About Us - Publications - Broadcasts - Audio & Video - Contact Us - Home

- Broadcasts -

Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #960

From Jacob to Israel

February 27, 2011

Return to Transcripts

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 960 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

--Brother Phil Enlow: 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…” (NIV). 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.

Man, we need to have a handle on this. We need to not only know it intellectually, we need to have it as a sense of God’s love letter, God’s promise to us as individuals in the day-to-day needs of our lives. Man, it’s not just about getting through this world, but it’s getting there and being ready to live with Him. I can’t engineer that, can you? I can’t do that, but I know Somebody who can. I know Somebody who has promised that He is able to save completely those who come to Him by Jesus Christ. Praise God!

So Jacob’s doing the right stuff here. But you see the hand of God who has been so patiently waiting. I don’t remember how old, if it even says, that Jacob was prior to all this. He was obviously at least a young adult. I guess you could almost put the chronologies together, and Esau would have been about 40 when all this took place with his father, I think. I guess they would have both been 40, wouldn’t they? They were twins. Duh!

( laughter ).

I’ll wake up one of these days. He was about half a second behind with his hand on the heel. But anyway, so, it sounds to me like he’s got to be about 60 years old here, just roughly guessing. This is a God who has made a prophecy and has a purpose regarding this young man or this man…getting not so young. And now He has worked with him, and revealed Himself, and allowed him to grow and develop for 60 years to bring him to this point in his life! Thank God for God’s mercy and patience with us.

But you see sort of what it takes, don’t you? I think I referred recently, just in passing, to the illustration that God uses in the book of James about being patient to the coming of Christ, and the illustration of the farmer who understands the process of planting a crop and allowing it to mature. He doesn’t sit here and expect the crop to be mature now. He allows things to transpire and to unfold under the hand of God. And I thank God that that’s the way it is with His own.

So anyway, he looks to the promise, and he spent the night there, and from what he had with him, he selected a gift. So now he’s gonna engineer something else. He puts together a whole bunch of little flocks of this, and flocks of that, and flocks of that, and herds of this, and herds of that, and he deliberately sets them out one behind the other so they’d all get there at once. He wants Esau to have one gift and then absorb that, and then here comes another one, and then here comes another one.

And you see the attempt to have an accumulative affect. You see the spirit of Jacob in him…the natural tendency? Man, I’m gonna work it out. I’m gonna scheme. I’m gonna make happen what I want to happen. Well anyway, he does all that.

And, basically in verse 21, “So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp. That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons…” Benjamin wasn’t born yet. “…And crossed the ford of the Jabbock.” Now the Jabbock, of course, would have been a small river of some kind, and this would have been a place you could wade. This was a typical place you’d cross that particular river. And so they’re across the river now. “So Jacob was left alone.”

And, the scripture does not explain all of what happened the rest of the night. But it’s very evident from his experience that he recognized that this was a divine encounter. Perhaps this was the one that was later born as Jesus come in one of the many manifestations that He had in the Old Testament. I don’t know. Could it have been an angel? I don’t know. All it says is, “So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, Let me go, for it is daybreak.” I’m not sure what daybreak had to do, but I’m certain this was not a vampire.

( laughter ).

That’s for sure. I think we can put that down.

( laughter ).

But whatever it is. This was…

( laughter ).

Whatever…I’m sorry about that.

( laughter ).

But anyway, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” Let’s just take it a face value. There was some reason for this. “But Jacob replied, I will not let you go unless you bless me.” God had brought this man to such a point of desperation, that he was willing to set his heart to say I will not let you go. God, you have what I need. He had been brought to a place of utter need where he knew that no matter what he did, all this scheming that he was doing, he still was not gonna prosper unless God helped him.

So there’s two things you see that God does in the lives of His children. He brings us to a place of great need where it’s not just that we have a need, we ‘know’ we have a need. But we also, by the same token, we know the only possible solution to that need is in God. You see how God had kind of shut him up to this by the circumstances, by all of his dealings up to this point. This is an awesome God who can take the threads of our lives and weave something beautiful out of them and accomplish His purposes in spite of what we are. Oh, thank God! Thank God.

So right now he has brought forth this spirit, this attitude, this sense of desperation. I’ll tell you, God honors that. It’s evident that God honors that kind of a persistent spirit that says, I am so fixed on Your purposes that I will not let You go, Lord. I have got to have what You have promised--I’ve got to have it, Lord. I’m completely dependent on You.

Was God mad at him? Did he think he was presumptious? No. I’ll tell you, that’s what faith looks like--that’s what faith looks like. Faith is knowing what we are. Faith is knowing who He is. Faith is looking at what he’s promised, and faith is a persistent looking to God. And I’ll tell you, whatever there is in your life, there is no reason, whatever situation, there is no reason to be discouraged by circumstances, by time, by anything that would tend to discourage us here. We need to keep our eyes fixed on the promise of God, and say God, I will not let You go. We can do that as a church. I believe there’s been a lot of that. I believe that’s why God has helped us and is helping us. We need to have a fixed attitude. God, we are not satisfied where we’re at. We need You.

( congregational amens ).

And we need you to reveal Yourself and take us out of our, as Carl referred to it this morning, as our comfort zone, whatever it takes. Lord, we don’t want to remain what we are. We need You to come and to deliver us and to help us and to do whatever is needed. Lord, we’re just handing the job over to You. Oh God, help us.

Now you can look at this and say, well yeah, he was just afraid for his skin, but I’ll tell you, God brought him to a certain place in his life and his experience. And you see the hand and the love of God to do that. But you see…we’re gonna see in a second what God’s aim in this was. That’s what’s amazing. God wasn’t just concerned about saving his skin that day. God was absolutely preparing one of the patriarchs, because when you look back to the patriarchs of the covenant of God, it’s Abraham, Isaac ‘and’ Jacob. And God had some work to do on the Jacob end of this thing, and that’s what we’re seeing here.

So he says, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Now this is the oddest thing, from our cultural standpoint, that happens next. “The man asked him, What is your name?” Duh. What has that got to do with anything? You know, there’s a difference in the way names are thought of in eastern culture and western culture. To us, Tom, Dick, Harry, what’s the difference? It’s just a name, just a label we put on. But I’ll tell you, names meant something, and they do today, to this day in Asian culture. You don’t just name somebody mindlessly. It really has something to do with who they are and what they are.

You look at the example…well the names of God. I certainly can’t name them off, but there are so many ways in which God revealed Himself by a certain name. Well, the name was meant to convey something about the character of the one who bore that name. What about the prophecy of the coming of Jesus. You will call His name Jesus. Why? Because He will save His people from their sins. And the very name Jesus means Savior, Deliverer, Redeemer. And so there was a connection between the name and the character of the person who bore that name.

And of course, you remember when the ark was captured and a baby was born right about that time. What did they name the baby? Ichabod. It means the glory is departed. Over and over again, they called his name because of this. They called this place such and such a name because of this. Names had meanings.

And so what God was asking was not just, who are you? He was asking him for his name and there is more in answering my name is Jacob than that’s my name. That’s just the label that I got stuck with. This is Jacob coming before God and saying, I’m Jacob. I’m a schemer. I’m the kind of guy who scrabbles his way through life, who claws and tries to make his way by scheming and figuring. This is what I am, God.

You get just a little bit of a sense of what God was seeking here? God was revealing that this man, despite the fact that he had this kind of a character, he was this kind of a person that God could do something about it. But first of all, he wanted Jacob to say out loud, God, this is what I am. Do you know God prizes complete honesty? There is something about us. We’re scared of that. There’s not one of us here that can’t look down and find deep, dark reasons, deep dark issues. Sometimes they’re just thoughts, they’re habits, they’re ways of thinking and being that we just don’t want anybody to know about. And we’re prone to take the position with respect to other people and our relationship with other people…well, they say they love me, but if they really knew me, they wouldn’t love me anymore because…and of course, you fill in the blank…if they really knew what I was on the inside.

But the glorious thing is that we serve a God who knows every atom of our being. He knows every ugly, wicked thing that sin has done to our hearts and to our lives, everything that’s wrong with us. He knew all about this schemer. In spite of his scheming, He had had His hand upon him, made Himself known. You’re part of My purpose. But it wasn’t just, here’s My laws. Change yourself and we’ll talk. This was a God who was able to deal with a man named Jacob. And that name meant what he really was on the inside.

But here he is, come to this point, this crucial point of all this circumstance, and he’s willing to lift up his eyes and say, I’m Jacob. God, it’s what I am--it’s what I am. I can’t change myself. But I need you, Lord. And so it’s like, he’s completely making himself naked, as it were, spiritually before God. I’m in total need here. I’m Jacob.

I don’t know what you and I would have to say, but it wouldn’t be the pretty face we put on here, would it? There’s not one of us that can look in the mirror and say, we’re just what we present ourselves to other people. We are sinners in need of a Savior.

( congregational amens ).

And the wisest thing we can do in seeking God is never to come to Him on the ground of, well God, I’ve been good so You’re gonna have to bless me. Oh God, I come to You because of your promise. I come to You as someone who is in need. I come with broken things in my life. I come with all kinds of garbage that the devil has put in there and just because of what I am, where I’ve been, what I’ve experienced. God, I’m just a basket case. I need you, Lord.

And so here we see the loving hand of God taking somebody who was anything but what he needed to be, to be a patriarch of the faith, and bringing him down to this place. And what a thing to stick in the middle of a passage like this…what is your name? My name is Jacob. There is a lot in that. This is what I am, God. I’m willing to be what I am.

“Then the man said, Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel…” A prince of God. Actually, the word means he struggles with God. There’s a sense in which his very character, who he is, his identity has been changed, and it didn’t happen because he mustered up the strength, he did this, he did that, he conformed to standards, he did all this. It was just, God, here I am. I need You, God. And we see a God who can take a Jacob and make an Israel out of him.

This has had ramifications down through history. You look in the Middle East, you don’t find a nation named Jacob, do you? You find one named Israel. But here was the very foundation of the nation that was the nation of Israel. He became the Father of the 12 tribes and all those things. But here it comes for the hand of a God who was willing to deal with him over decades of his life, bring him to a place of need, cause him to cry out from the depths of his soul, and then said, your name’s not gonna be Jacob anymore. Anybody here want to continue to be what you are?

( congregational response ).

No. But we have a God who has taken us in hand and will do what He has promised. And we need to fix our hope upon that, allow Him to play things out as He will in our lives. But just at every turn say, God, I am looking to you. God, I cannot do this without You. I am totally dependent upon You to change what’s in here so that I can be what You want me to be.

And I’ll tell you, what this reveals about God gives me an awful lot of hope this morning. It gives me the only hope that there is. What an awesome, awesome God He is! “Jacob said, Please tell me your name. But he replied, Why do you ask my name? Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

And, of course, we know how the story plays out. He goes and God has already worked it out. He’s okay with Esau. And in fact, it’s decades later they wind up burying Isaac together. And I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God who can fix whatever is broken in our lives. And there isn’t one of us here, I don’t care whether you come out of hell, or whether you come out a wonderful godly home, we have got terrible broken needs in our lives. But there is a God to whom we can look with confidence, not because of who we are or what we are, but because of His purpose, His plan, His provision, His Son Jesus Christ, who took our sins to the cross. Praise God! Do we have something to shout about this morning?

( congregational amens ).

Bless the Lord! Praise God!