Jacob: A Life of Struggle with and for the Grace of God

January-May 2017

Jacob is the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham. He is the third of the patriarchs, blessed by God to be the bearer of the covenant of grace and a father of the Lord’s people. Jacob’s life is one characterized by the grace of God upon him and his ongoing struggle to receive that grace. Jacob struggled from the womb against his brother, Esau. He struggled with his father-in-law, Laban. Finally, he wrestled with God and he won because of the mercy of the Lord.

There is much to be mined from Jacob’s life about God’s sovereign grace and His faithfulness to those whom He has chosen to be His own, despite their shortfalls and sins, and despite the work of others to thwart God’s purposes. Perhaps you feel that you are struggling with or for the grace of God. Maybe you have accepted Christ as Savior and Lord, yet you are struggling internally to hold fast to the promises of His Word and to live out the hope of life in Jesus. Maybe you are striving, by grace, to live out your calling but there are others (individuals, systems, etc.) who arise to seemingly thwart God’s blessings and promises. What do you do? How do you proceed? What does it look like to wait upon the Lord and yet also to rightly struggle for His glory and grace in this life?

Our study on the life of Jacob will be one in which we will be encouraged by God’s grace and His faithfulness to Jacob, and through him to His people as a whole. We will also see how God remains faithful to His people still. His own Son struggled against the powers and principalities of darkness and won the once and for all, eternal victory, not only for Himself but for all God’s people, over sin and death. In Christ He will continue to give grace and to be faithful as He walks with us through this life. Even, perhaps especially, when it is a struggle, God is most at work seek to understand similar reactions to Him by those in our own day.

 


The Sermons

  • Jacob: Matters of Death May 14, 2017 Genesis 35:16-29 The passage today marks something of a close to the Jacob cycle of the book of Genesis. It deals with matters of distress, dedication, defilement, defiance, division, and death. Beyond these it points us to hope. Distress or Delight? In v. 16, we read that Israel and His people journeyed from Bethel (heading south) and that ...
  • Jacob: A New Name May 8, 2017 Genesis 35:1-15 Last week’s passage was a sobering reminder that sin and its effects are devastating. Jacob’s daughter was defiled by Shechem and his sons were defiled by what they did to Shechem and his city. Then God spoke into the midst of the chaos that was wrought by their sin. He called them out of ...
  • Jacob: If Possible, Live Peaceably with All May 1, 2017 Genesis 33:18 – 34:18 In the previous passage Jacob and Esau met and reconciled, which is a testimony to the grace and faithfulness of God. A few years later, Jacob and his family moved “safely to the fields outside of the city of Shechem,” (33:18). He even bought some land and erected an altar to El-Elohe-Israel ...
  • Jacob: A Forgiving Embrace May 1, 2017 Genesis 33: 1-17 Esau was coming, and 400 men with him. Jacob had prayed. Jacob had sent droves of gifts ahead to Esau. Jacob had divided his family up in the hopes of protecting as many as he could. Then night came. Jacob left his family and went into the dark on his own. He was ...
  • Jacob: Struggle with God April 3, 2017 Genesis 32:22-32 Esau was coming, and 400 men with him. Jacob had prayed. Jacob had sent droves of gifts ahead to Esau. Jacob had divided his family up in the hopes of protecting as many as he could. Then night came. Jacob left his family and went into the dark on his own. He was alone. ...
  • Jacob: The Fear of Restoration March 27, 2017 Genesis 32:1-21 Sermon and Notes By: Shane Miller After lying, scheming, and manipulating his way through life, Jacob finally had to face the consequences of the decisions he had made. As he traveled into Edom, he sent a message to his big brother, Esau, letting him know that (1) he had been working for Laban, and this ...
  • Jacob: The LORD Watch Between Me and You March 20, 2017 Genesis 31:22-55 Laban caught word that Jacob, along with his wives and children and servants and livestock, had left Haran and was headed for Canaan. Laban went in pursuit (a la Pharaoh after the Israelites leaving Egypt) and caught up to Jacob in the hill country of Gilead. Old habits die hard. Laban and Jacob had ...
  • Jacob: Return to the Land March 13, 2017 Genesis 31:1-21 Laban and Jacob had a relationship that went from bad to worse. While Laban was growing in material prosperity and Jacob was materially weak and dependent upon his uncle, Laban was content, happy even. But, when Jacob’s prosperity increased, Laban and his sons showed their envious and contemptuous hearts. Jacob served Laban for twenty ...
  • Jacob: The Blessing of Prosperity March 6, 2017 Genesis 30:25-43 God’s Will Is Mysterious Laban and Jacob had an odd relationship. They were uncle and nephew, father-in-law and sonin- law, as well as master and servant. The relationship was complicated by the fact that Laban had deceived and taken advantage of Jacob throughout their time together (see Genesis 29:15-30 and 31:4-7). After the birth of ...
  • Jacob: Covenant Children February 27, 2017 Genesis 29:31-30:24 God’s Will Is Mysterious God is sovereign over all people and all things. We know this to be true generally, but it does not mean that God reveals to us every aspect of His will. We may see actions that we can clearly attribute to God, but we may not be shown why those actions ...
  • Jacob: A New Struggle February 13, 2017 Genesis 29:1-30 God’s Providential Care God had promised Jacob that He would be with him wherever he would go, and that He would bring him and his people back to the promised land. With that hopeful promise “Jacob went on his journey.” The text literally reads, “Jacob picked up his feet…” It is almost as if to ...
  • Jacob: The Covenant Continues February 6, 2017 Genesis 28:10-22 Jacob had been sent away by his father, Isaac. It was, on the surface, an effort to find a wife from among Rebekah’s family. The send off also served to separate Jacob and Esau, lest Esau’s wrath toward his brother give way to murder. The impression one gets from the text (vv. 10-22) is ...
  • Jacob: The Struggle Continues January 30, 2017 Genesis 27:41- 28:9 There was a family struggle in Isaac’s household that had played out over the years. Like a festering wound that has come to a head, the dysfunction and hurt and sin beneath the surface of this covenant family was incised when Isaac, deceived by Rebekah and her favorite son, blessed Jacob instead of ...
  • Jacob: Jacob’s Blessing January 23, 2017 Genesis 27:1-40 Jacob’s Blessing  There was a family struggle in Isaac’s household that had played out over the years. Like a festering wound that has come to a head, the dysfunction and hurt and sin beneath the surface of this covenant family was incised when Isaac, deceived by Rebekah and her favorite son, blessed Jacob instead of ...
  • Jacob: Like Father, Like Son January 16, 2017 Genesis 26:1-33 Like Father, Like Son  Isaac is brought to the forefront in this passage. We often think of Isaac as either the son of Abraham or the father of Esau and Jacob. This passage shows us that he was his own man and that God did have covenant relationship with him. It also shows us that ...
  • Jacob: A Struggle Begins January 9, 2017 Genesis 25:19-34 We begin a new sermon series today. This series will focus on the sovereign grace and faithfulness of God as seen in the life of Jacob, the son of Isaac. This opening passage shows us that something bigger than just Jacob’s life is unfolding throughout his years. Not only did God show grace ...