Genesis 27:41, 28:10 – 22, 29:20 – 27, 31:38 – 42, 31:1 – 3, 31, 21 – 24, 31:48 – 50, 32:22 – 32
The Making of a Man
Medical technology has allowed us to see into the brain and is demonstrating that men and women do physically think in different ways. Of course, that’s just catching up with our observations of Scripture.
Jacob was one example of a man that God directly shaped through the use of some interesting tools.
I. God uses disruptions.
A. Esau disrupted Jacob’s sense of peace an security. [Gen. 27:41]
1. Jacob and Esau were in constant conflict.
a. Esau sold his “birthright” for soup. (The birthright was the legal standing given to the first born to be head of the family.)
b. Jacob stole Isaac’s blessing. (The blessing was the prayer/prophecy of what and who the person was to become.)
2. Esau eventually developed an attitude.
a. Jacob ran for his life. [Gen. 28:10]
b. This became a 20 year voyage of discovering God.
B. God used this disruption to get Jacob’s attention. [Gen. 28:11 – 22]
1. Finally God gets Jacob alone.
a. Men have the ability to think of absolutely nothing OR only themselves (sometimes that’s the same thing).
b. At Jacob’s “lowest” point (hey, he’s using a rock for a pillow) God reveals Himself.
1.) Notice God takes the initiative.
2.) Notice God promises to do the work.
***** Sometimes men are a bit slower to catch on. Sometimes men have to be brought to the point of utter helplessness before we will listen to God. *****
III. God uses conflict.
A. Laban becomes a friendly enemy of Jacob.
1. Laban steals 20 years of Jacob’s life and work.
a. Jacob wanted Rachel but got Leah. [Gen. 29:20 – 27, 31:38 – 42]
(CAUTION: Men, it is ALWAYS a bad thing when we allow lust to rule our actions.)
b. Question: can anyone be this stupid?
1.) How do you mistake the ugly sister for the “drop dead gorgeous” one on you wedding night?
2.) Somehow Jacob must have been out of control, either drunk or self-absorbed.
2. God steps in to direct Jacob. [Gen. 31:1 – 3]
a. In the space of 20 years...
1.) There is no record of God contacting Jacob.
2.) There is no record of God at work in Jacob OTHER THAN blessing his work (which both Laben and Jacob recognized).
b. Men tend to define themselves by two things:
1.) Their work. “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God. [Ecclesiastes 2:24] (BTW, I think this was meant to be a simple observation of a life without God, not a “truth statement.”)
2.) Their “wise” children. “A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother.” [Proverbs 10:1b,c]
B. God steps in to protect Jacob. [Gen. 31:21 – 24]
1. Somehow Jacob is still depending on himself.
a. He “deceive” his uncle and runs.
b. Laban catches him in 7 days, after a 3 day head start... (Suspicion, Laban was unhappy when he started and very cranky when he caught Jacob.)
2. God reveals His will to Laban.
a. “Say nothing good or bad...”
1.) First we talk, then we fight... some of us equate “lets talk with lets fight.”
2.) In other words, God cautioned Laben to not escalate the conflict.
b. Laban behaves himself. [Gen. 31:48 – 50]
1.) “Mizpah” means “watch tower.”
2.) “God is a witness between you and me.” [v 50]
III. God uses transformation.
A. Transformation is not a one time event.
1. It happens in significant moments and in daily progression.
a. Esau’s murderous threats, Laben’s greed and anger, Esau’s army...
b. Daily life of work... subtle blessings and realization of God’s blessings.
a. Moses became Moses through a series of significant events: murder, burning bush, the Exodus, and meeting God on the mountain.
b. John became John through daily contact with Jesus: He was a “son of thunder” but became “the apostle of love.”
c. Joshua became Joshua when he served as Moses’ aid, when he stated in the “tent of meeting” to pray, and when God appeared to him... the first two prepared him for the appointment to lead.
B. How does this work? [Gen. 32:22 – 32]
1. Transformation happens through persistence not physical strength or skill.
a. Jacob is no match for the stranger (God).
b. Jacob has an intense desire (reason, purpose): “bless me.”
1.) Jacob goes from stealing to wanting God to give him the blessing.
2.) At this defining he takes his place with Abraham in the “chain of faith.”
2. Transformation touches the entire person.
a. His name is changed. Abram becomes Abraham, Saul becomes Paul, Cephas becomes Peter... Jacob becomes Israel.
b. Those who are in Christ Jesus have a new name!
1.) You are a new person: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” [2 Corinthians 5:17]
2.) You are given a new name: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” [Revelation 2:17]
3. Transformation happens when we meet God face to face.
a. “Peniel” means “face of God.”
1.) It is here that a man honestly faces himself, his fears, and his pride.
2.) It is here that a man makes that choice – once and for all – that will define him for eternity.
b. Your turn is “today.”
1.) Absolute trust in the salvation provided by Jesus.
2.) Absolute submission to God’s transforming work and power.