WRESTLING MATCH AT JABBOK
Intro: This is the second spiritual encounter of Jacob's life. The first was at a place called Bethel, Gen. 28:10-22. At Bethel, he saw a ladder, here, at Jabbok, he saw the Lord. At Bethel, he became a believing man, at Jabbok, he became a broken man. At Bethel, he became a Son of God, at Jabbok, he became a saint of God. At Bethel, he died to his sins, at Jabbok, he died to his self. He left Bethel with a spring in his step, he left Jabbok with a lasting limp, but a forever changed heart.
All men need a Bethel experience, a time when we meet God and receive Him and become His child. Isn't salvation wonderful? However, many never go beyond that! They get saved and that's it, they never produce anything for the Lord. While we must have a Bethel experience if we intend to get to Heaven, we also need a Jabbok experience if we ever hope to be useful to the Lord.
The very thing that happened to Jacob needs to happen to every believer in this building tonight. He spent the night wrestling with the Lord and he was never the same.
I. v.24a JACOB WAS VERY MUCH ALONE
A. Ill. All he had was gone. Family, servants, wealth, livestock. He was all alone.
B. Ill. Many people fear loneliness! People structure their time to be as full as possible. The reason? When we are alone and unoccupied, then we have to come face to face with God, Ill. Judas - Matt. 27:3-4! People fear that! Yet, the thing they fear is the very thing they need most in life.
C. When we are busy, we can occupy the heart and the mind. When we are alone and still, God will speak to our hearts. (Ill. Many sinners tend to occupy their lives with busy work to avoid having to face God.)
D. If the Christian would be strong in the Lord, he needs to find himself alone with the Lord. (Ill. The value of a daily quiet time - Ill Jesus - Matt. 14:23; Luke 6:12) Ill. Never fear being alone with the Lord, He only intends good for you!
II. v.24b-25a JACON WAS VERY MUCH ALIVE
A. Ill. The context. The angel was unable to overcome Jacob. Jacob represents the man of the flesh. He pictures that person who lives carnally. That is that old nature. It is stubborn, unyielding, fighting, self-sufficient. It is everything the saint of God ought not to be!
B. The fact is, many of us are just like Jacob! We fight everything the Lord wants to do in our lives. However, the old nature is not fit to live - Col. 3:5-10; Eph. 4:22-24; ***Gal. 5:19-25***.
C. Ask yourself tonight: "Who is alive, my self, the old man, or Jesus Christ?" Do you constantly find yourself fighting against the Lord? Do you find yourself to be stubborn when it comes to His plan for your life? Who is alive in you; the flesh or the Lord? (Ill. Rom. 6:6-7; Gal. 2:20!)
III. v.25b-32 JACOB WAS VERY MUCH ALTERED
(Ill. This one night in Jacob's life was result of 20 years of patient activity by the Lord. Ill. We have and want instant everything today. Yet, there is one thing for sure, instant holiness is not available to anyone. It is the result of prayer, sacrifice and self-denial. God always takes His time bringing us into spiritual maturity. He never pushes, or over runs us. He gently leads us along and brings us to that place where we can be filled and used for his glory!)
A. v.25b-27 He Was A Broken Man - Notice:
1. He Was Clinging - Ill. No longer fighting, just holding on. If we insist on fighting God, He will eventually bring us to a place where we no longer fight, but we just hold on to Him, Ill. He knows exactly where to touch your life to get your attention, Ill. Absalom and Joab - 2 Sam. 14:28-32. His desire for us is that we cling to Him in utter brokenness and dependence upon his power. (Ill. I can't even walk!)
2. He Was Confessing - The angel wanted to know his name. Jacob is forced to admit just who he is. Ill. Jacob = trickster, supplanter, cheat, one who takes you by the heal. Or, in our terms, One who twists your arm! Jacob
had to come to the place of realizing exactly who he was before the Lord could use him. By the way, God can't use us until we are willing to admit that we are sinful and prone to failure - I John 1:9.
B. v.28-30 He Was A Blessed Man - Ill. The Jacob who had left Canaan was capable of deceiving a brother, of lying to a blind father, of cheating a crooked uncle. But, the man who returns is a man with a new nature. No more Jacob, a "trickster", now he is Israel, a "Prince with God." God's purpose in breaking us is to make us over fresh and new. (Ill. Saul/Paul - He was worthless until
he was broken before the Lord! But, once he was broken, the world was touched for Jesus!) What can He do with you?
C. v.31-32 He Was A Branded Man - Ill. The limp. Everywhere Jacob went after that day, he carried the mark of God upon his body. Ill. When he stood before Pharaoh - Gen. 47:7-10. Every step he took reminded him and everyone around him that he was the Lord's and that the Lord had touched his life. Ill. The believer is no different - Matt. 5:16. We ought to be branded for the Lord! (Ill. Paul - Gal. 6:17!) (Ill. The Law of the Bond slave - Ex. 21:1-6.) Ill. The walk of the believer ought to be different- 2 Cor. 5:17! (Ill. When a man is right with the Lord, he will be out of step with the world!)
Jacob's life was one of contrasts. Before this incident, faulty, substandard living marked him. After this eventful night, spirituality and holiness marked him. If you were honest tonight, which would you say best describes your life? Substandard or spiritual? Perhaps this would be a good time for you to come and have a little talk with Jesus. Lay your life on this altar and present yourself a living sacrifice
Sermon By Alan Carr- Pastor Gilead Baptist Church