12:1-3), and that covenant was affirmed both to Isaac and to Jacob  Today we approach the throne of grace through Jesus Christ on the basis of the New Covenant that He made through His own blood (Hebrews 8:6-13; 12:22-24) ► God’s command - Genesis 32:9b  It was God’s idea that he leave Padan Aram and return to his own land - 31:13  God’s commandment always involves God’s enablement  The will of God will never lead us where the power of God can’t protect us and provide for us

10 Jacob’s Prayer ► God’s covenant - Genesis 32:9a ► God’s command - Genesis 32:9b ► God’s care - Genesis 32:10  Jacob reviewed the past twenty years and reminded God of the wonderful way He had cared for him  God had been faithful in every trial that came to Jacob  Why would God care for him for twenty years and then leave him with no help?

11 Jacob’s Prayer ► God’s covenant - Genesis 32:9a ► God’s command - Genesis 32:9b ► God’s care - Genesis 32:10 ► God’s purposes - Genesis 32:11  Jacob wasn’t thinking only of himself, but he had his family and God’s great plan in mind as well ► Through Jacob’s sons God would bring blessing to all people ► The Savior would come from the tribe of Judah and die for the sins of the world ► Paul would come from the tribe of Benjamin and carry the Gospel to the Gentiles  God will not allow His eternal purpose to fail!

12 Jacob’s Prayer ► God’s covenant - Genesis 32:9a ► God’s command - Genesis 32:9b ► God’s care - Genesis 32:10 ► God’s purposes - Genesis 32:11 ► God’s promise - Genesis 32:12  Jacob reminded the Lord of the promises He had made to him at Bethel - 28:12-15 ► I am with you ► I will keep you ► I will bring you back ► I will not leave you

13 Jacob’s Prayer ► Don’t imitate Jacob’s fear, unbelief, and scheming, but you should pray the way he prayed!  Remember God’s covenant  Remember God’s command  Remember God’s care in the past  Remember God’s purposes  Remember God’s promises ► Rest completely on who God’s character and covenant  We can trust God to be faithful to His character and His Word - “I will trust and not be afraid”

14 Jacob’s Lack of Faith Genesis 32:13-21 ► A prayer with that kind of solid theological content should have brought God’s peace to Jacob’s heart, but it didn’t ► Faith is what was missing!  He decided to put together an expensive gift of 580 valuable animals  He divided them into separate herds and commanded the herdsmen to keep a space between each herd so that Esau couldn’t help but be impressed  Each of the herdsmen was to make the same speech to Esau: “They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau” - v. 18  Jacob planned to follow behind the last herd, hoping that the gifts would prepare Esau to forgive him and welcome him when they finally met

15 Jacob’s Lack of Faith Genesis 32:13-21 ► Faith  Acting on God’s commands  Living without scheming ► Examine our own hearts - guilty of praying and then depending on our own schemes and resources ► James 2:20 “faith without works is dead”  but Jacob’s gift wasn’t a work of faith because God didn’t command it ► Romans 10:17 says true faith is based on God’s Word ► Romans 14:23 says whatever we do that isn’t motivated by faith is sin  Jacob’s real problem was not Esau - Jacob’s problem was Jacob!

16 God’s Principles of Change Genesis 32:22-32 ► Principle #1 - Get alone with God  Genesis 32:22-26  Jacob moved his family across the river to what he hoped was a safe place  Now Jacob was alone ► God often wants to do something personal in us and He needs to get us alone with Him to do it ► Twenty years before, Jacob had met the Lord when he was alone at Bethel; and now God graciously came to him again in his hour of need ► Jacob discovered that he’d spent his life fighting God and resisting His will

17 Wrestling with the Angel of God ► It wasn’t a physical battle, but an emotional and spiritual battle that night  It was a battle within  Hosea 12 - same word is used for prayer and weeping  Much prayer and weeping that night as God stripped away everything superficial in Jacob’s life  Jacob was not willing to just have a religion -- He wanted God!

18 God’s Principles of Change Genesis 32:22-32 ► Principle #2 -- Get real with God (Genesis 32:27-32)  More than anything else, Jacob wanted the blessing of the Lord on his life ► Before we can be what God wants us to be, we have to get realistic and admit what we are in ourselves  “What is your name?” ► The last time Jacob was asked that question, he told a lie! ► His father asked, “Who are you, my son?” and Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn” - 27:18-19  That question meant more than simply what people called him ► Jacob had always lived up to his name: a schemer and a deceiver ► “Are you going to continue living up to your name, or will you admit what you are and let Me change you?”

19 God’s Principles of Change Genesis 32:22-32 ► Principle #3 -- Get changed by God  In the Bible, receiving a new name signifies making a new beginning, and this was Jacob’s opportunity to make a fresh start in life  “Israel,” from a Hebrew word that means “to struggle” ► “one who wrestles with God” or “God strives” ► The explanation in verse 28 is that Jacob had gained power because he prevailed ► He lost the battle but won the victory! ► 2 Corinthians 12: Like Paul, Jacob became strong only when he became weak

20 Peniel = “The Face of God” Peniel = “The Face of God” ► Once again Jacob gave a special name to a significant place, this time Peniel [Penuel  He thought that seeing God’s face would bring death, but it actually brought him new life  It was the dawning of a new day for Israel/Jacob ► He had a new name ► He had a new walk (he was limping) ► He had a new relationship with God that would help him face and solve any problem, if only he would exercise faith ► Just in time!  The great test was about to come, for Esau had arrived on the scene  But now Jacob was ready to meet Esau

21 God Wants to Change Us! ► Get alone and get real with God  The next thing that WILL happen is change ► Jacob wrestled all night long with the angel of God - Jesus  He would not let go of God’s presence until he established without a doubt whom God was going to be in his life  Nothing else mattered!  It changed his whole life!

22 “How about me?” ► Are you ready to do business with God like that?  Do you want God that much? ► If you are willing -- He is willing - and your life is going to be different  “I’m not sure about that” - Neither was Jacob  “I’ve never done that before” - Neither did Jacob  “I don’t see how......” - Like Jacob, you don’t have to see beyond your need for God.  You only have to see that you need and want Him more than anything else  Grab hold of God and don’t let go!  You will never walk the same again!


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