Genesis Sermons from Gospel Chapel Ministries HOME SERMONS SERMON NOTES
#402 LORD, THOUS SAIDST GENESIS 32:1-12
As we have considered before, the life of Jacob is a most beautiful illustration of Gods work of grace in the heart of a believer. If you read the history of Jacob, there are so many mysteries as to why and wherefore the Lord allowed or disallowed this and that. The Lord had called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees. Abraham had forbidden Isaac to return to find a wife. Why did Isaac allow Jacob to return? Why did he direct him to return? These riddles are hard to understand.
There are so many riddles in the heart of a child of God that we just cannot understand why the Lord brings this or that into our lives. What brought us to this hour? Why are there so many riddles in our hearts today? It is because God, in His divine providence, has allowed, directed, and brought about the events that brought us to this hour. We must understand that the Lord has His purpose in all these things, because at the conclusion of our lives journey, He brings about His eternal purpose.
As Jacob fled from his brother, we do not read that there was any inquiry by either of his parents or himself before the Lord. There was not even so much as a prayer offered for direction or wisdom to know the will of God in sending Jacob to Laban. In Gods providence, He had allowed circumstances in which human reasoning would say it was the only thing to do. Sometimes, what human reasoning says is the only thing to do brings the misery, grief, and riddles in our lives. Many times, it is because we have not returned unto the Lord and sought His direction before we acted. Then we come into these circumstances and want the Lords help. This is where Jacob was.
In GEN 28:10, we read, "And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran." His father and mother sent him. To leave the place of rest and go to the place of jealousy, bitterness, hatred, and confusion seemed the only thing to do
I have found it so blessedly remarkable how the Lord's eternal purpose was not affected by Jacob's sin or his foolishness. Neither was Jacob's sin brought to remembrance at this point. In Gods way of leading His dear family, He allows us to bring ourselves into circumstances that will bring us to the end of ourselves. Those circumstances will bring us to inquire, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" In the way of Gods providence, our conscience starts speaking and tells us what it was that brought us to this point.
The Lord did not reprove Jacob for his sin against his brother. The Lord allowed him to go and serve Laban for twenty years to learn the bitterness of being deceived. Even at this point, however, Jacob never made the connection that it was in Gods providence that Jacob was allowed to be deceived in order that he would come to understand the sinfulness of his own sin.
When Jacob left, the Lord met him at Bethel as we see in GEN 28:11-12, "And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it." The Lord gave him a revelation of the blessedness that there is in Christ. The ladder came down to the very place where he lay. You and I dont have to go here or there or move to a different location or a certain church to find Christ. When the Lord brings Christ in our life, He brings Him where we are.
We see that there wasnt one word of rebuke or reproof to Jacob at Bethel. He was given nothing but promises, but hes on his way to Haran. Even though the Lord gave Jacob twenty years to learn to understand the bitterness of deceit, Jacob did not make the connection between his sin and God's providence. He finally made the connection when his sons came and told him that Joseph was yet alive. After he had suffered the deceit of his own children during the twenty years that they had allowed him to believe that Joseph had been slain, they came to tell him that Joseph was still alive. Jacob could see that they had deceived him with their brothers coat and the blood of a kid (goat) as he had deceived his father. Jacob made the final and complete connection. He fully understood, but it took a complete lifetime of walking in the schools of Christ, learning to understand the sinfulness of his own sin.
2SA 3:39b tells us, "...the LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness." That is powerful. The Lord will have someone commit against us the very sin that we have sinned against our neighbor. If we have done it to our father, it will be our children that do it to us. Those seeds of corruption in our heart come back to us through our children. If you and I have deserted our father, were going to learn what it is to have our children desert us.
When Jacob was confronted by Laban, we find that he was well able to see Laban's sin. Have you ever noticed that in your own heart? How easy it is for you and I to see our brothers sin. But there is nothing recorded to reveal that Jacob had made any confession of his deceit against his brother. There is nothing recorded during Jacobs conversation with Laban that would indicate Jacob was learning to see the connection of Gods providence in bringing him to see the sinfulness of deceit.
Jacob can well identify Labans sin. In GEN 31:36-42, we read, "And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin [He didnt see his sin. He didnt see the connection between what the Lord was leading him through and the sin of his own heart against his brother.], that thou hast so hotly pursued after me? Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both.
This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. [Jacob sees that during these twenty years, Laban has deceived him and taken advantage of him, but he doesnt see it as the reward of his own sin. Thats the missing link. He has not yet seen that in Gods providence, God has brought this about.] That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. [He could so well see the deceit of Laban against him. He never understood the sinfulness of his deceit against his father and the lies to his father, and how the Lord was rewarding him according to his doing.] Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight."
Jacob was right. What he said was true. What he didnt say was the rest of the truth. When you stand before the court, you have to raise your right hand and say, "I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." When we tell the whole truth, it makes the first half of it look different. If Jacob had confessed to Laban and said, "I believe the Lord is dealing with me according to my sin," his words wouldnt have been so sharp against Laban.
The Lord had rebuked Laban and did not allow him to harm Jacob, but there is nothing recorded to indicate that the Lord rebuked Jacob for his deceit against his brother Esau. We read in GEN 32:1-2, "And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him." Just because we are enjoying the Lords nearness, His Presence, and His love does not mean that He is not dealing with us for some sin.
I had a dear brother tell me, "Ive been experiencing so much of Gods nearness and His love. How could it be that the Lord was dealing with me for a sin." I responded, "Read the history of Jacob." The Lord was meeting Jacob with a company of angels.
As Jacob began to return unto Bethel, i.e. where he had vowed, "...then shall the LORD be my God," GEN 28:21, we find a beautiful parallel with the returning prodigal in LUK 15:20: "And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." When we start returning to the Lord, and our heart is turned back to Bethel, the place where the Lord will be our God and we will serve Him and not the things of the flesh and the world, the Lord meets us. He showers us with His love.
"Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him." The father of the prodigal son ran to meet and embrace him, not while he was feeding the swine and eating the husks, but when the prodigal was returning back into the service of his father. Jacob was coming back into the service of his heavenly Father, and the Lord will be his God, and the angels of God met him.
This is what seems to be the meaning of the Spirit in this word met in GEN 32:1b-2 "...and the angels of God met him." It doesnt say that they appeared unto him. It says they met him. As the father went out to meet his son, the angels of God went to meet and embrace Jacob to welcome him home.
These angels came to greet the Father's returning prodigal. Jacob was returning as the prodigal to Bethel to serve the living God. Hes returning to Bethel from the land of idols, confusion, bitterness, hatred, and strife. Jacob was not only returning to his father's house from a place of exile, but he was returning to Bethel where the Lord would be his God. Thats what the Lord wants from you and me. He wants our hearts to return to Him, to serve Him as our God.
GEN 32:1-2 tell us, "And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim."
Jacob called them "Gods host," i.e. Gods army. He saw them not only as angels greeting him in his return, but he also saw them as guardian angels. He had just escaped from Laban, and Laban had just told him, "I could have done you hurt," Cf. GEN 31:29, but the Lord stopped him.
Jacob had just escaped a company who would have done him much harm if the Lord had not intervened, but now, Jacob's conscience was clearly causing him great concern! He was on his way home, and he must face the problem he had when he left home. The Lord has not rebuked him. The Lord has not in any way called his sin to account, but his conscience is speaking.
Notice GEN 32:3: "And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom." God had not come to Jacob and pronounced condemnation and judgment upon him for his sin, but in Gods providence, Jacob in returning to Bethel must face his brother, Esau. His conscience tells him that he has a brother whom he has offended and with whom, he has not yet reconciled. His sin becomes an obstacle in coming back to the service of the Lord. His sin must be dealt with before he can return to Bethel and serve the Lord. He must face up to it. The sin that lies between our brother and us must be removed. It has to be reconciled. We cannot go on in separation and allow a sin to remain unconfessed and unrepented.
The very first thing Jacob thought about when he saw this host of angels was his brother Esau. Even though there is nothing recorded that indicates the Lord had rebuked Jacob for his deceit, yet in God's providence, Jacob was being brought face to face with his brother. His conscience tells him that he has a problem.
The word host teaches us that Jacob saw these angels as guardian angels. There is a lot of difference between the Lord promising you and me that He will guard us and spare us from destruction by an enemy and having to face up to a guilty conscience. PSA 34:7 tells us, "The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." We know that Jacob was looking at this host of angels as guardian angels. From the name that Jacob gave them, it is clear that these angels divided into two companies. The name Mahanaim signifies two hosts. There were two companies of angels. This is significant.
Jacob had just escaped what he had feared from Laban by God's intervention. Gods guardian angel had just given him deliverance. We see in GEN 31:29-31, "It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt [Laban is saying that he had a much greater force than Jacob had and that he could subdue Jacob.]: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me." Jacob was afraid of Laban, and the Lord, with His guardian angel, protected Jacob.
Jacob's fear of his brother was not unfounded. Jacob saw the host of angels, one before and one behind. He knows that he has just had a calamity from which the Lord protected him. But he also has a horrible fear of his brother Esau, and that is a danger that is yet ahead of him.
We see why Jacobs fear was not unfounded in GEN 27:42-44. "And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.
Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away." Thats good advice, isnt it? What a way to reconcile! Run away from your sins! Spend twenty years wallowing in your own misery and reaping the harvest of your own sin.
The Lord had not seen iniquity in Jacob from the standpoint of condemning Jacob. The Lord had forgiven all his sins, but Jacob still has to face his sin. The Lord is bringing Jacob to a point where he has no escape, but He shows Jacob the two companies of angels. The Lord is going to preserve his life.
Jacobs mother had said, "Tarry with him a few days, until thy brothers fury turn away." A few days turned into twenty years. Does he know that his brothers fury has turned away? How could he know? Jacob may have assumed that he had tarried long enough that his brother's fury had turned away, because the Lord had said, "...Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee," GEN 31:3. God has promised to be with him. But see what we read in PRO 18:14: "The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?" Who can bear a wounded conscience? Jacob had no real reason to be concerned of the danger of his brothers fury. God had told him to return to the land of his fathers and kindred, and that God would be with him. But his problem lay in the wounded spirit of which we read in PRO 18:14. He had a conscience that was a gnawing worm. His conscience was grieving him over his sin. In all that we read about Jacob up to this point, we have nothing to show that he was really confronted with the sinfulness of his sin.
Jacob's conscience told him that Esau's threat was still all too genuine. He understood he deserved to die even though the name Mahanaim indicated the guardian angels of the Lord were both a pillar of cloud that went before and a pillar of fire to protect him from behind. He saw the companies of angels, and he had the Word of God telling him the angels were going before and behind him, but he had a gnawing conscience that told him he deserved to die. The Lord does not allow us to sin cheaply. If we are one of the Lords loved ones, then He will bring us to account so that there will be true remorse and repentance and returning to the Lord.
Jacob was clearly apprehensive of the consequences of meeting Esau again despite the companies of angels and the promises of God. Jacob realized that meeting Esau was a very, very delicate matter. Jacobs message to Esau, found in GEN 32:4-5, was clearly to appease Esaus anger. "And he commanded them (messengers), saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now: And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight."
The statement, "that I may find grace in thy sight," has no reference to the stolen blessing of Isaac. He makes no reference to that. Hes saying, "that I may find grace in thy sight," We find no reference to GEN 27:29: "Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee."
In his attempt to pacify his brother's wrath, Jacob refers to Esau as "my lord" and takes the position of servant. There is no reference to the fact that the descendants of Esau are going to bow down to Jacob. A little humility is starting to take place in Jacobs heart. If the Lord was willing bring about that blessing about, Jacob was willing to let the Lord do it; Jacob was not about to claim it as a right. Jacob did not have that spirit at the time that Isaac was giving the blessing, nor was he willing to await the Lords time to convey the blessing. The Lord was able to restrain Isaac from giving Esau a blessing that was not his to receive.
Also take note that Jacob makes no reference to the reason he fled. All reference to his deceit is carefully avoided. The message that he sent to Esau has nothing to do with how Jacob had deceived him. He said in the message, "Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned [not found refuge, fleeing from your just wrath] with Laban, and stayed there until now," verse 4.
Jacob was trying to keep Esau from remembering the reason Jacob went to Laban.
Jacob wanted Esau to understand that he was not coming to lay any claim to his father's inheritance. How tactfully he avoided and almost nullified the stolen blessing! He makes no reference to any claim to his fathers inheritance; he had plenty of this world's goods. We read in GEN 32:5, "And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight." He wanted Esau to know that he was not coming to claim any of the blessing of Isaac. He let Esau know he had a sufficiency. He didnt need the inheritance of his father. He didnt need Esau to bow to him. He said, "my lord Esau" and "thy servant Jacob."
God's eternal decrees will not be altered by our sin, but God will bring repentance by His providence. The Lord will put us in a place which will bring about repentance. GEN 32:6 tells us, "And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him." This report gives no indication that Esau's attitude toward Jacob was hostile or that Esau was coming for any reason but to greet and welcome his brother as the company of angels had done, but a guilty conscience needs no other accuser.
GEN 32:7-8 reveals, "Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands; And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape." Jacob immediately began to prepare for a hostile meeting with Esau even though nothing said that Esau was coming with a hostile attitude. The Lord had said, "Ill go before you, and Ill be with you." Jacob had nothing to fear except a gnawing conscience.
The Lord brings us into the court of conscience before His bar of judgment, and He wants reconciliation. Our conscience tells us that we are rightly condemned. In the court of conscience, we become guilty before God and stand before his bar of judgment. That is where we must receive acquittal. We have been acquitted if we are Gods dear ones, as Jacob was. Jacob had received confirmation that he was loved by the Father from all eternity, that he was Gods dear son. From the standpoint of the relationship between God and Jacob, the reconciliation was in place. Christs sacrifice was already there to reconcile from Gods side, but there still must be reconciliation from mans side. He needs justification. That deliverance must be applied in the court of conscience before he can have peace with God.
This is where Jacob was. He had already met the company of angels and had received many of Gods promises. He is returning to Bethel upon Gods command. Yet, in the court of conscience, he still had to make peace. There has to be peace so that he can return to his kindred and the house of his fathers.
Jacob could have found refuge in the two companies of angels for safety from Esau, but a guilty conscience can only be stilled by Jehovah Himself. It is only when the Lord God Almighty comes and speaks peace to the heart that a guilty conscience can be put to rest. Jacob has already been promised safety. There are two companies of angels, one before them and one coming after them. Jacob had the guardian angels of God, but his conscience tells him he cant meet Esau. He needs to have his conscience stilled by Jehovah Himself.
The blessedness to which only God's dear children can relate is that they become strong when they are weak in themselves. As God comes with His grace in our hearts and works in us "to will and to do of his good pleasure," PHI 2:13, we come to the point where our strength is not in self. Our strength has to be in God and God alone. We read in ISA 40:29-31, "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall [There is nothing in the strength of a man that can maintain that strength.]: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Jacob must come to the end of himself. Even with all the promises and all the things which God had spoken to Jacob, the covenant promises of Abraham which were his, the ladder descending from heaven which showed him Christ was his, Jacob still needed to have his conscience clear before God.
There is so much in Jacob's first recorded prayer. We find nothing of Jacobs prayers until we get to this point. First, Jacob approached God on a covenant relationship, pleading His promises. We see Jacobs life as an illustration of the work of grace in our heart. If you and I want to have effective prayer, the first place to approach God is on a covenant relationship, pleading His promises. GEN 32:9 states, "And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee." The covenant that God made with Abraham and revealed to Jacob at Bethel, along with all its promises, was Jacobs. Jacob came to plead that relationship. Jacobs first pleading ground was not his innocence, not any worthiness, or any right or title that Jacob could claim on his own, but only that covenant relationship between him and his God. He could only come before his God and plead, "(Thou) saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee." Hes pleading the promises of a covenant God.
You and I must come before God, not as the God of our father or our mother, but we have to come in that covenant relationship that there is in the covenant of grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have to come in the name of His only begotten Son. There is only one access that you and I ever have before the throne of God, and that is to come pleading the precious atonement of His Son. There is nothing of any merit in us. There is nothing that we have earned or deserve.
We read in 1JO 3:23, "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." This is the commandment of the Father. Are you going to say you believe on the name of His Son? We believe in that authority.
I was in Washington, D. C., a few years ago, and I went to the capitol and talked to one of the guards. Congress was not in session. I said to the guard, "Id like to sit in the chair of the Speaker of the House."
He replied, "And I know what youd like too. Youd like to be carried out of here with four men, one on each limb, whod carry you right to jail. Theres nobody who goes to sit in the seat of the Speaker of the House. Thats forbidden ground."
After wed visited about two minutes, he asked me why I was there. I told him the name of the man with whom I had an appointment at 2:00. As soon as I mentioned the mans name, things started changing. Ten minutes later, I was sitting in the seat of the Speaker of the House. Do you know why? The man whose name I cited was a very personal friend of the President of the United States. Not only that, but he happened to be the very man who was in full charge of all the guards. All of a sudden, the authority of the man with whom I had an appointment made me a candidate to do what nobody else had a right to do.
We come before the Father in the name of His Son. When we name the name of Jesus, were naming a position of authority. All authority has been given unto the Son, and we come in under the authority of the Fathers beloved Son. It is naming that name that makes us worthy. I wasnt worthy to sit in that mans chair, but by naming the name of the man in authority, I was put in a position to sit there. Thats the way it is when we come before the Father. We must plead that covenant relationship. It is the authority of that name that makes us worthy to come before His throne and be heard.
Secondly, Jacob cast all his hope of deliverance upon the sure Word of Jehovah. Thats the second principle we see taught in his first recorded prayer. It was upon the sure Word of Jehovah that Jacob came, pleading His promise. He humbly remembered how He had said, "...Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee," GEN 32:9. He came before the Father on the basis of a covenant relationship, which God had promised him that he had through Abraham. Pleading that covenant relationship, Jacob was saying that he was in obedience to Gods command in which He told Jacob, "Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred [that Promised Land], and I will deal well with thee." Hes pleading the sure Word of Jehovah. There is such power in prayer when we come before the Lord and plead that covenant relationship that we have with His Son, Jesus Christ, and we come in the authority of that name. Then we come and plead His promises.
The most powerful prayer we can offer before our God is to call Him on His Word. The Lord is jealous of His Word. Take note of PSA 138:2: "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." God has given Jesus "a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth," PHI 2:9-10. Every creature shall stand in holy awe and reverence of the name of Jesus. "Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." We must stand in awe and reverence of the Word of God. We come to plead His Word in the name of His Son. We call God on His Word. How could His Word falter?
See what David said in 2SA 7:25: "And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said." What power there is in such a prayer! Gods Word has been spoken, and now, "do as thou hast said." This is what Jacob was saying to the Lord, "Thou hath said you would deal well with me. Now do as thou hast said."
Thirdly, Jacob took a low place before the Lord; he laid no claim upon his own merits. We read in GEN 32:10, "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands." Jacob could not come presumptuously before the Lord and claim the Lord owed him anything. Now is the first time recorded in the Word of God that Jacob started to own his sin before God. The Lord hadnt rebuked Jacob for his sin. The Lord, in His providence, allowed Jacob to face his sin. He became guilty before God. Jacob had nothing to offer God. Everything he was and everything he had was all of God. Jacob is becoming a humble supplicant before the throne of grace because he was brought to face his sin. It doesnt matter how richly God has blessed us. Until we are truly brought to face our sin, we will never truly have our heart in the right place before God and come before Him unworthy. Jacob said, "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth," i.e. all that God had spoken to him.
It is proportionately as we see our unworthiness that we can begin to understand what it is to believe upon that blessed name of the Son of God. Until you and I start to understand our unworthiness, well never fully understand what it is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Believing upon the Lord Jesus Christ is to stand in holy awe and reverence of the authority of His Word. You will never understand that until you have been brought to face God in the court of conscience. We may have some idea of it. We may have even had some lessons to learn, but when the day comes for us, like it did for Jacob when all of a sudden, he was facing death as the just reward of his sin, then well understand the blessed name of the Son.
We will understand what the prophet Isaiah was saying in ISA 6:5 when he received a faith's view of Christ: "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." His eyes had seen the kingly authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. The book of Isaiah is the most beautiful, prophetic revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. In ISA 53, he sees and prophesies of the crucifixion of Christ and how by Jesus stripes, we are healed. When Isaiah saw that, what was his reaction? "Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."
Jacob was being brought before his God. He had death before his eyes, and he realized he had to face his God. "Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel," AMO 4:12.
Fourth in Jacobs prayer, we see Jacob's pleading ground was based upon God's honor and not sympathy for the flesh. If you take verse 11 out of context, it would appear Jacob was pleading for sympathy in the flesh. GEN 32:11 states, "Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children." It would seem as if he were pleading on the basis of a terrible slaughter. That would be enough to make us fear. But that was not Jacobs pleading ground. He was not pleading out of sympathy for the flesh. The foundation of true, godly prayer is based upon Gods honour.
Jacob's strongest plea was how could Jehovah's promise be made good if his wives and all his children were slain? GEN 32:12 reads, "And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude." Jacob is calling God on His Word. It is for Gods honour, for His names sake. Jacob is laying before the Lord the honour of His Word. Hes not pleading, "Save my children; I dont want my children to die," or "Save my wives; I dont want them to die," or "Save me; I dont want to die." No, Hes pleading the honour of God and His Word, "And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude." How could this multitude arise from the loins of Jacob if Jacob and his seed were slain by his relative? The whole thrust of his prayer is the honour of Gods name, the covenant relationship, and the authority of that blessed Word of God. That is what he is now pleading.
Why are we so anxious to see our loved ones saved? Have you never had pangs in your heart at night as you lay on your pillow, and sleep has fled? You plead for your children, but on what basis? Is it selfishness? Is it because we dont want our children to receive what they justly deserve? Maybe thats why the Lord has not heard our prayer. We should plead on the basis that they might spend eternity praising His name, that His name might be glorified in their salvation. Sometimes its because they are so intimately tied to us by our blood relationship. They are our children, and the thought of seeing them destroyed would pain our hearts. That would be receiving the just reward of their sin. Our basis for successful prayer is that the Lords name might be glorified in their salvation, that it might be for His honour and glory.
In our prayer life as well as anywhere else, the command is all the same as we read in 1CO 10:31: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." The Lords name must be glorified. We learn from Jacobs prayer how the Lord glorifies His name.
May the divine influence of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts purge us from all selfishness and purify our motives in prayer. May we learn to pray from the heart that which was the first recorded prayer of the great apostle Paul in ACT 9:6: "And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"
Our blessed Saviour taught the essential elements of prayer in LUK 18:1-14. We read in LUK 18:1, "And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint." Jesus spoke of the need for importunity, the emptiness of the Pharisee's prayer, and the humble publican's prayer. LUK 18:13 tells us, "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."
Jesus summarizes with the main effective ingredient that we have seen in Jacob's prayer. LUK 18:14 reads, "I tell you, this man (the publican) went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." 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.