This message was preached by Manesh P at Word of Grace via zoom on the 11th of Oct 2020. For the audio please click here
“The Jacob before the encounter”
Scripture for the message
Birth of Jacob & Esau - Genesis 25:19 - 28
Esau sells his birthright - Genesis 25:29 -34
Jacob deceives Isaac - Genesis 27:1- 29
Esau plans to kill Jacob - Genesis 27:41-42
Jacob is sent to Laban - Genesis 27:43 – 28:5
Jacob’s encounter - Genesis 28:10 - 22
Jacob the younger son of Isaac and Rebekah deceives His father to get the blessings of His older brother Esau. When Esau comes to know about this, he plans to kill Jacob after Isaac dies. But Rebekah gets to know about Esau’s plan and sends Jacob to her brother Laban in Paddan Aram. On the way to Paddan Aram, while Jacob is sleeping, he has an encounter with God in a dream and God blesses him. Jacob later names this place Bethel which means house of God.
Who was Jacob before he had an encounter with God at Bethel?
1. Jacob was the chosen one.
Genesis 25:23 NIV
The Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”
God said to Rebekah that Esau the first-born son will serve the younger son Jacob before she bore them.
Romans 9:10-13 NIV
10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
Before Jacob was born, God chose Jacob over Esau even though both children were conceived at the same time and both were answers to Isaac’s prayer.
It is written in Malachi 1:2-3 that God loved Jacob and He hated Esau. Does that mean God didn’t love Esau? Once a Women said to Charles Spurgeon “I cannot understand why God should say that He hated Esau.” Spurgeon replied “That is not my difficulty. My trouble is to understand how God could love Jacob.”
In Luke 14:26, Jesus said “If anyone comes to me and doesn’t hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters - Yes, even their own life - such a person cannot be my disciple. Does that mean we should not love our father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters? No. What Jesus meant is that we should prefer Jesus more than any other relationship. Jesus should be our first love. Similarly, when it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” It means God preferred Jacob over Esau in His election.
So, God chose Jacob before he did anything good or bad. The election was not based on his works. Similarly, we are saved by grace and not by works.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
God gave us the undeserved unmerited new life in Christ. This is Grace.
When we become Christians, we know we have got the salvation which we didn’t deserve. But as years pass, we think we have grown spiritually, and we have blessings because we deserve it. This is a dangerous state of pride. We never deserved and we will never deserve any blessings.
Even in our worldly matters, we cannot say we deserve to get anything. We cannot say we deserved to be promoted, we deserved the job, we deserved that money etc. All we ever deserve is hell. Every good thing in our life are a free undeserved unmerited gift from God.
So, we should always be thankful and grateful for salvation and the good things in our life.
2. Jacob had flaws.
Why did Spurgeon say it is difficult to understand how God could love Jacob? Jacob had many flaws. The name Jacob means ‘Heel – catcher’. It also means ‘Supplant’ – One who uproots someone to take his place.
(a) Jacob tricked his brother (Genesis 25:29 -33).
(b) Jacob deceived his father (Genesis 27:18- 29).
Deception is Satan’s work. Satan is called the deceiver of the world (Revelation 12:9).
God detests deceitful (Psalms 5:6).
(c) Jacob lied to his father.
Genesis 25:18-20,24 NIV
18 He went to his father and said, “My father.” “Yes, my son,” he answered. “Who is it?” 19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”20 Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” “The Lord your God gave me success,” he replied.
24 “Are you really my son Esau?” he asked. “I am,” he replied.
Jacob lied to his father multiple times and even took Lord’s name to lie.
Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). When we lie, we co-operate with the kingdom of darkness. God detests lying lips (Proverbs 12:22).
The world says it is okay to lie as long as it is white and does not harm anyone. There is nothing called a white lie in the bible. A lie is a lie and the source of all lie is Satan. When we believe that weakness is okay, we give that weakness permission to stay.
(d) Jacob was impatient.
Jacob should have trusted in God for the fulfilment of a promise. Instead, he was impatient and took matters into his hand. He used trickery and deception to get birthright and his father’s blessings. When things don’t happen as promised by God, we should submit our worries to God and be still before God and wait patiently for Him (Psalms 37:7). God’s timing is always perfect.
13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Jacob is changed after this encounter. In the encounter, there is a death. When we became born-again, we had an encounter with God and our old man died.
Like Jacob, we have received God’s Grace. God clothed us with His son’s righteousness. We can see this picture when Jacob deceives his father Isaac (Genesis 27:1- 29). Jacob is clothed with Esau’s garment. We are clothed with the righteousness of Jesus. Isaac gives Esau’s blessings to Jacob. God gives His son’s blessings to us. The difference is Isaac didn’t want to give Jacob the blessings. God wants to give us His son’s blessings. Also, Esau didn’t want to share his blessings with Jacob. Jesus wants to give us His blessings.
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
After the Bethel encounter, Jacob is taken to the institute of Laban where he is tested and trained. The way Jacob deceived his father, Laban deceives Jacob and make Jacob marry Leah instead of his love Rachel. Jacob endures deception and waits and works patiently for 14 years to get Rachel (Genesis 29). Jacob handles deception and learns patience here.
Similarly, we should undergo training in righteousness. We became as holy as Jesus in the spirit when we became born-again. But our mind is still not renewed. It must be reprogrammed.
Grace not only saves us but trains us to live a godly life.
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
(i) Know the Love - When we love God, we will obey His commandments (John 14:15). We love God when we know and experience God’s love.
(ii) Know the truth - When we know the truth, the truth will set us free (John 8:31-32) and the truth is God’s word (, John 17:17).
Through God’s word: -
# Know the truth about our identity – Know that we are a new creation. Know that we don’t have sin nature. Does a lion eat grass?
# Know what is right and wrong – the world will say Homosexuality is okay, lying is okay, lusting is okay. Let bible be our reference for our right and wrong.
(iii) Acknowledge the truth – If you are not able to overcome any weakness, acknowledge the truth to God. Pour out your heart to Him (Psalms 62:8). Seek God’s help to overcome areas of weakness.
3. Jacob valued birthright.
(a) A New Image.
(c) Blessings (Co-heirs with Jesus).
(d) Co-worker with God in expansion of His kingdom through sharing of Gospel.
(e) Spiritual gifts.
We should value these birthrights. These are gifts from God. How would we feel if our spouse throws our gifts in a dustbin in front of you?
2 Timothy 1:6-7 NIV
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.