Getting God’s Blessing

30 November 2014 am – Genesis 32:1-32 – Gen 14 – Scott Childs

Introduction: Do you want God to bless you? What do you mean by “bless”? I discovered that “bless” is not an easy word to define. In Matthew 5, Jesus said that God’s blessings are special benefits, praise, or happiness for those who honour Him. Many Bible examples illustrate that God does not bless those who dishonour Him.

Transition: This morning as we look at Jacob’s discovery, his prayer, his plan, and his plea, I trust we will learn how to get God’s blessing.

1.        Jacob’s Discovery (v.1-2)

a.         God just brought Jacob through danger

1)         In Gen 31, Laban was angry thought to harm Jacob.

2)         God protected Jacob, but Jacob may not have known the extent of God’s protection.

b.         God let Jacob see His angelic army

1)         Angels of God met Jacob. God opened his eyes and allowed him to see God’s host or angelic army.

2)         Jacob called the place Mahanaim that means two camps. Perhaps he saw angels on both sides of him. Or maybe he saw the angel camp around his camp. Either way, he saw God’s protecting angels.

O  Does the Bible say that we really have guardian angels? Yes it does. Check out the following verses.

V   (2 Kings 6:17) “And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”

V   (Matthew 18:10) “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

V   (Hebrews 1:14) “Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (see also Acts 12:15)

O  God is so good to us. We will never know till heaven how many times the angels have kept us from danger.

2.        Jacob’s Prayer (v.3-12)

a.         Jacob sent messengers to Esau

1)         Jacob sent some of his servants ahead to find Esau and tell him that Jacob was coming (v.3-5).

2)         I believe Jacob was seeking to see Esau’s reaction. Though Jacob did not know Esau’s motives, his actions were troubling – Esau came to meet Jacob with 400 men (v.6).

O  Many fears are based on “what ifs” rather than on facts.

b.         In time of fear, Jacob prayed

1)         I cannot help noticing Jacob’s human response.

a)         He was greatly afraid.

b)         He divided his possessions into two lots so he could at least save one lot if attacked.

c)         Then, Jacob prayed!

2)         Before we get too hard on Jacob for not praying first, we must note that he DID pray. That is more than we sometimes do. About what did he pray?

a)         He reminded God of His command (v.9).

b)         He humbled himself before God and thanked God (v.10).

c)         He asked for deliverance from danger (v.11).

d)         He reminded God of his promises (v.12).

O  We ought not only pray in time of trouble, but in time of trouble, we OUGHT to pray!

V   (Psalms 56:3) “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”

V   (Psalms 55:22) “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

V   (1 Peter 5:7) “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

V   (1 Thessalonians 5:17) “Pray without ceasing.”

O  This last verse means that we should always be able to pray throughout the day. According to Psalm 66:18, if we do not confess and forsake every known sin, we are not able to pray.

3.        Jacob’s Plan (v.13-23)

a.         He sent a present to Esau (v.13-21)

1)         His generous peace-offering to Esau included:

a)         Goats: 200 she goats, and 20 he goats

b)         Sheep: 200 ewes, and twenty rams

c)         Camels: 30 mothers with their colts

d)         Cows: 40 females, and 10 bulls

e)         Donkeys: 20 she asses, and 10 babies

2)         Even by today’s standard, that was a very generous gift. God truly had blessed Jacob.

3)         Each group was to greet Esau separately with this message, “They be thy servant Jacob’s; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.”

4)         We see both humility and respect in his message. These humbling words were both an apology and the gift was an attempt to compensate for his wrongs toward Esau twenty years previous. He wants to get things right.

O  If we have offended someone, God expects us to do all that we can to make it right. We must start is by humbling ourselves before them and seeking to right our wrongs. Refusing to get things right with those we wrong will hinder us spiritually. Here is what Jesus preached.

V   (Matthew 5:23-24) “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”

O  The principle is the same today. If you have hurt your spouse, your parent, a friend, or someone else, do the right thing and get it right with them. Then you can worship God.

b.         He prepared for an attack (v.22-23)

1)         He took his family over the river for protection.

2)         He spent time with God alone (v.24a).

4.        Jacob’s Plea (v.24-32)

a.         That night Jacob wrestled with God

1)         The Bible does not tell us how the event began. Perhaps as Jacob was alone that night pondering, praying and worrying, a stranger appeared to him. If at first he thought it was a spy from Esau’s camp, he soon realized that it was a messenger from God.

2)         How did the wrestling match begin? Perhaps Jacob in his fearful condition grabbed the messenger and begged him for a blessing and the messenger resisted. It seems to have been a physical wrestle, for during the match God partly crippled Jacob (v.25).

3)         Exactly when Jacob realized that he was wrestling with God in a human body (a theophany), we do not know. Jacob refused to let Him go without the promise of a blessing. They wrestled all night. We know God is holy and He does not change. That night, Jacob changed not God. That night Jacob discovered the only way to get God’s blessing was through surrender.

b.         God changed Jacob’s name to Israel

1)         God gave him this new name (v.28).

2)         God did bless Jacob (v.29).

3)         Jacob named the place Peniel (face of God) (v.30).

4)         Jacob was never the same again after this encounter with God (v.31).

O  I believe Jacob was converted 20 years earlier in Bethel, but here in Peniel he wanted God’s blessing and he refused to let God go without receiving His blessing. That night, God got Jacob’s heart and Jacob got God’s blessing. If you want God’s blessing, you must be willing to deal with the issues that stand between you and God, (Romans 12:1-2).

Conclusion: This chapter has challenged us in many ways. We need to stay right with God so we can pray. When troubles come we must cast our burdens on the Lord. If we know have offended someone, we must admit our wrong to them and seek to make things right. If we want God’s blessing, we must be sure there is nothing between us and God. If you have a need in one of these areas, now is the time to deal with it.

If you have not repented and trusted Christ to save your soul, that is where you must begin for salvation and God’s blessing.

Song: Nothing Between – 321