Change of Hearts

26 October 2014 am – Genesis 28:1-22 – Gen 14 – Scott Childs

Introduction: Proverbs 4:23 states “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Jesus said in Matthew 15:19, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:” Yes, all that a person does comes from within his heart.

When a person discovers that his heart has led him the wrong direction, he needs a change of heart.

Transition: As we look at this chapter, we will see that the three main characters all had a change of heart. As you listen, be watching for areas of your own heart that need changed.

1.        Isaac Had a Change of Heart (v.1-5)

a.         He chose to accept God’s will for Jacob.

In the previous chapter, Isaac determined to disobey God’s will and bless Esau. He was not in harmony with his wife. He was hurt when Jacob and Rebekah tricked him.

1)         Now his whole attitude has changed (v.1)

a)         He called Jacob.

b)         He blessed Jacob.

c)         He charged Jacob.

2)         He began to think about God’s will for Jacob’s future.

b.         He turned his thoughts to a godly wife for Jacob.

1)         He charged Jacob NOT to take a wife of the local heathen women (v.1)

2)         He sent him to Padanaram to find a wife (v.2). This was the “table land of Aram” in Syria in which the city of Haran was located. [See Map]

3)         He blessed him before he left (v.3-4).

O  Isaac seems to be back in fellowship with God and in harmony with Rebekah his wife. He has had a change of heart. He finally submitted to the will of God. When we realize that we have been wrong and turn our hearts back toward God, it will change our attitude and actions and heal our relationships. Mark it down, you cannot resist the will of God and be at peace with God! That is why James wrote, (James 4:8) “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

2.        Esau Had a Change of Heart (v.6-9)

a.         Esau thought about his marital choices.

1)         He saw Isaac send Jacob to find a godly wife (v.6-7).

2)         He saw that his godless wives displeased his parents (v.8)

b.         Esau had some change of heart

1)         He married a third wife, but this one was a daughter of Ishmael – a half-cousin.

2)         We cannot tell if his change was repentant or just seeking his dad’s approval. Perhaps now that Jacob was leaving, Esau hoped that taking a wife from among his relatives would please Isaac and earn him some sort of blessing. It appears to be a selfish change rather than a sincere repentant change.

3)         We see no clear evidence that Esau’s change of heart gave him a desire to become godly.

O  God is not interested in surface change. He longs for us to surrender our whole hearts to Him. We see this many times in Scripture. For example, in Jeremiah 3:10, God rebuked Judah for half-heartedly turning to the Lord. “… Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD.” God knows all about us. Psalm 44:21 states “Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.” If you have been out of fellowship with God, there is only ONE cure. You must turn to the Lord with your whole heart.

3.        Jacob Had a Change of Heart (v.10-22)

a.         Jacob was in a great trial

1)         He began his journey to Haran (v.10).

a)         Remember, he was a homebody and now he was on a long journey travelling northward along the mountain ridges of Canaan. His trip was about 800km. That is a long trip on foot. [That is farther than walking the 727km from Perth to Esperance.]

b)         It appears that he travelled alone (Ge 32:10).

c)         He was fleeing from his brother’s hatred and revenge.

d)         Travelling for days was very tiring. He was a farmer. He was not used to walking for hours as a hunter. He had a LOT of time to think!

e)         This was a major trial in Jacob’s life!

2)         Jacob camped under the open sky.

a)         He endured the heat or rain by day and the cold and dew by night.

b)         He had little protection from wild animals.

c)         One night (perhaps the first night) he camped on the rocks near Bethel (v.11).

O  God often uses times of trials in our lives to get our attention. He got Ahab’s attention with a famine. He got Jonah’s attention in the fish. He got Peter’s attention when he denied the Lord. One reason God allows trials in our lives is to get our attention. How we respond to our trials makes all the difference!

b.         God spoke to Jacob

1)         We know nothing of what led up to this night. Had Jacob been praying? Had he been fearful? Had he been suffering from guilt and conviction? We do not know!

2)         As he slept that night on the rocks at Bethel, he had a dream from God.

O  Let me say a word about dreams. Before the Bible was complete, God sometimes sued dreams to reveal His will to men. Now that the Bible is complete, God speaks to us through the Bible, not through dreams, visions, and revelations. If He still did, then the Bible would not be complete.

a)         Jacob saw a ladder coming down from heaven (v.12)

b)         God reviewed His promises to Jacob (v.13-15).

3)         Jacob woke and was afraid

a)         He sensed that God was there with him.

b)         He had a proper fear of God – perhaps for the first time in his life.

V     (Proverbs 9:10) “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

4)         Jacob rose early in the morning and worshipped God (v.18).

a)         He vowed to the Lord (v.20-21). He claimed God’s promises. This was not a bargain with God but an act of faith.

b)         He promised a tithe to God. A tithe is 10% of one’s income. A tithe is an outward expression of worship that is in the heart.

O  Was this experience when Jacob first came to know the Lord personally? It seems that it was! He had grown up in a religious home. He knew about God. Now he respectfully feared God. God’s word spoke to his heart. Now he placed his faith in Jehovah God. He had a change of heart.

O  Every one of us must have a change of heart. Unless you humble yourself before God and place your faith in Christ’s death and resurrection to pay for your sin, you do not truly know the Lord. Religion is not sufficient.

V     (Matthew 7:21-23)Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Conclusion: This morning, we learned that Isaac had a change of heart to submit to the will of God. Esau had a change of heart, but his did not seem to be sincere. Jacob also had a change of heart that transformed his life. Does your heart need a change? Do you need to submit to God’s will in some area of life?

Perhaps you are like Jacob and need to know the Lord personally. Do you know for positive that you have trusted Christ alone to save you from hell? Has God changed your life? If not, humbly repent of your sin and trust Christ today.

Song: Just As I Am – 249