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Invisible God

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The Book of Beginnings  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:57
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Are you willing to leave what you can see for the God you cannot?

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INTRO
The New American Commentary: Genesis 11:27–50:26 8. Jacob Deceives Laban (31:1–55[32:1])

The chapter consists of four scenes: (1) the decision to flee (vv. 1–16); (2) the flight and deceptions (vv. 17–21); (3) the overtaking of the fleeing party and the dispute (vv. 22–44); and (4) the peaceful settlement of the disputing parties (vv. 45–55). The four scenes are essentially a series of speeches that are connected by brief narratives.

4 Main Sections
V 1-16 being the Decision to Depart
Illustration of need addressed.
1-16 being the Decision to Depart
V 17-21 covering Jacob and Rachel's deception of Laban
17-21 covering Jacob and Rachel's deception of Laba
V 22-44 which is the Dispute Between Jacob and Laban
which is the Dispute Between Jacob and Laban
V45-55 is the Covenant Between Jacob and Laban.
s the Covenant Between Jacob and Laban.
Context
5 W’s and the 1 H
Who
5 W’s and the 1 H
What
Why
Where
When
How
Moses - Israel - Exodus
Type / Pace of the text?
Why is this section of the narrative important for Israel?
Why write this in this way to these people at this time, what is the point?
God
Man
Command
Promise
Warning
How then does this apply to me today in light of systematic and biblical theology? (NT Believer)
Connect illustration to present day hearers.
Transition = Show this need or similar issue was also the question behind the biblical text.
Clearly state the theme of the text/sermon.
Title & Text
Invisible God
Theme
Pray
THE SERMON BODY
Genesis 31:1–16 ESV
1 Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.” 2 And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him with favor as before. 3 Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” 4 So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was 5 and said to them, “I see that your father does not regard me with favor as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I have served your father with all my strength, 7 yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not permit him to harm me. 8 If he said, ‘The spotted shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore spotted; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped. 9 Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me. 10 In the breeding season of the flock I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream that the goats that mated with the flock were striped, spotted, and mottled. 11 Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am!’ 12 And he said, ‘Lift up your eyes and see, all the goats that mate with the flock are striped, spotted, and mottled, for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now arise, go out from this land and return to the land of your kindred.’ ” 14 Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house? 15 Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and he has indeed devoured our money. 16 All the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do.”
Following outline from:
The New American Commentary: Genesis 11:27–50:26 (1) Decision to Depart (31:1–16)

Whereas they could not rely on their father’s word, they turn to their husband’s God.

Mathews, K. A. . Vol. 1B. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2005.
Mathews, K. A. . Vol. 1B. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2005.
1-16 = DECISION TO DEPART
1-3 = Dissension and Divine Directive
Genesis 31:1–3 ESV
1 Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.” 2 And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him with favor as before. 3 Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.”
Gen 31
4-13 = Jacob’s Defense
4 = summons
5-7 = labans schemes
8-9 = cheating wages
10-13 = the dream theophany
14-16 = Wives Consent to Leave
Genesis 31:14–16 ESV
14 Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house? 15 Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and he has indeed devoured our money. 16 All the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do.”
BLANK SLIDE
Husbands are you including your wife in the decisions for your family? Husbands are you leading your family as God would have you lead? Wives are you allowing and encouraging your husband to take charge and follow after God, or are you impeding them?
Husbands are you including your wife in the decisions for your family? Husbands are you leading your family as God would have you lead? Wives are you allowing and encouraging your husband to take charge and follow after God, or are you impeding them?
Proverbs 31:11 ESV
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
(ESV) — 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
Do you have the faith of Jacob? Are you willing to submit to the leading of the LORD? “Whatever God has said to you, do!” is this your resolve?
1 Samuel 15:22 ESV
22 And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.
1 Sam 15
Are you willing to submit to the leading of the LORD? “Whatever God has said to you, do!” is this your resolve?
Do you have the faith of Jacob? Are you willing to submit to the leading of the LORD? “Whatever God has said to you, do!” is this your resolve?
POINT 1
When God calls we must obey.
17-21 = JACOB AND RACHEL DECEIVE LABAN
Genesis 31:19–20 ESV
19 Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods. 20 And Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean, by not telling him that he intended to flee.
Gen 31.
Why steal the idols?
help with fertility
for divination / protection during the journey
to guard against Laban using them
future claim on Laban’s inheritance
It would appear from scripture her motivation was her own personal protection and blessing
Isaiah 46:1–2 ESV
1 Bel bows down; Nebo stoops; their idols are on beasts and livestock; these things you carry are borne as burdens on weary beasts. 2 They stoop; they bow down together; they cannot save the burden, but themselves go into captivity.
Proverbs 3:5 ESV
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Genesis 35:2 ESV
2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments.
Gen
Why not tell Laban?
- No longer had his favor
- He was afraid
Matthew 10:28 ESV
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Husbands are you including your wife in the decisions for your family? Husbands are you leading your family as God would have you lead? Wives are you allowing and encouraging your husband to take charge and follow after God, or are you impeding them?
Proverbs 31:11 (ESV) — 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
Proverbs 29:25 ESV
25 The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
BLANK SLIDE
trust in the tightrope walker...
What are you afraid of? Where in your life are you being obedient in practice but not in your heart? Are you secretly content with the appearance of obedience without true heart change? Where are you seeking to do God’s will while still holding onto your own old idols?
POINT 2
We must be obedient to God’s ways not just His words.
22-44 = JACOB AND LABAN DISPUTE
22-25 = Laban Confronts Jacob = CLIMAX…!?!?
22-23 = 3 day head start / seven day pursuit
Genesis 31:24 ESV
24 But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”
c
Like his fathers before him God steps in and reveals himself to those who would oppose His chosen.
Like Israel after, God would also step in and protect His people.
26-32 = Laban Accuses and Jacob Rebuts
26-30 = charges of deception and theft
Genesis 31:26–30 ESV
26 And Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you have tricked me and driven away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27 Why did you flee secretly and trick me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre? 28 And why did you not permit me to kiss my sons and my daughters farewell? Now you have done foolishly. 29 It is in my power to do you harm. But the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30 And now you have gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house, but why did you steal my gods?”
Genesis 31:26–27 ESV
26 And Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you have tricked me and driven away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27 Why did you flee secretly and trick me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre?
Gen 31:
26 - Laban was out of touch with his daughters.
27 - Laban had a warped view of his own character.
30 - Laban was out of touch with reality!
Genesis 31:30 ESV
30 And now you have gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house, but why did you steal my gods?”
Judges 18:24 ESV
24 And he said, “You take my gods that I made and the priest, and go away, and what have I left? How then do you ask me, ‘What is the matter with you?’ ”
thief breaking in and stealing toilet paper rolls!
31-32 = jacob’s rebuttal - fear - integrity
Can we answer this way!?
Hebrews 13:18 ESV
18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.
33-35 = Rachel’s Ruse - uncleanness
36-44 = Jacob’s Complaints and Laban’s Offer
36-42 = jacob’s anger
43-44 = laban’s compromise
Genesis 31:36–42 ESV
36 Then Jacob became angry and berated Laban. Jacob said to Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me? 37 For you have felt through all my goods; what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsmen and your kinsmen, that they may decide between us two. 38 These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams of your flocks. 39 What was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you. I bore the loss of it myself. From my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40 There I was: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41 These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.”
Genesis 31:36–44 ESV
36 Then Jacob became angry and berated Laban. Jacob said to Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me? 37 For you have felt through all my goods; what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsmen and your kinsmen, that they may decide between us two. 38 These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams of your flocks. 39 What was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you. I bore the loss of it myself. From my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40 There I was: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41 These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.” 43 Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day for these my daughters or for their children whom they have borne? 44 Come now, let us make a covenant, you and I. And let it be a witness between you and me.”
Gen 31:36-44
Jacob defends his Integrity [36-37]
Gen 31:
1 Peter 2:12 ESV
12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Jacob defends his Character [38-41]
Jacob gives glory and honor to God [42]
BLANK SLIDE
God often sends difficult people to us who have the peculiar gift of bringing out the worst in us. Those difficult people force us to come to grips with our hidden weaknesses. Jacob had lived his life relying on trickery and deceit to get what he wanted. Uncle Laban turned the tables on Jacob, forcing him to take a dose of his own medicine. After Haran, Jacob would at least think twice before cheating someone else.
God often sends difficult people to us who have the peculiar gift of bringing out the worst in us. Those difficult people force us to come to grips with our hidden weaknesses. Jacob had lived his life relying on trickery and deceit to get what he wanted. Uncle Laban turned the tables on Jacob, forcing him to take a dose of his own medicine. After Haran, Jacob would at least think twice before cheating someone else.
Keith Krell - The senior pastor of Fourth Memorial Church in Spokane, WA and associate professor of biblical exposition at Moody Bible Institute [Between a Rock and a Hard Place]
Where are you seeking to fight your own fights and win your own battles? Who are you serving? Do you believe that God sees and hears your affliction and will one day reconcile it on His own? Do you view obedience to God as worth the personal cost to yourself?
POINT 3
We must find our success on the road of sanctification even when it’s marked with suffering.
43-44 = laban’s compromise
45-55 = JACOB AND LABAN AGREE - like his forefathers
14-16
45-47 = Stone Witness
stone pillar - after the dream
proof of separation
Aramean - different people group = Syria
Aramean
different language like Babel
different gods… elohim - general god
48-53a = Peace Agreement
53b-54 = Oath & Covenant Meal
Genesis 31:53–54 ESV
53 The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac, 54 and Jacob offered a sacrifice in the hill country and called his kinsmen to eat bread. They ate bread and spent the night in the hill country.
55 = Farewell
Genesis 31:53–55 ESV
53 The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac, 54 and Jacob offered a sacrifice in the hill country and called his kinsmen to eat bread. They ate bread and spent the night in the hill country. 55 Early in the morning Laban arose and kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned home.
Ultimately Laban chose SELF
Saw God’s blessings in Jacob
Experienced God’s power first hand
Rather than seeking to follow the truth of God’s plan, as witnessed by Jacob, he merely resented and coveted the blessing of God on Jacob. In his vigorous pursuit of worldly success, he lost his family, his wealth, and his hope of eternal life in Christ. He chose poorly!
Rather than seeking to follow the truth of God’s plan, as witnessed by Jacob, he merely resented and coveted the blessing of God on Jacob. In his vigorous pursuit of worldly success, he lost his family, his wealth, and his hope of eternal life in Christ. He chose poorly!
Keith Krell
Ecclesiastes 4:4 ESV
4 Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
Mark 8:36 ESV
36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
Mk 8.36
BLANK SLIDE
When you look at this narrative if you were to take an honest account of whom you are most often like who would you best relate to Laban or Jacob? Where are you most tempted to turn away from God and follow self?
POINT 4
We must choose this day whom we will serve.

Why write this to Israel?

Why is this section of the narrative important for Israel?
Israel in Egypt
Why is this section of the narrative important for Israel?
Israel in Egypt
Years of Oppression
God’s Provision / Blessing / Command to leave
Enemy's pursuit
God’s protection / Return land of promise
Choice to serve / submit / recognize and worship
Jacob was being called by God to leave the known for the unknown, to step out in faith trusting that God would protect him and provide for him as He calls him to return to the land of promise which is inhabited by his enemy!

How then does this apply to us today?

How then does this apply to me today

Sometimes it is hard to see the invisible God even when His work is evident.
Main points should support the theme.
points should follow textual sequence unless good reason to change.
use simple and clear transitions to give structure to movement.
= Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen
Use verse references before quoting so that listeners can read along.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen
Use personal observances to illustrate difficult concepts.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016), .
CONCLUSION

“FAITH IS A LIVING, DARING CONFIDENCE IN GOD’S GRACE, SO SURE AND CERTAIN THAT A MAN COULD STAKE HIS LIFE ON IT A THOUSAND TIMES.”

Be brief.
Don’t introduce new material.
Hebrews 11:27 ESV
27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.
narrow the focus don’t expand it.
Clinch the goal.
Give concrete applications.
LUTHER QUOTE
“FAITH IS A LIVING, DARING CONFIDENCE IN GOD’S GRACE, SO SURE AND CERTAIN THAT A MAN COULD STAKE HIS LIFE ON IT A THOUSAND TIMES.”
Martin Luther
“FAITH IS A LIVING, DARING CONFIDENCE IN GOD’S GRACE, SO SURE AND CERTAIN THAT A MAN COULD STAKE HIS LIFE ON IT A THOUSAND TIMES.”
Goal
God is calling us out of the seen to the unseen!
Application
Let us seek to follow God in FAITH.
CLOSE
Pray
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What it stands for
Warning
Communion Verses
COMMUNION TOGETHER
Fellowship With Each Other
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