Muskoka Bible Centre is hosting a Men’s Breakaway conference in Ontario. Paul Carter, an Executive Council member of TGC Canada and the Lead Pastor of First Baptist Orillia, is one of the two speakers this weekend. I’ll be live blogging the sessions (or at least many of them!).
~ 8:43 Paul opens his message by telling the story of Jacob and Esau. After Esau trades his birthright for a meal, Jacob flees to live with Laban. Laban is perhaps the only person in the Bible who is more deceitful than Jacob. A divine retribution? The con-man Jacob is deceived by a greater con-man, Laban.
But one day Jacob has to return home to Isaac to face his older brother, Esau.
8:46 Jacob plans to avoid a fight with Esau. So he makes plan, organizing his family and gifts and goods. Jacob is at the Jabbok river, a play on words, since Hebrew uses a word-play: Jabbok sounds like “fight.”
8:50 Genesis 32:22-32 is the main text. Reflections: “God is not always worried about your safety.” God’s plans may send you headlong into trouble. “But the good news is that God will go with you every step of the way.”
8:52 The passages makes you think that Jacob is going to fight Esau (the word Jabbok in v. 22 sounds like the Hebrew word for fight), but God grabs him and says your fight is with me.
8:53 Jacob was in conflict with God. Behind Esau, behind the uncle is God. God treats us sharply to sanctify us. Job illustrates this.
8:55 They didn’t have the prosperity gospel in that age. They had Deut 32:39: “‘See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” Paul C: “Nothing comes into your life apart from the sovereign ordination of God.” God is saying that you are dealing with me.
8:58 This is not some Old Testament thing that differs from the New Testament (Heb 12).
8:59 “God knows how much we can handle.” God could have immobilized Jacob at any time. He only has to touch Jacob to dislocate his hip. But God fights at equal strength. He knows when to stop. God, as Father struggles with his son, Jacob and stops when he needs to. 1 Cor 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” God doesn’t give us a temptation that we cannot beat.
9:01 God always measures the struggle and grace, always giving more grace. God is with you in the struggle, and against you in it. God is sovereign over it. He wants to save and sanctify you through the struggle.
9:04 Esau is portrayed in the Bible as a faithless person, while Jacob is portrayed as being in the grip of God.
9:06 Men by nature are not interested in spiritual things. Spiritual interest is a gift of God.
9:06 The passage teaches us that men are saved instantly, progressively, and painfully. When was Jacob saved? The womb (Rom 9 “Jacob I have loved; Esau I have hated”)? There is a sense in which this is true. But Jacob was also, in another sense, saved painfully and progressively over time. He doesn’t look very saved when he cheats his brother out of his birthright, lie to his blind father, or deal with Laban. But slowly he begins to change. The climax is Jacob’s fight with God. This is Jacob’s “conversation” moment (Gen 32:28): “Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob [a name meaning deceiver], but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.””
Jacob won his blessing at this climactic moment, receiving a new name and a new nature.
9:10 Think of Paul’s Damascus conversation, a crisis conversion. He encounters Jesus and is a changed man. He goes to kill Christians, arrives as a Christian. Yet he knows about progress 2 Cor 3:18: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
Salvation is instant and progressive.
9:11 We also learn that saved people walk with a limp (Gen 32:32). Believers walk with a limp, a change. Believers are humbled: “blessed are the humble” (Matt 5:3). Heaven will have no men who are proud, only limpers.
9:13 We also learn that a saved man wants to live in peace with his brother. Jacob makes amends with Esau, giving gifts to Esau. He sees Esau through God’s face: “Jacob said, “No, please, if I have found favor in your sight, then accept my present from my hand. For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me” (Gen 33:10).
Believers see brothers as friends not enemies.
9:16 The passages challenges us to see and embrace challenge. Paul had a thorn in his side lest he become conceited. God nailed Paul’s feet to the floor a little bit. “Paul embraced it as God’s will for his growth and sanctification.” Pray for healing, but realize God may provide struggles for your good.
9:19 Paul tells the story of wealthy successful person, an Esau. Paul prayed and wrote a letter to this person, saying that he asked God to take away everything in his life that prevents him loving God.
Our challenge may be that we need to forget about our problems and realize that God is in it. God is with you, and against you. He is in it to fight you, break you and heal you. This is the God of Jacob.