Going Back to Bethel
by Cooper P Abrams III
The Bible tells us of another man who lived 2800 years ago who had a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of existence. Jacob was a man with two natures. He was a man that appeared at times to be at war with himself. But he is also a man with whom other men can identify. On this Father's Day, we will look at the checkered life of Jacob. We will frankly face his failings. But we will also see the other side of his life. The Bible clearly tells of his shortcomings but also of the victories he enjoyed. As we consider his life we will do so in the following categories. We will consider:
I. WHAT HE DID WRONG.
2. The name "Jacob" lit. means "he that grasps the heel." When used figuratively the name means "deceiver."
3. As the boys grew, Jacob lived up to his name.
b. He then tricked his old blind father (27:6-29) into giving him Esau's birthright, the right of the oldest son to become leader of the family when the father became too old.
c. As a result, Jacob had to run for his life and spent the next 20 years in hiding with his uncle. Uncle Laban turned the tables on Jacob and tricked him into marrying the unwanted sister of his fiancÚ.
The wife of a couple I married while I pastored in Virginia was in a terrible auto accident and was totally disabled. She had to have hospital care continually. Her medical bills were enormous. Her father in law, urged his son to divorce her to get from under the cost of her care. That is what he did and not too long afterward he remarried. So much for the vow he sore too before me the day I married them. They meant nothing to him. His actions proved that.
Yet, I have seen others couples when a spouse was disabled or became very sick they stuck by their husband or wife in spite of the great hardship it was on them. Their love and devotion was clearly seen in the sacrifices they made.
The greatest task we have on earth is to serve others and that service begins at home with our wives and families.
b. Jacob thought his right to happiness was greater than his commitment to marriage. He didn't divorce Leah, but he treated her as though she was not his wife.
ILLUS: As a pastor, I have numbers of times sat with couples who are contemplating getting a divorce. Some of the time they tell of adultery or money problems. But in the vast majority of cases, the couples on the verge of a divorce who are seeking my counsel tell me, "we are just not happy." They speak of happiness as if it is an inalienable right. It is not! Where in the Bible does it say, "You will marry and live happily ever after and never have any problems"? The Bible never promises that all marriages will be filled with happiness and be problem free. It does say, however, that a man and a woman will become one. That oneness gives us new resources with which to face the difficulties of life.
On the other hand, the opposite is true also. A faithful father sets an example that inspires his children to love the Lord as he does. They learn what a family should be from their parents and the example they see. What a blessing to see a family....a true family...a Christian, love loving and honoring family. What a blessing to see their children love the Lord too and serve Him. A faithful father can do no greater thing on earth than to set a proper example before his children....and the example and blessing will extend into many future generations.
A. He had a desire to serve the lord.
2. Having stolen his brother's blessing, Jacob ran for his life. He ran toward Haran. For the first time in his life he was alone and away from the shelter of his home. Lonely and dejected, Jacob stopped in Bethel. In the bleak, rocky countryside, he bedded down for the night and took a stone for a pillow.
3. During the night, he had a dream of a ladder that reached from the earth to the very gates of heaven. You see God is reaching out to the wayward to bring them into fellowship with Him. He sees in us what He can make us.
b. Genesis 28:16 says, "And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not."
c. Genesis 28:20-21 says, "Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God."
d. Jacob had made a lot of mistakes but deep inside he knew who made him and he knew that he owed his life and his allegiance to the Lord. How important it is for a man to realize that he is the special creation of Almighty God and that God has a purpose and plan for his life.
2. God demanded a high price for the sin in his life in terms of his own hardships and the problems he saw in children's lives. With his recommitment to the Lord, the problems of his life did not disappear, but he finally became the father he should have been all along.
3. He gave the order that all of the idols of the past be buried. You see Jacob knew that was what he would have to do if he submitted himself to the Lord. For all those years he could not give up the idols that pleased him. They were too dear to him, but now he saw the truth and he wanted God's blessing on himself and his family. He made the decision that he and his family would serve the Lord God.
Fathers, we are not as invincible as we like for people to think. Our children will someday face life without us. How will they live then? Where will they turn when they make decisions? If death takes us out of the picture before our children are off on their own, will we have given them the raw materials from which they can continue to build their lives?
Ephesians 6:4 says, "Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
2. Are you like Jacob? You may be more like Jacob than you want to admit. May we fathers privately admit today our failures a husband and a father.
ILLUS: My father was a simple man and not well educated. He never have a class on how to raise children. He was not perfect and he made mistakes, but in one thing was always consistence, he worked hard to provide for us and we knew he loved the Lord. He was faithful to mom and to his responsibilities for providing for us.
I did not know the value of that until after I was saved and submitted my life to Jesus Christ. I became a father who loved my wife and son and began to understand the responsibility. I remember what I was before I was saved. I am ashamed. I thought so highly of myself, yet I was a mere shell of man. Empty, wasting my life, hurting those I loved with my foolishness. Living for myself and really not giving true love to my family. OH how I thank God for changing me...for seeking me in the worthless state I was in. We have a loving and wonderful God...I know that completely.
The responsibility goes on also to the grandparents. We can have a great influence on our grandchildren and help our sons and daughters raise them.
3. You may look at the mistakes of the past and conclude that you have done such damage to the important relationships in your life that there is nothing you can do to rectify your mistakes.
4. But for every Jacob listening to me, remember that God is forgiving and seeks to be your strength and Guide. Remember that God has given you your family and if you will look to Him, He will give you wisdom to be the husband and father you need to be.
5. In the NT we read the post script of Jacob's life.
Hebrews 11:21 says, "By faith Jacob, when he was a dying... worshipped the Lord."
6. For every person listening, both male and female, young and old, married and unmarried, we can all make the trip back to Bethel that Jacob made. We can go back and repair the relationship with God that may have long been neglected.
7. If you are not a Christian, and have not in belief accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior...why not? Why would you not want God on your side. Why would you not want the blessing and guidance of the Lord in your life and family. Often like Jacob we hold on to our sins and let them rob us of the joy of having a true family relationship with our wife and children. We rob ourselves and we rob them too. My friend if you are not saved...why not like Jacob...turn to the Lord, repenting of your past sins and having the Lord wash you white as snow, forgiving you sins and giving you eternal life. An also giving you a God honoring and blessed home.
8. Maybe there is a wayward Christian husband here. Would you journey back in your heart to that place where you first met the Lord? Will you go back right now to that time when you were much closer to the Lord than you are now? Would you now let the Lord be the true Savior of your live and of your family.
8. If you are a Christian and you have wondered away from the Lord, will you come back to Him in rededication right now? If you have never placed your faith in Him, will you repent of your sins and accept Him as your Savior? As we sing, we are waiting for you to come....
If you liked the message and would like to see sermons regularly posted to the Bible Truth Sermons Page would you let be know? I would like to hear from you. Please click the button below. Thanks