Richvale Church
Sunday, August 15 2021
  • Good morning, we are continuing our sermon series entitled, the Journey… over the past few weeks we have been looking at the spiritual formation of Jacob..
    Today we are going to be looking at overcoming conflicts and Experiencing God..
    Several years ago, The New York Times_ had a story about an extreme adventurer .... A Swiss woman... Sarah Marquis..... who through her various travels over a three years period ... walked nearly 10,000 miles through some of the most demanding and grueling conditions possible, on nearly every continent.
    Sarah had a longing for adventure, survival and solitude…It was her way dealing with the challenges she was facing...
    When Sarah was asked why she pushed herself to such extremes? Her answer was that it made her feel alive
    Now, I am not recommending that we go some extreme adventure…to deal with our Conflicts…but we see in scripture that ...God often uses conflict and suffering to deepen our Faith…
    I remember arriving and Bible College as a Freshman and asking one of the upper class-man.. what was of the main lessons he had learned during his threes years of College… He said something I a have never forgotten… he said, “Don’t ever get Bitter only get Better.”
    When you think about it … it is so easy to allow anger and resentment build up in our lives… and after a while that resentment turns into bitterness....more often than not we end up hurting ourselves.. more than the other person...
    Jacob is one of the Characters that we can relate to.. He had his fare share of doubts and failures.... But in the midst of his brokenness and imperfections we see God transforms his life and deepens his faith…
    Conflict brought Jacob to a place of where he longed to know and Experience the presence of God…
    T/S How does God Deepen Our faith?

    1. God Uses Conflict to develop Character.

    After Rebekah and Jacob steal the blessing from Isaac.. We are told that Esau sought after the blessing with tears ….but unfortunately it was too late... What Esau ends up getting... is the leftovers of blessing...
    Tim Keller calls it the Anti blessing… Isaac “blesses” Esau... by saying that he would always struggle..He would always be second to his brother Jacob.. the only positive outcome is that.. one day Esau would break free from the yoke of his brother…
    The bible tells us that this conflict led to -- “Esau hating Jacob” .... and he vowed that once his father Isaac had passed away… ... He would seek revenge and he would kill Jacob…
    …Esau is going to chase after Jacob and there a day when Esau is catches up with Jacob … Jacob is going to deal with that issue he has been struggling with and running away from his whole life....
    God uses People to build character..
    God uses Esau’s
    God is also going to use Rebekah…
    Rebekah always seems to be in the right place at the right time… remember she over hears Isaac talking about the giving the blessing to Esau .... now she hears of Esau's intention to murder Jacob.. Rebekah calls Jacob to warn him .. she tells Jacob that he needs go to and stay with her brother Laban in Haran …he needs to wait there until Esau’s anger dies down…after that he could return home..
    Then..Rebekah then goes to Isaac and tells him that he needs to bless Jacob and send him off her brother Laban.....
    Genesis 28:1–2 (ESV)
    1 Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women.
    2 Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother.
    What is happening? Why is Rebekah so wound up?
    In those days..Arranged marriages were common place and,. It was the woman role to propose an appropriate partner to the husband.. the husbands role who made the arrangements public and formal... Parents will fully involved in the process. so...
    When Esau chose to marry the Hittite woman…without their consent.. He side stepped the process… (Partially because Esau knew that Isaac and Rebekah would never have approved..his choice..)
    Rebekah was determined that this wasn’t going to happen again.. especially not to Jacob… In \
    Genesis 27:46 ESV
    46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I loathe my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women like these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?”
    Rebekah was taking no chances… and took control of the situation…
    What is amazing is though there is deceit and manipulation… God through election had already decreed that the older son would serve the younger… Jacob character is be formed… because he is going to see the value of faith…
    When we try and control it really is lack of faith..
    Proverbs 3:5–6 ESV
    5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
    b. God used Isaacs acceptance to shape Jacobs character
    Isaac calls Jacob and he blesses Him… What a moment this must have been!! Remember that Isaac… had done everything in his power to Bless Esau… and the only way that Jacob could get the blessing is to pretend to be some else.. We sometimes try and be something that we re not to get the blessing… God is using Isaac to teach Jacob the lesson… God can bless him…
    Isaac has moved from denial to acceptance which results in the blessing upon Jacob...
    Genesis 28:3–4 ESV
    3 God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4 May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!”
    This is a different from the Abrahamic Blessing.. This is more of a Benediction… But what it tells us that Isaac has accepted Jacob..
    God uses People in our lives to mold us...
    Helen Keller said...
    Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved. Helen Keller..
    -God uses conflict to stretch and challenge us in carefully tailored ways.
    T/S How does God Deepen Our faith?
    1. God Uses Conflict to develop Character.

    2 . God uses Inner Conflict to Develop Faith

    It is interesting how many things we do by hundred times day…Every time we get into our car and travel from point A to point B .. we have Faith.... we are relying on natural faith… Every time we sit on a Chair we assume that that is going to hold u....
    Our English word faith comes from the Latin word fides, which means to trust or to rely upon something or someone?
    But here is the thing… it is easier to have Faith in what we then what we don’t see.. It is easier look backwards…to the past than it to look forward to the unknown...
    Jacob was accustomed to being around a booming estate with many servants and business activities.. He was accustom to his Fathers wealth… Isaac was the envy of the other nations…
    .... Now Isaac is going send him to his uncle Laban house… with very no provision … there are no props… It’s just Jacob… on this journey.
    Genesis 28:10–11 ESV
    10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep.
    We are told that Jacob arrives at this place …called a Certain Place.. . there is no name…
    There wasn't a creek
    There wasn't a pass there
    There wasn't a well there.
    It was a nowhere place..
    We know that Jacob has no provisions because he uses a stone as pillow.. A stone is probably the last thing that you would want to sleep on... If you had a back pack... extra clothing… anything is better than than a stone...
    Can you imagine the confusion that Jacob is experiencing at this point... God promised him blessing...
    ."I don't understand you Lord.. you give me all these promises but then you let all this stuff happened to me... the complete opposite to what you said.”
    God uses “aloneness” or “Solitude” to deal with inner conflict… God met.. …
    Moses met God by himself on a mountain… He called him from the burning bush on the backside of the desert.
    God met Gideon while by was himself threshing grain.... Remember he was hiding from the Midianites..
    God met Elijah met in a cave.
    Jesus was alone in the wilderness fasting when angels came and ministered to him...
    God uses Solitude…
    In the the 4th Century there was a monastic movement called the Desert Fathers… They were seeking for revival in the church… often they would go into the wilderness for extended times into solitude until they heard from God… they would come back and share what they learned with others in the wilderness… they found faith in Solitude… We can learn something from every tradition including the monastics..
    We live in a world where we a constantly rushing. We rush to work, rush from work, rush through eating, rush to bed, rush through devotions… We don’t have time to think…
    C.S. Lewis’s observation: The very moment you wake up each morning . . . [a]ll your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals.
    Then He suggests..
    And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.
    The scripture tell us.. in..
    Psalm 46:10 ESV
    10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
    Be still and Know that I am God.. think about that for a moment...
    The word know means to observe…God says Be still and observe me.. Be still and recognize me… It means to “Comprehend” —“Be still and understand all about Me.” Understand that my ways, times, thoughts, and methods are not yours .. Sometimes we need to be still to know that God is with us… He is the calm in the middle of the Cyclone… He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
    When we are still we can know that God is with us..
    Now, Jacob is away from the bustle , he was all alone and God Appears to him
    Genesis 28:12–14 (ESV)
    12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring.
    In his dream he saw a ladder or a stair case going from the earth all the way into heaven and there were angel ascending and descending..... Angels are God's messengers... What it mean that God's royal power is on the move. - his messages are going up and going out..
    What a picture of God’s interaction… with creation… All this time Jacob thought that He was alone.. but actual translation is really the Lord was next to Jacob… . He standing next to Jacob..
    God spoke to Jacob in a remarkable way.. God speaks to all His concerns… all the things that had been weighing him down and causing hims stress and worry...
    Jacob worried that he was alone.. He was about his family… He was worried about his future...
    Genesis 28:15 ESV
    15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
    God says you are not alone because I am with your... I will bring you back to this land... And I will see this promise to the end..
    God says to Jacob that the land that you are lying on — is yours....- your people are going to have....
    I have given it to you and your offspring... they will be numerous as the sand and of the sea and the stars of the sky; and they will occupy the land from the East to the West and from the North to the South..
    . Your tribe is going to bring blessing to every other tribe than walks on the planet... every future generation.. will know that the blessing came through Jacob...
    T/S What does God uses to Deepen Our Relationships and Connections
    1. God Uses Interpersonal Conflict to Develop Our Character.(Outer World)
    2 . God uses Intrapersonal Conflict (Inner World) to Develop Faith

    3. God Uses Spiritual Awakenings to Change Our World.

    There was an article in the New York Magazine.. after September 11th.. 2001.. ... Where the author a woman claimed to be an atheist or agnostic and she wrote that ......at times like this you need something more than Starbucks and Barnes and Noble to get through". She said that "she wished she could believe to get through it"
    Often People see Faith as Belief… You have to believe something… what is interesting…is
    Jacob believed God, but it wasn't enough to face the challenges he had in his life.. He had to have more than belief .... He had to have an Encounter with God..... He had to have a life changing moment… before he could believe....
    When Jacob woke up… it wasn’t just getting out of bed… there was a spiritual awakening there was a new awareness… of the presence of God..
    When you go to the top of a high mountain, a really high mountain, you look down and start to see, “There’s a stream I saw. There’s a road I was on. There’s a valley, and I had no idea they were connected. I had no idea how they related to each other.”
    The only reason you can see the picture is you’re really up high… That is what happens when we Experience God… He takes us above what we are facing… Paul wrote in Ephesians that when we came to Christ we dead in our trespasses… but we were made alive together with Christ… and by grace we have been saved… then he says that Christ has raised us up with him and seated us with him in Heavenly places… so that in the coming ages he would show us the immeasurable riches of his grace and kindness towards us… That is an awakening…
    An Awakening is an awareness of God in His splendor that leads to a sense of the awesomeness of God..
    We told that Jacob Awoke
    Genesis 28:16–17 (ESV)
    16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”
    17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
    When Jacob woke up he realized this was no ordinary experience.. he says surely the lord is here… I didn’t know it before but I know it now…
    This was no ordinary dream… Jacob say this place has meaning … and he then proceeds to name the spot… Bethel.. the house of God..... this is the gate way to heaven..
    His Awakening led him to worship..
    Early the next morning Jacob takes the stone that he had been lying on.. Set it up as a pillar and he anoints the stone that he lay on.... and He calls that place Bethel… Sometimes we looking for a Bethel… we looking to a building… for an experience.. Even Solomon recongnized that God doesn’t dwell in buildings...
    1 Kings 8:27 ESV
    27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!
    The house of God is where his presence resides... It is the place where heaven touches earth…Jacob first experienced God and then he house was built.. out of this would come the temple..
    3. He Commits to Giving
    Jacob understood the grace of God is to respond in grateful acts of benevolence and practical demonstrations of love.
    Seek God first and to worship and to give a tenth of his possession back to God...
    # Conclusion
    Do you have a This Place??
    In the gospels when Jesus is calling his disciples to follow him... Jesus had called Philip to follow him and become his disciple. Philip finds Nathaniel and he says to him that they had found the Messiah.. JESUS of Nazareth.. .. His response is can anything good come out of Nazareth? That's a good question... It was this small little town... not known for anything...
    Philip says... "Come and see." Sometimes evangelism is just inviting others to come and experience God... . Nathanael has this experience... Revelation Jesus makes himself known to him - I saw you under the fig tree.. Now we don't have the details.. but this was a moment that only He would have known about... The impact was immediate..
    John 1:49 (ESV)
    49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
    Rabbi you are the King of Israel This was a Bethel experience...
    Jesus likens his experience to what Jacob experience...
    John 1:51 ESV
    51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
    “This Place” is where we see the Lord… and encounter his presence...
      • Genesis 27:46ESV

      • Genesis 28:3–4ESV

      • Genesis 28:10–11ESV

      • Psalm 46:10ESV

      • Genesis 28:15ESV

      • 1 Kings 8:27ESV

      • John 1:51ESV

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