Hebrews #23 Jacob: a Grandfather's Faith
Forward in Faith #23
Jacob A Grandfather’s Faith
Well The Hall of Fame of Faith found in Hebrews 11 has gone from Abel to Enoch to Noah to Abraham, then it naturally goes to his son Isaac and then Isaac’s youngest of twin sons, Jacob. 25% of the book of Genesis is written about Jacob’s life.
As I have told you, he scamed his brother out of his inheritance. Then he worked a deception toward his Father and Brother for the older brother’s Blessing.
After this last act, Esau wanted satisfaction and Rebekah recommended that Jacob go look for a wife among her family, which would conveniently take him FAR away from Esau.
As he fled he stopped Jacob had a dream of a stairway into heaven and angels doing the Lord’s bidding going up and down. At that place, God spoke to Jacob in this dream. And this fleeing conniver was reassured by God. God said “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.” (Gen 28:13-14) Then notice how the Lord finishes the dream in Gen 28:15 “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Jacob woke up and said something profound and the constant reality … “sure the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware.”
Jacob left there went to his Uncle Laban’s house where he met Rachel.
he made an agreement with her father to work 7 years for him in return for her hand in marriage.
After the wedding ceremony, the next morning with the veils etc were gone, Jacob, the trickster, had been tricked and Laban had married him to her older sister Leah. Laban claimed it was a local custom to marry the older first. They signed another commitment for 7 years and Jacob was able to go ahead and marry his love, Rachel.
God blessed Jacob with children as well as with prosperity and he became wealthy.
Jacob returned home to face his brother. The Angel of the Lord, Jesus Christ met Jacob, wrestled with him and again blessed him.
At that place, which Jacob named “Peniel” or “the face of God” – in his blessing, God renamed Jacob, Israel.
He was blessed with 12 sons.
Joseph becomes the central figure in the story as Jacob ages.
Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery and then tell Jacob he has died because of their jealousy of his position as father’s favorite.
Jacob grieves the perceived loss of his favorite son, but after many years pass, Joseph reemerges in his life, alive, and the #2 authority in Egypt. In his position Joseph brings his father, Jacob, and family into Egypt in a famine and they are cared for. In route God promises him again that he will bless him and turn his people into a nation in Egypt.
So, this one, who comes from a family that put the FUN in Dysfunction, keeps on following God his whole life and so he is listed here in Hebrews 11.
When you look at his life you see a lot of faithless things, a failure to trust God to try and create things himself. So maybe we can see upfront that the impetuousness of youth doesn’t have to mean that we are destined to be remembered as faithless …
So how does the writer of Hebrews see him as faithful?
Read with me Hebrews 11:21
Read Genesis 47:28-48
A Grandfather’s Faith, is displayed in this old follower.
He has experienced faith, heartache, deception, triumphs and failures and the one constant through it all is a faithful God.
I want our senior saints to pay attention today to Jacob as you can relate to this stage of his life. See in him a pattern for you to emulate for the time that the Lord has left for you in ministry on this earth
I want you who are in the middle and early stages of adult life to see how to position yourself to be faithful to the finish
I want those of you who are younger our college age, our teens, and even the boys and girls to think now about how you want your life to finish and how to position yourself to be strong for the long haul.
So very quickly some principles from this faithful follower in the time left
The faith of this grandfather is
1. Faith in God’s Word
A Grandfather of Faith has
A. 1st Hand Experience with God
- 1. down in v 15 of Gen 48 he says describes God as the one “Before whom my fathers, Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day”
- 2. what he was saying is “The Lord is my shepherd”
The Lord is my guide
The Lord is my provider
The Lord is my protector
The Lord is my Lord!
- 3. He has to be your PERSONAL God before he can be something that you can leave to someone else
- 4. do you know him? What you KNOW firsthand is what you will pass on
But the next thing we see about this Grandfather of faith is that he
B. Recognizes God’s Authority and Position as God Almighty
- “God Almighty” isn’t just something we fit into a song, it is WHO HE IS
V3 he remembers that dream in a place called Luz … and place that he renamed “Beth-el” which means “the house of God” … Remember he said “the Lord is here and I didn’t even know it surely this is the house of God”
There is not a greater thing that we can realize than that the "earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it"
Jacob understood who his God was … God Almighty … is the Hebrews El-Shaddai.
God told Abraham in Gen 17:1 “I am El-Shaddai (God Almighty) walk before me!
Jacob learned from his Father and Grandfather that God is Lord over everything and everything we do is in his presence and all things are under his authority
Psalm 91 says He who dwells in the shelter of the most high will rest in the shadow of The Almighty (El-Shaddai) I will say of the Lord, “he is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
He goes on to say
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Youw ill not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day …
Jacob was faithful because he knew he was not perfect, he knew he was not right but he know God was faithful and he stayed close to him he stayed in his “shadow”
And this faithful Jacob knew something else
He knew that our
C. Present situation or location has no bearing on the veracity of God’s promises.
What did Jacob recount in verse 4? He knew that God was going to make him fruitful, increase, make him a community of peoples, and give him Canaan as an everlasting possession to his descendants …
Where is Jacob in Genesis 48? Egypt
Where was he going to die? Egypt
But he knew that his current situation, his current location didn’t negate the promises of our Almighty God,
Abraham lived in tents because he believed he was heading to a greater city.
Don’t let your current circumstances determine what you believe about the future
Jacob was in Egypt but he knew that his death in Egypt didn’t end the promises of God and so Jacob told them to bury him in the land of Promise
- the faithful saint who is buried at sea, or in an unmarked grave, or burned in an accident doesn’t fear that when the resurrection happens God will forget where they are or not be able to return their body to a perfect state …
God will not fail to fulfill his promises
Do not judge God’s Promises by what you now see in the physical … He is faithful, remain faithful
Jacob was a Grandfather full of faith
Our 2nd Principle then is
2. Faith in the Next Generation
We need to be careful as we get older that we don’t act like we don’t believe in or trust those coming behind us
We can get a little skeptical when we get older can’t we?
We can withdraw and try protect our territory, our position, our styles our plans … but we need to inspire, equip, train, and release the next generation. If we do not what we have will not go on into the next generation because every one of us is going to die, if the Lord delays his coming … so
We need to
A. Bring them in
he said “your sons … born … before I came … will be reckoned as mine”
Jacob brought them in to the family.
He could have said “you aren’t mine … you weren’t born in my house, you weren’t born in my land, you are foreigners”
But he didn’t
Because of Jacob it became part of the DNA of Israel to welcome foreigners
Exo 22:21 – you must not mistreat … foreigners … Remember you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt
Lev 19:34 Treat them like native born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember youw ere once foreigners …
Deut 10:19 So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt
One of the things I am pleased about here at New Life is that you senior saints are willing to bring in the younger saints.
It is what we must do.
That should include those who do not yet know Christ or who have come from a different background when need to bring them, have room for them make a place for them
Eph 2:12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the coveants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world
Anyone here BORN a Christian?
No you weren’t, but you became a child of God, and we need to be bringing in others
Who brought you in?
But not only did he bring them
B. Expect Greatness
V16 … “may they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac upon the earth and may they increase greatly upon the earth”
You know he could have said what Grandparents sometimes do … “Just keep them out of trouble and keep them out of my way, make sure they don’t get arrested.” He could have said “give them an Egyptian name, don’t tell anyone they are mine until they do something good”
But he said “give them my name” … Most likely these boys had been given Egyptian names as well. They were born to Joseph and an Egyptian woman whose father was the priest a pagan god of the son in the city of Heliopolis
Jacob said these boys will be remembered as sons who followed the Most High My Boys and they will do GREAT Things …
We need to speak great things of the next generation
Do you speak positively of those coming behind you?
What about those here in this church the younger generations do we expect great things from them?
Jacob expected great things of these boys and as his Father had done for him and as he did for his own sons, he
C. Blessed Them
Oh what a beautiful blessing he gives these boys
Gen 48:15-16 May the God before whom my fathers, Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm – may he bless these boys
Do you know what he was wanting for them?
He wanted them to KNOW and Experience the God he knew
The Angel who has delivered me from all harm … or a literal rendering is FROM ALL EVIL
Oh that takes us back to Gen 32 … when Jacob got his TOUCH from the Angel of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and he never walked the same, remember he was leaning on his staff, his cane, when he gave this blessing. He probably tapped his cane and said “the angel who delivered me from evil, who changed me for life May HE bless these boys"
Don’t let them be blessed by the wonders of Egypt but by the wonders of God Almighty
Oh if we want the generation that comes after us to succeed in the things of God we need to Bless them challenge them call them to it and challenge them to find their greatness in the things of God not the things of the world.
The third principle in this Grandfather of Faith is
3. Faith in God’s Leading
Jacob loved these boys. They were like an extension of the boys that Rachel wasn’t able to give him.
So they were special to him. He took them on his knee, which must have been a sight because they were probably 21 years old or more. J which by the way is the age of adulthood … so he was telling them you are grown it’s time to make your choice and be counted among God’s people …
Jacob couldn’t see well so Joseph put the older son, Manasseh on his right hand and Ephraim, the younger on his left. Because tradition said the Right hand of blessing was better and went to the older.
But old blind Jacob was still sharp, and he switched his hand
He didn’t follow tradition
He followed God
Perhaps a little thing here but he switched his hands and blessed the younger one more greatly than the older in response to the Lord’s leading.
Joseph said “Dad, you got the wrong one”
Jacob said “I didn’t mess up, and I didn’t do it because I like him better or was trying to be funny, or because I was the younger one too … he said
he too (Manasseh) will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he
And you should know that this Faith became sight
400 years later in the wilderness Ephraim was larger than Manasseh and was the Standard bearer for the group that. When they were counted by men older then 21 Ephraim was 8,000 more than Manasseh. So they led the Western Group as the tribes marched out North, South, East, and West of the Tabernacle of God.
Jacob blessed as he did under the leading of El Shaddai
So the one of faith responds not on a whim or personal preferences but as God leads
And finally the last principle from this Grandfather of Faith
4. Die with the Faith of a Pilgrim
The staff was the implement of someone on the move. Are you still on the move or have you stopped where you are?
How do you keep on moving even in your old age?
A. Leaned on his staff
What are you going to lean on when you are old?
Are you going to lean on your 401k? You might eat from your 401k. You might have a house that your retirement is paying for but are you leaning on it?
Your 401k won’t take you into Eternity
Your retirement won’t cover a house on the streets of Gold
Your accomplishments won’t get you a crown in glory
- Jacob leaned on his staff …
Jacob met Jesus face to face at Peniel.
When he was scared because he was facing his past sins, and the justice his brother was going to bring on him, he MET JESUS. He wrestled with Jesus all night long.
And finally at morning, asking for a blessing, broken before a Holy God, and God the Son, The Angel of the Lord, touched his hip, put it out of socket.
Then he changed his name to Israel.
Gen 32:31 says he was limping because of his hip.
That day he met the God who delivered him from evil he said and 2 Tim 4:18 says the Lord will rescue me from ever evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.
What he leaned on in his old age was his relationship with Jesus Christ
What are you leaning on?
B. Worshipped AS he leaned …
Saints let us be careful that as we grow older we don’t stop worshipping. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in worship wars, thoughts, musical styles, preferences and forget to worship.
Every generation has worshipped in their voice. And especially in a multi-generational church it is easy to say, “they don’t do my songs any more” … and fail to worship
We still worship the same Lord.
It is also easy to lose our passion for intimacy with God as we become challenged with the changes of life and say “well that’s for the young” … oh no, if this life is heaven practice, the older you get the closer you are to the real deal, so intensify your practice and don’t stop worshipping
C. Let your Children / Grandchildren see you finish well
with a focus on the Kingdom as it is being broadened here and the Kingdom that is to come in our real home
- How do you finish well?
By sitting on the sideline?
Do you finish well by stopping running?
Do you finish well by saying “let someone else do it”?
No you finish well by … come on … what is the word?
A Faithful Grandfather, Jacob finished well
His last wish was not to be left in Egypt but to be taken to the place where his Father was buried. Why? It was symbolic of his expectation for the future.
Gen 49:29 I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave … which Abraham bought as a burial place …
- Expecting the move of God
- Straining for the finish line with his last breath.
The leading generations of our church
What will you leave behind?
Look around who needs to be called up into service?
What young ones need to be pulled up and blessed for the future?
Which ones do we need to remind that they are grown now, they are adults and it’s time to join the ranks of the serving and not the served.
These are the responsibilities of the faithful older saints
Was born in 1608. He started writing poetry when he was 9. He was an accomplished scholar and musician as well. He was first published in 1641. He spoke out for free press and for the rights of the people to deal with a guilty sovereign after the execution of Charles I. He was a minister of the government. But his eyesight began to fail him. And then, worse yet, the monarchy returned in 1660 in Charles II.
He went into hiding and then was arrested for his Puritan pamphlets which were burned. Friends in the court kept him from prosecution.
But then as an aging blind man with little money, he started writing again. At 4 or 5 each morning he started his day with listening to the Bible over Breakfast and writing until noon. He would take a walk, play the organ for an hour and work till night. He began writing:
"Of man’s disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe
With loss of Eden"
And this old aging blind man, didn’t stop running and sit on the sideline he wrote a Ten Thousand Line Epic Poem Paradise Lost. He completed it in 1667. It was published and swept the world with nearly as much impact as The King James Bible or the works of Shakespeare. Oh but he wasn’t done. He wrote Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes recounting how the old Blinded Samson did more than he did when he was young and sighted.
Hmmm do you think Milton related to Samson?
- Faith propelled him forward and he found triumph in the end.