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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #959

From Jacob to Israel
Part One

February 20, 2011

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 959 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

-- Brother Phil Enlow: Praise God! I do feel like I have something the Lord’s quickened to me. I don’t anticipate it’ll take the whole time. At least, that’s certainly not what I’m planning. But, let’s just turn if you will to Genesis chapter 32. And I believe there’s some lessons from the way God dealt with Jacob that apply to everyone of us here. And I would say they apply to us this morning, in particular ways. The Lord’s quickened them to me and I see my own need of learning something more about the Lord and how He deals with us, ‘cause we’re inclined to have our own concepts of some of these things and God needs to sharpen our vision and give us a true picture of what our heavenly Father is like.

Just to very briefly kind of go over the background, this is the chapter where Jacob is returning home and he’s getting ready to meet Esau. But just to get the quick background of this is, of course we know God revealed himself to Abraham and then subsequently to Isaac. And, Isaac married Rebecca, but Rebecca was barren and so after a period of years Isaac prayed and God allowed Rebecca to have children, but she felt like something was strange and going on on the inside when she was pregnant with what turned out to be twins. I think she felt them struggling. Of course, it didn’t stop after they came out, did it?

But anyway she went and inquired of the Lord and the Lord revealed that there’s two nations in your womb and…the elder is gonna serve the younger. And when they came out, the first one came out and he was all red and hairy, and the second one came out, he had a hold of the heel of the first one. And so his name became Jacob, one who grasps the heel, one who is basically a trickster, someone who gets ahead by hook and by crook, someone who tries to fight his way through life by whatever means he can muster.

And, we know from stepping back from the whole picture that God had an eternal purpose, didn’t He? He had something that involved the lineage of Abraham and He had a purpose that we ultimately are here celebrating this morning which has come to us through Jesus Christ. This is where all of this was headed.

But here we are in the middle of the story and people who are barely out of heathenism, know a little bit about God, but still are very steeped in a lot of natural ideas and natural ways of doing things. And I see the grace of God, first of all to take what He gets in the way of human beings, and that’s not much when you look in the mirror and you’re honest…and He can make something out of what is really nothing, from eternity’s standpoint.

So here is God bringing…allowing all these events to transpire, and of course you know what happened when Isaac got to the point in his life when he was blind, and it looked like, well, maybe he was gonna die. The fact is he lived decades longer, but none-the-less it looked that way. So he felt like it was time to pass on the paternal blessing.

I would love to understand more about this, but I know there was something real about that in those days. I mean there was a prophetic reality to giving the blessing of a father upon a child. It was something that God backed up. In this case it was the blessing of Abraham that was being passed on. God had revealed Himself not only to Abraham but also to Isaac, hadn’t He? And so he understood…hey, I’m part of a divine plan. God has given me a covenant of blessing. I have the responsibility to pass on that covenant.

But of course he didn’t quite get the picture of what God had in mind, and so in his mind Esau was the firstborn. That’s the natural tendency. Not only that, he had a natural preference for wild game. So all these human ways of thinking and doing came into play, and so he said, Esau, it’s time to pass on the blessing, what I want you to do is go out and hunt some game and prepare it just the way I like it, come in, and I’ll eat it, and I’ll bless you.

So of course, he goes off and does that. But Rebecca overhears all this, and you can explain in any way you will, she had a preference for Jacob. I know she knew something about the prophecy, but she took matters into her own hands and said, we’re gonna fool him. And so she goes out and says…go out and get a couple of kids and I’ll prepare them and even put… this is not those kind of kids.

( laughter ).

This is the kind that has four legs. Anyway…some goats. Anyway, she does that and because Esau was a hairy man, she takes some of the goat skins and covers his arms and his neck, and so forth. It turns out that was a wise precaution, because…

( congregational inaudible ).

Thank you…Isaac was surprised when he came in as quick as he did, and one thing led to another, anyway the blessing, to make a long story short, was in fact passed to Jacob. And then Esau comes in and he realizes he’s been cheated. Actually you can go back before that, you see the time when Esau came in from the field and he was hungry to the point where he thought he was gonna die, and all he could think about was his stomach, and Jacob had a nice pot of beans on. And so he says, give me some of your beans, I’m about to die. And Jacob saw the opportunity and said, all right, sell your birthright.

And we find out how much Esau thought about the birthright. He just had no spiritual understanding of anything. And even though we see some very natural characteristics in these people, we also see the hand of God to bring about what He had purposed.

I’m so thankful that God can do this, because if you look at the life of Jacob, you can see a graphic picture of the reality of the truth that we know that we are but clay in the Potter’s hands. That’s our place. He is the Divine Potter. He has the purpose. He has the knowledge. He has the character to back it up and the love that we’ve been singing about this morning. Thank God! If it weren’t for Him and His love and His purpose, there wouldn’t any of us have any hope today.

And so anyway, obviously that made Esau real happy when these two different times he winds up with the short end of the stick and without the blessing! And so he sets his mind, you know my father’s gonna die, then I’m gonna kill him. That again shows you his character. And so Rebecca sends Jacob away, back to the home country where they had come from to get a wife, and twenty years go by of God just continuing to allow...to deal with Jacob.

Actually He met with him in a very unusual way on the trip. We have the story of a place that became known as Bethel where God gave him a dream, and he saw either a ladder or stairway, the word could be translated either way, but whatever it was, it was a place where people walked up and down between earth and Heaven. He saw angels coming down and going back, and the Lord Himself sitting at the top. He wakes up and he says, man, this is an awesome place. And in his mind that geographical spot was the doorway between earth and heaven…well at least it was that night. Obviously God is not limited to that kind of a doorway. But anyway God began to make himself known to Jacob.

And I see the patience, the love, the mercy of God to simply allow events to play out and reveal Himself, and maneuver them and work to bring about the desired result. I thank God that I see that in my own life. I’ve experienced it. Now I know there’s things God’s still got to work on in me but He’s got the plan and the ability to do everything that needs doing in my life…things that I could never fix, He’s able.

And so, anyway you know the story, that he goes back there and he runs in to his Uncle Laban. And his Uncle Laban has some beautiful daughters. He falls in love with the younger one and so he agrees to work for seven years for her hand, that was gonna be his wages. But his uncle tricks him and says it’s not our custom to do that. He wakes up in the morning and it’s Leah. And so he works another seven years for Rachel. He works another six years after that and the Lord blesses him to wind up very rich in flocks and herds and everything. And he says, all right it’s time to go back.

But always you can see two threads going on. You can see a man who’s got a sense that God has got His hand on my life, but also, I’ve got to manipulate, I’ve got to work, I’ve got to work things out. And so this is where we’re at to the point that the journey home is underway and now he has to face the fact that he’s got to face Esau. It says in the beginning of it, “Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, This is the camp of God! So he named that place Mahanaim.” (NIV). However you pronounce that, I don’t know. You pays you money, you takes your choice with some of these Hebrew words.

( laughter ).

But anyway, even there you see the hand of God continually making Himself known and saying, hey, I’m here--I’m here. I’m with you. I’m the one who sent you. So Jacob, of course, is still pretty naturally concerned about Esau and how Esau is going to react.

And so he sends a message and it’s meant to be very conciliatory. The message is, “Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, menservants and maidservants. Now I am sending this message to my lord…” He calls him my lord. “…That I may find favor in your eyes.”

So he’s just doing everything he knows naturally to do to say, hey, I’m gonna smooth this over, I’ve got to go back and face the music. The guy wanted to kill me, so here’s where I’m at. “When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” Okay!

( laughing ).

Let’s go to Plan B here. Obviously he’s terrified. Again you step back from the scene, and you see God working with a life, making Himself known, teaching him saying, I’m the God who is with you, I can bless you when people are against you, and all these things as a covenant of Abraham I want to make known to you. But yet, He’s allowing him to kind of grow and change, and just experience things.

So I see God as the author of these circumstances. Do you think any of this just happened? Do you think any of these events are things that took God by surprise and He had to go back and refigure anything? No! God took every one of the tangled threads of these lives, all of them, and wove them together to fulfill His will! Thank God, He is a God who can do that, because you and I have got some pretty tangled threads, whether we are ready to admit it or not. You know, we see the tangled threads in other lives but man, do we have them. But oh what a God is revealed in the way he dealt with this man, Jacob!

So anyway, now he says, “In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups.” Now he’s gonna do everything he knows to do, anything that comes to his head he can think of. Divided them into two groups, “…And the flocks and herds and camels as well. He thought, if Esau comes and attacks one group, the group that is left may escape.” So anyway that’s a pretty serious position to find yourself in…saying I may have to sacrifice half my family to allow some of them to live.

“Then Jacob prayed…” So here is where the relationship, the revelation that he had up to this point comes into play. He knows where to go. He knows where to go, doesn’t he? He says, “Then Jacob prayed, O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper.”

I mean he’s starting with the foundation, the right kind of foundation. He’s not coming and saying Lord, I deserve better than I’m getting…saying Lord, I’m doing the best I can. I’m a good guy. You ought to help me. This is somebody who is pointing to one thing and one thing only…God, You promised. God, I recognize that You are a God who does not act based upon some worth You find in us. You act based upon Your own will, and Your covenant, and Your provision, and Your promises. And so Lord, I’m pointing You to Your promises.

Don’t we see the same thing in Jehoshaphat? What did Jehoshaphat do when the great army came against him? He said, oh, God, you gave us this land. You said this, You said that, You said the other, and see what’s happening! They’ve come to cast us out. Oh God, for the sake of Your name and Your promise. But I tell you what, we…you know, we have every right to come to God on exactly the same ground as Jacob did. Jacob recognized that there was a covenant of God that was given to Abraham, but it was not for Abraham alone, but for all of his descendants. So he took his place as one of those descendants, the heir of the promise that God had given to Abraham.

Now how many of you know here that everyone who belongs to Jesus Christ, who’s been called in this hour is a child of Abraham? Who can give me a scripture that…so you’ll know I’m not getting this out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog, ‘course that’s kind of ancient history, isn’t it? You don’t hardly have that anymore, but we all grew up with that. In case you want to know, it was a book about this thick that had everything under the sun you could buy in it. But anyway, who can give me a scripture?

( congregational response ).

Exactly. You know where it’s at? Anybody? That’s the scripture I had in mind exactly. Well, we’ve got the right Book. We’re getting there. It’s Galatians. It’s the last verse of chapter 3. And I’ll back up to verse 26. “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave no free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

God is able and His purpose is to take people from every background, all the ethnic divisions we make in our world mean nothing to Him. We are made one new man in Christ, but then listen to what he says. “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

And you read the rest of chapter 3, in particular, you will see that the covenant of Abraham was actually not just a bunch of laws for them to keep, it was pointing to Christ. It was the coming of Christ and what we’ve been singing about this morning, the love of God that has blotted out our sins by putting them upon Him upon that cross. His blood has covered the sins of every child of Abraham.

We have the right to go to Him this day with our needs and say, oh God, I come to you as a child of Abraham, as one who’s following and put my faith in Jesus Christ. I come to you, Lord, in this hour of whatever the need may be…and it could be a million and one things. We are all individuals. We’re all unique. But the same God that overshadowed Jacob’s life to bring him inexorably to a place that He had ordained for him, is working in our lives, here, this morning. So in your hour of need and in mine, we have the same right to go to God.

Jacob, as I say, did not go to God and say, I’m worthy. In fact, that’s exactly what he says right after…he says, I am unworthy. “I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant.” What a glorious thing that reveals about God, that God was not basing anything upon that. God was basing it upon the purpose to take somebody like Jacob and make out of him what He wanted him to be.

Oh, thank God! That takes the burden off of my shoulders, to try to be, in the energy of myself, what He wants me to be, but instead to cast myself upon Him and say, oh God, my foundation is Your promise, Your love, Your purpose, what Jesus did. That’s all of my hope today! It’s in Him. That levels everybody. That puts us everyone on exactly the same ground. No one can stand and say, I’m more righteous than you. I tell you, that’s the kind of person God can’t help, ‘cause God didn’t come to save the righteous and call the righteous, He came to save sinners.

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! That gives me hope today, doesn’t it you?

( congregational response ).

Thank God! So here’s his prayer…points Him to the heritage. We can point to the same heritage. He points to the promise. We can point to the promises of God that bear on our particular needs and situations and say, God I’m not coming to You because I’ve been good lately, and You…You owe me. You know, we almost say it under our breath, but that kind of the implication…that we think we’re sort of earning our way into some benefit that we get from God. It’s not that at all. Everything God does for us is based upon mercy and grace and love! And…everything He does ought to bring forth just gratitude for His goodness and who He is. Oh thank God!

Just look back and you see, here’s Jacob, that’s still his name at this point. He’s still the same guy he’s always been in many ways, but God has made Himself known and listen to what his testimony is. “I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan…” So he takes off to go see Laban. What’s he got? He’s got a stick to his name. This is not somebody who’s well off, is it? “…But now I have become two groups.”

So he brings the request, “Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid.…” You know we can be honest with the Lord, can’t we? About our needs. We don’t have to pretend that we’re something we’re not. We can be whoever we are, but cast ourselves upon Him in the knowledge of His love and His mercy toward us. Praise God!

There’s so much that people try to be, religiously speaking, and you just don’t find it in here, do you? You find a God of mercy and grace who deals with sinners and deals with honest people. That’s what I want to be. I want to see Him for who He is, and love Him for who He is, and trust Him.

So he says, “…I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. But…” Now here he’s gonna go right…I’m afraid, but…now he goes right back to the foundation. “But you have said, I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.”

Now you could look at every circumstance--we could look at every circumstance of our lives, every area of need, whether it’s a practical need…maybe we just are broke and we need help that way, but maybe there’s some character thing that’s been there all of our lives. But the promise of God is that we will be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. And it’s evident from the verb tense that that’s not something we engineer, it’s something that is done to and in us by divine help and divine strength.

And so when you and I face the depths of need in our own lives, we have the right to go to God and say, God, I am this but You said--You said you were gonna conform me to the image of Your Son. You said You were gonna take all of the things that happen in my life, the good, the bad, the ugly, whatever it is, they’re all gonna work together for good, to me as one that You’ve called, and one that loves You. You’ve promised, Lord. That’s my hope this morning. I’m coming to You because…not because of anything in me, but it’s just what You said, Lord. It’s Your Word.