Genesis Sermons from Gospel Chapel Ministries HOME SERMONS SERMON NOTES
#380 STRONG IN THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, GENESIS 25
The life of Abraham teaches the electing love of God. The history of Isaac and Israel are symbolic of the work of regeneration. In the deadness of Sarahs womb, we see the symbol of the quickening of the dead through the conception of Isaac.
The barrenness of Rebekahs womb points to the spiritually dead state of the church by nature. We see the similarity between the dead womb of Sarah and the barrenness of Rebekahs womb. Spiritually, the Church of Christ is totally barren outside of the work of grace. In GEN 25:21, we read, "And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived." This is a very beautiful illustration of the Church of Christ.
Notice in our own children, that by nature, there is such spiritual barrenness. By nature, we need the quickening of the Spirit, that conception of the Holy Spirit, the work of regeneration before well see any spiritual life in our children or any of our loved ones. Before there is any work of regeneration in any heart, there needs to be the quickening of the Spirit. We must note how Isaac prayed for his offspring. He entreated the Lord because of the barrenness of his wife, the symbol of the church. The Lord was entreated, and his wife conceived. We have Christ as our intercessor who intercedes for His church. The barrenness of His church is perpetual, but the Lord hears the prayers and intercession of Christ and His people and grants fruit.
This conception symbolizes the quickening of the Holy Spirit in its work of regeneration. Conception is the beginning of a new life. There are many people today who like to speak of a fetus as though a fetus is just a growth in the human body and not a human life. But a conception is the beginning of a life.
It is the quickening of the Holy Spirit that begins the new spiritual life, and that leads to a new birth. When the Holy Spirit makes that spiritual conception in the soul, it leads to the new birth. Many people say they were converted at such and such a time. I like to ask, "When did the Holy Spirit quicken? When did we see the first signs of the work of grace in the heart?" It leads from there to the new birth.
We read how this conception leads to the new birth in GEN 25:22: "And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD." There is a conception, and it is followed by a struggle. A spiritual warfare begins. There is a struggle between the power of the Spirit and the power of sin, which begins in the soul when the Holy Spirit sends His conception or quickening. The work of regeneration has begun.
The internal struggle that begins with conception only intensifies until there is deliverance. When a woman conceives, as that conception matures, it turns into travail. When it becomes true travail, there must be deliverance, or there will be death. It comes to a life and death struggle, and in that struggle, we have birth.
This is true spiritually. When the Holy Spirit begins His work of quickening in the heart, that struggle against the power of sin begins and intensifies until it turns into spiritual travail. It comes to the point that there must be deliverance, and the Lord delivers. When the deliverance comes, the child is born. Theres been a new birth, a deliverance from the power of sin, but even then there is a spiritual warfare throughout the entire Christian life.
Although there is a deliverance and faith, a turning to Christ wherein Christ becomes ours personally and is formed in the soul, that in itself does not bring the struggle to an end. The struggle between the power of sin and the power of grace is a continuous struggle. When there is deliverance, however, the power of sin is broken. Its back has been broken, and the power of grace wins. We no longer serve sin; we come to where we walk in the spirit, no longer under the law of sin. We are delivered from that law.
In GEN 25:22-23, we read, "And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." When deliverance comes and the Holy Spirit sets us free from the power of sin, then the elder must serve the younger. The elder, the one who by nature was in control and the servant (self), shall serve the younger.
We see the beauty of what the Lord is teaching. "Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people." Those who are truly born of the Spirit are two manner of people. That old man of sin has not been slain. It has to be crucified and brought into subjection, but it is still well and alive. The power of sin is broken, however, and now we serve the new man of the heart. The new man of the heart is the one who will have the mastery. The elder must serve the younger. The elder is not slain. We find that in our spiritual life as we experience a constant struggle. It is a continual warfare throughout our entire life. It is the struggle of the elder coming into subjection to the younger.
Scripture clearly teaches that these two people, Jacob and Esau, are types of two totally different classes of people. Not only does it symbolize spiritual warfare, but we want to understand that the Lord says that He hates Esau and loves Jacob. This teaches us that there are indeed two totally separate and different classes of people. Both Jacob and Esau were brought up by the same parents. They were both witnesses of the times of deliverance that God had given Abraham. I am sure we neednt question that Isaac had trained his children well and brought them up in the nurture of the Lord. Both Jacob and Esau had, well say, a Christian upbringing. Theyre both Christians, but they are Christians of two different types. The one has the work of grace in his heart, and the other does not. Now theyre brought up with a Christian upbringing. Theyre both brought up with Christian principles. Theyre both Christians, so to speak, but they are Christians of two different sorts. This is taught very clearly throughout Scripture.
Turn to MAL 1:1-2. "The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us?" The Lord is speaking here to Israel. In their youth, in the house of Isaac, it didnt seem apparent that there was much distinction between Jacob and Esau. Israel asks, "Wherein hast thou loved us?" Therefore, God gives us examples of how He loves His people. He gives us the example wherein He loved Jacob and hated Esau. We read in MAL 1:2-3, "I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau."
We want to analyze wherein the Lord loved Jacob and where it is made manifest. Wherein did the Lord hate Esau and where is it made manifest? We note that Esau is the type and symbol of the old man of sin against which every Christian has to struggle. Every time we talk about Esau, we are talking about that old nature. It is also talking about the professed Christian, those who are like the apostle Paul was before he was converted. The apostle Paul was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel just as Isaac brought up Esau. The apostle Paul had a religion, and in his own mind, he had a good religion. It wasnt until after the Lord converted him that he understood what it meant. He said, "For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died," ROM 7:9. That is what was missing in Esau. Esau was just as religious as Jacob was and maybe more. The difference was the Lord loved Jacob and He hated Esau.
We want to go into the history of Jacob and Esau and see wherein the Lord hated Esau and wherein He loved Jacob. The history of Jacob and Esau teaches Christ's church what Christ loves in His bride, and what He hates in the harlot church. The harlot church makes much profession, but the heart is not the same.
The harlot church is laid waste spiritually. See this in MAL 1:3: "And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness." The Lord allowed every corrupt beast to dwell there. He allowed everything of the old nature to remain in the heart of Esau, but He worked in Jacob the work of grace through sanctification. There is the difference. In His love for Jacob, The Lord worked in him to will and to do according to His good pleasure, Cf. PHI 2:13. In Esau, every unclean thought was permitted to continue to dwell there.
The harlot church builds in its own strength instead of upon the authority of God's Word. Talk to those of the harlot church, and they can tell you what they believe; but how often do they read it to you out of the Word of God. They do not concern themselves with the authority of the Word of God. They have a religion of their own outside of the Bible. Read from MAL 1:4: "Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places [Notice they will build in their own strength.]; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down." They are building, but they are not building on the authority of God. They are not building according to Gods ordained way.
Because they build upon human reasoning instead of upon God's Word, they establish their boundaries with lawlessness. Read in the newspapers how the churches are having meetings, and all of their main bodies are getting together to decide what they are going to do. Are we going to go along with a lesbian preacher? Its on the basis of a majority vote. Its not based on the authority of Gods Word. Its lawlessness. The churches are coming together to decide whether or not they can allow a man to be a member of their church while he stands for sodomy. Wheres the authority? Their boundaries or basis for decision are lawless when it comes to the Word of God.
Note what we read in MAL 1:4: "Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness ["Wickedness" in the original means the boundaries of lawlessness. The boundaries of their decisions are not the law of God.], and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever." What God hates in Esau is that Esau has forsaken the authority of God and has not built upon the foundation of His Word. The boundaries of his governing are not based upon the boundaries of the authority of Gods Word.
God's indignation is upon Esau because he has no reverence for the authority of His Word. He profaned the Word of God by selling his birthright. He profaned Gods authority. He slighted the blessedness of the birthright, which was the thing that would have given him the temporal and spiritual blessings. He slighted it; he profaned it. Read HEB 12:16: "Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright." See how profane this was in the eyes of the Lord because Esau saw no beauty in that birthright which gave him the right to all temporal and spiritual blessings.
In selling his birthright, Esau despised his right to every blessing. In GEN 25:34, we read, "Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright." What the Lord hated in Esau was that his heart was not with the Lord. He despised that which was sacred, and he profaned the Word of God.
We read that Esau had much remorse. What does it mean to repent? You and I can have much remorse and never know repentance. Esau had much remorse because it cost him his right to the temporal blessings, but there is no record that he had remorse over his sin against God or the loss of the spiritual blessings. Notice in HEB 12:17: "For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." For what repentance could Esau find no place? Esau wanted Isaac to repent of having given the blessing to Jacob. There is no indication that he was not able to find place of repentance as far as remorse over his sin. Esau had pleaded with Isaac to reverse the blessing, which he had given to Jacob, and give it back to Esau. In other words, he wanted Isaac to repent. He didnt seek repentance for himself. He was not a person who had remorse over having sinned. He had no remorse over having sold his birthright because he had profaned the Word of God and despised his birthright. That was not his source of sorrow. His source of sorrow was that his brother got the blessing. He was grieving over the consequences of his sin, not over the sin itself. He had no sorrow over having offended God. His sorrow was strictly over the consequences of his sin. It was a legal repentance.
We see this as a type of the harlot church. The harlot church teaches that all you have to do is accept Jesus and youre going to heaven. They dont teach repentance. They dont teach turning from sin and turning back unto the living God. They dont teach remorse over having offended God. We see that is what God hates in Esau.
Esau reflects the old nature of man who is alive without the law as the apostle Paul was before the light sprang into his soul. The apostle Paul was a Pharisee of Pharisees, brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. Paul was a very religious man, but he had a Pharisee religion. He did not know what it was to have a heart religion. He never understood the spirit of the law. As touching the law, he was blameless. That was the Pharisee religion. It was all the letter of the law. But from his heart, he still was a man of iniquity. He still would go out and destroy the church of Christ in his zeal for his religion.
See in PHI 3:5-6 that Paul was "Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." As far as being able to come to the letter of the law, we cant put one finger on Paul. He was blameless. But he never understood the spirit of the law. He never had a change of heart until the light sprang into his soul. Then he had to cry out, "Oh wretched man that I am!" He could no longer stand as such a righteous man before God. That was the problem with Esau. Esau was righteous in himself. He would build, and the Lord would pull down.
The old nature is not motivated by the desire to serve the Lord out of love, but out of pride and lust. Esau symbolizes the old nature within our hearts as well as the nature of those who are the harlot church. That old nature is the elder, which must serve the younger in our heart as we go through this life. Esaus motive was the pride of his heart. He did not serve God out of love, but out of pride and lust. The apostle Paul was serving the Lord, but it was out of haughtiness, pride, and indignation.
The Lord speaks of Esau in OBA 1:3-4: "The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock." When we speak of the clefts of the rock, we are talking about those who claim that they are in the crucifixion of Christ. They are claiming their portion in Christ, but God says, "The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock."
This boast of the natural man who claims to dwell in Christ is a legal religion. The Lord said unto Moses in EXO 33:21-22: "And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock [Where is the distinction? Esau climbed up in his own strength and placed himself in the cleft of the rock. He dwelled in the cleft of the rock. But to Moses, God said, I will put thee in a clift of the rock. One climbs up in his own strength, and the other one is by the grace of God.], and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by."
Of Esau, the Lord said in OBA 1:3-4, "The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?" See the pride and indignation, the self-sufficiency. They dwelt in a high place and said, "Who will bring me down?" Jacob and Moses were in the valley of humiliation, and the Lord picked them up and placed them in the cleft of the rock. The problem with Esau was that he climbed up and dwelled in the cleft of the rocks. He has never known the valley of humiliation. He was never in a place where he was able to receive the grace of God. He said, "Who shall bring me down to the ground?" See the pride of the heart.
The difference between Esau and Moses was that Esau exalted himself. He climbed up in his own strength. Note OBA 1:4: "Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle [It is the eagle who builds its own nest in the cleft of the rock.], and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD." From "thence," the Lord will bring them down because they have never known that valley of humiliation. They have never known remorse over sin. They have never learned to see the sinfulness of sin. There has never been repentance. All they have is a legal religion. They plan to accept Jesus and go to heaven. After that, they might talk a little bit about repentance, as long as it doesnt get controversial. They have ascended; they have exalted themselves as a people. They have never been picked up by the Lord and placed in the cleft of the rock.
The Lord is a searcher of the hearts and a trier of the reins.
See OBA 1:6: "How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up!" The Lord tries the heart; He searches the heart and sees the motive of the heart. How did Esau get up into the cleft of the rock? He ascended himself, as an eagle. The Lord comes to search these things out.
The true church has suffered much more at the hand of the broad road Esau church than from those who make no profession of God. Those who make absolutely no profession of God are not the ones who persecute Jacob. It is Esau because he sees the difference, but he is not willing to make the sacrifice or humble himself. Therefore, the testimony, the salt of the earth, the light of the world becomes a condemnation to Esau because his wickedness reveals itself in what he sees in Jacob.
It was not the heathen that crucified Christ. It was the chief priests and the high priest, the scribes and the Pharisees who sought the crucifixion of Christ. Notice in
LUK 23:4-5: "Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. [It was not those who made no profession of God who sought the life of Christ.] And they [the chief priests and Pharisees, i.e., the unregenerate church leaders] were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place." It was Christs teaching. He taught humility and the work of regeneration. It was the church leaders who could not tolerate this. The true children of God will find their persecution come from the professing church. Those who make no profession of God do not interfere, but the light of the world condemns those who make a profession. That is what Jesus says in JOH 3:19: "And this is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." When we become the light of the world, we reveal their wretchedness, not by saying a word but by what they see. They see Christ formed in you, the Spirit of Christ in you, and that you are the salt of the earth, and it condemns them. They cant come to the light. That is what God hates about Esau.
God told Edom, i.e., Esau, in OBA 1:10, "For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever." It is your brother, Esau, who is going to persecute you. If you want to watch for persecution, dont make yourself so concerned about those who make no profession of religion. They may mock you, sneer at you, and tell you to get out of their company, but they are not the ones who will go for the juggler vein. They are not the ones who will try to destroy you. It is Esau, that professing church. It is the one who wants to have a legal religion and seize upon the death of the Son that the inheritance may be his. Then, they see one who is bearing fruit. It was the husbandman who came to gather the fruit that provoked the others to kill the Son and seize the inheritance. When you start producing fruit, the fruit of repentance, the walk of a Christ-like life, it provokes Esau. "For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever." Remember the workers of iniquity. This is iniquity. Those who hate and come against their brother are workers of iniquity, and they shall be cut off.
The history of Jacob reveals what God loves in the character and strain of Jacob. We have seen what God hates in Esau; now well see what He loves in Jacob. The Lord caused Jacob to walk in the way of brokenness every step of his life. He came through the valley of humiliation every step of his life.
In GEN 32:31-32, we read, "And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank." The sinew that shrank was that muscle of the leg, which brings the leg forward. It shrank so that he was not able to take one step without the help of the Lord. That is what the Lord loved about Jacob. He had worked His grace in Jacob. He had brought Jacob into the valley of humiliation to the point where he needed the Lord. The Lord looked upon His own work in Jacob. It was not because Jacob was building himself upon the high places and in the cleft of the rock. Jacob was broken, his sinew shrank, and he was not able to take one step in his own strength.
Jacob by nature was no better than Esau. The Lord didnt love Jacob because he was better than Esau. The name Jacob means trickster, liar, cheat, or supplanter. See this in GEN 27:36, which is speaking of Esau as he was pleading with Isaac: "And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing." In other words, Jacob was a conniver. He would manipulate. It wasnt that the Lord saw anything in Jacob. The only thing that the Lord saw in Jacob was that He beheld him in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thats what He loved about Jacob. God saw His own work in Jacob and loved His own doing. He saw Jacob a broken man, a wrestler in grace and prayer. What brought Jacob to that point? Gods providence and grace brought Jacob.
After God touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh, He asked Jacob in GEN 32:27: "And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob." Jacob had to come before God and confess what a sinner he was. Jacob was brought to the place, in Gods providence, where he had to confess, "My name is Jacob. Im a trickster, a manipulator, a liar, and a cheat. Im a deceiver." Thats where the Lord brings His true people. He brings them to confess before God who they really are. They are in the valley of humiliation. They are not able to build their nest so high in the rocks. They are not able to lay claim to any of Gods merits. Now, as the Lord said to Moses, "And I will put thee in a clift of the rock." The Lord is glorified in His own work.
Jacob was left alone with God after he had sent all he had over the brook. In GEN 32:22-24, we read, "And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had. And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day." God takes us alone. We like to be where the multitude is. We like to have so many friends, but sometimes the Lord takes us to where we must put our own wife, children, and everything we have on the other side of the brook.
God takes us alone and wrestles with us to reveal the distinction between the Esau Church of self-sufficiency, and Jacobs who halt upon their thigh. When every thing is sent over the brook Jabbok, Christ alone is all that matters anymore. It comes to the point where Christ is all we have left. We cannot put our hand on our wife, our children, our brother, or anyone else for support. The Lord takes us alone, and Christ is all that matters any more. That is the work of Christ, and that is how God distinguishes between Jacob and Esau. Esau builds in his own strength and can climb on his own ability. The Lord says, "You build, and Ill tear down." But Jacob has been broken, and the Lord builds on Christ and Christ alone.
Then we understand what Jacob said in GEN 32:26: "And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." When the Lord brings us into true spiritual travail, we cannot let Him go. We must have deliverance or we die. Jacob was facing Esau now. Esau was coming with 400 men, and Jacob needed deliverance. Jacob saw the just destruction that he had brought upon himself. He had provoked his brother, and he had brought about his brothers just wrath. His brother was coming with 400 men, and all Jacob could plead was for mercy. All he could plead was, "(Lord), I will not let thee go, except thou bless me," GEN 32:26. He could not let go because he was brought to the point from which he had to be delivered.
This is not only Old Testament religion. The same was true in the time of Jesus. We read in MAT 15:24-27, "But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs." That is the way the Lord Jesus was dealing with this woman of Canaan. She was in despair. How did He comfort her? He said, "It is not meet to take the childrens bread, and to cast it to dogs." In other words, "There is no hope for you; I wasnt sent for you." As Jesus wrestled with her, she had to confess her name after Jesus touched the hollow of her thigh. After He told her that the bread was for the children, not for the dogs, she had nothing left upon which to plead. We read in MAT 15:27, "And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." She could come with no merit in herself. She couldnt climb so high on the mountain and build herself in the cleft of the rock. "And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters table." It is like we read in PSA 73:22 of Asaph, who said, "I was as a beast before thee." He came to the point where he confessed he was nothing more than a beast before God. The Canaanite woman was still pleading Gods mercy, "yet the dogs eat of the crumbs." There was no merit in herself, but she was pleading mercy.
As Jacob wrestled, God touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh. We see this in GEN 32:25: "And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him." God wrestles with His dear children to exhaust all their own strength. The Lord will bring us to the point where we are utterly empty and have nothing left to claim but mercy.
A wrestler's strength is not in his arms, his chest, or his shoulders; it's in his thighs. When the Lord touched the hollow of Jacobs thigh and the sinew shrank so he could no longer set one foot ahead of the other, his ability to wrestle was totally over. He had no strength left in himself. No person can be a wrestler without strong thighs.
When "Jacob's thigh was out of joint," he was at the end of his own strength. This is the distinction between Esau and Jacob. This is where God's love for Jacob was revealed. He looked in Jacob, and He saw His own image there. He saw His own work there. He saw a Jacob, a liar, a deceiver, a trickster, who had become a wrestler in prayer. God brought Jacob to that point.
In MAL 1:2, we read, "I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? [Isnt this true in our lives? Sometimes we see some of the struggles we go through in the providence of God, and at times, our heart cries out, Lord, wherein hast thou loved me? How do I see thy love? Isnt that what Asaph said in PSA 73:5. He saw all the prosperity of the wicked while he was going through so many struggles, and he said, (The wicked) are not in trouble as other men. God loves us in that He does not leave us to ourselves to destroy ourselves.] Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob."
How do we see that the Lord loved Jacob? He allowed Esau to go on and build in his own strength and then tore him down. But the Lord brought Jacob into the valley of humiliation and then lifted him up.
The love God had for Jacob was revealed at Peniel when He touched the hollow of his thigh. That is also how the Lord reveals His love to you and me. He touches the hollow of our thigh so that we are no longer able to bring one foot ahead of the other. We must come before the Lord and say, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" We come under the yoke of Christ and service to the Lord.
God left Esau over to wrestle in his own strength. Notice in MAL 1:4J: "Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places [The Lord has brought us down, but in our own strength, well go forward and build again.]; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down." They were building in their own strength. The psalmist said in PSA 127:1, "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."
When every true Jacob finds his thigh out of joint, he learns Jacob's language in GEN 32:26: "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." When you and I understand the language of Jacob, then we understand the love of God and wherein He has loved us. He loves us when He touches the hollow of our thigh so that we are not able to go forward in our own strength. He brings us to the mercy seat, crying for mercy.
God tries our faith as He did Jacob and the woman of Canaan. When Jacob was pleading and wrestling in GEN 32:26, the angel said, "Let me go, for the day breaketh." Jacob replied, "I will not let thee go."
In MAT 15:24-26, Jesus said to the Canaanite woman, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs." Their faith was tried. You and I are going to know what it is to have our faith tried if the Lord truly loves us. This woman would not let go until she was blessed. We read in MAT 15:27, "And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." She could not let go, any more than Jacob could, until the Lord had blessed her.
This lesson is not a one-time experience. We learn this over and over. GEN 32:31-32 reads, "And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh." His thigh was not only out of joint as he wrestled, but it was a shrunken sinew, and it never recovered. For the rest of his life, every time Jacob set his foot forward, he had to halt and bring his other foot forward. In other words, every time our foot goes forward, we must come to a stop and realize that it is God who brings the other foot forward. We have to realize that we are dependent upon the Lord. Jacob's strength in himself was never regained. He was broken and halted upon that thigh every step he took the rest of his life.
Jacob's religion was the apostle Paul's religion. See the harmony between Old Testament and New Testament religion. We see the same thing in the words of Paul in 2CO 12:9-10: "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." We will never know the power of Gods grace until we know what it is to become empty in ourselves. The apostle Paul was not only brought up at the feet of Gamaliel and a Pharisee of Pharisees, not only was on the way and had the light shine in his soul, becoming a needy soul, but Paul had also been exalted to the third heaven. The Lord had brought him to see and to hear things that were not to be spoken. The apostle had had great experiences, but he did not build on his experiences. These experiences are very precious, and we dont slight the precious experiences of Gods grace, but the apostle Paul was teaching us here that we cannot build on those. They are not the basis or foundation of our salvation.
Paul had to come back to the same position as that of Jacob and realize that all of his experiences merit nothing. All of his experiences were not the foundation for salvation. He had to experience, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities [in his weakness, in the need for God to help him each step of the way], that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [Salvation is in Christ, not in our experiences.] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
When I am weak and feel my need of Gods grace and strength, then I am strong because now I am strong in the Lord. Im not strong on the basis of my experiences or anything that is mine. I have only one place where I have strength, and that is in Christ. When the Lord allows me to see my weakness, I take pleasure in that. I am not an Esau that can build on his own strength. I need Gods help every day of my life. "For when I am weak, then am I strong."
In ROM 5:6, we read, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." Do we understand where Jacob was when he had to say, "My name is Jacob"? It was for the ungodly that there was strength. Broken human strength is needed before you and I will ever become strong in the Lord. We will never understand true strength until our strength is broken.
We read in LUK 1:49-51, "For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts." God says about Edom, "He will build, and I will tear down" because he was building in his own strength. God say "He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts."
Therefore Paul admonishes us in 2TI 2:1 to be strong in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ: "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." Grace is that precious influence of the Holy Spirit upon the heart of man, which brings about the total change in our lives and brings us into the new man that is seen by the whole world. No one sees it more clearly than the Esau Church.
"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus," that blessed influence that comes through the Sprit of Christ instilled in the heart-the spirit of love, self-sacrifice, and submission that we get as Christ is formed in us. We become strong in the grace there is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion. For a list of sermons on cassette please visit our on-line tape catalog. See also, our sermon notes.