Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Humanity in Sin Part 40 : Jacob Met Esau

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev.Dr.Stephen Tong on 20th January 2007 in Newton Life. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: Genesis 33

Jacob was a great fighter. It is important to have fighting spirit but the motivation is also important. If we fight for the Kingdom of God, we are like Jesus Christ. If we fight for our own gain, we are like Satan. Jesus sought God’s glory and humbled Himself during His life on earth, and as a result God lifted Him up. His humility was active and His exaltation was passive. But Satan elevated himself, and was cast down by God. So his pride was active and his humiliation was passive.

In his life, Jacob grabbed hold of many opportunities for his own gain. But after he was touched by God, his life changed.

Now Jacob put himself right in front to meet Esau. Behind him were his wives and children. As a responsible husband and father, he met the danger first. He had prevailed when he wrestled with the Angel of God the night before and had been limped. Now he no longer relied on himself or saw himself that great. He was willing to sacrifice himself and take care of others first. When new life comes, we will have new boldness, new love, new strength. A great character is one who is the first to face difficulty and the last to rush into gain.

When Esau arrived, there were no weapons. They embraced each other and wept. The people we hate might not be as evil as we think than they are. We often think others are worse than we are. Such tendency itself reveals that we are bad people. We tend to be very pessimistic but a lot of what we worry about would not happen. If we take away 80% of those thoughts of worry and replace them with thoughts on how to advance in the kingdom of God, the church will have revival.

Jacob knelt 7 times before he met his brother. He was begging for mercy. It was difficult for a crippled person to get up after bowing down. All his wives and children also did the same thing. The whole family submitted to Jacob. Esau must have felt very weird that as brothers Jacob would pay such obeisance to him. But the strange thing was also that Esau did not bring his own family, but instead he brought 400 men. That aggravated Jacob’s fear that Esau might be coming to harm him.

However, Esau talked to Jacob as though nothing ever happened in the past. Esau wanted Jacob to follow him to Seir. But Jacob refused by giving the reason that the children and the livestocks could not follow their fast pace. He said he would follow behind and eventually reach Seir. However, Jacob did not go to Seir. He went to another place and built his own house. Since Jacob left home and went to Laban’s, he never had a house of his own. This was the first time he built his own house and settled. The hatred, mischief and deceptions of the past had ended here.

Jacob’s life was full of dramatic events. He was the first person in the lineage of the patriachs that had many wives. But that was not his own initiative. Later on, he would continue to face a lot of strife in his family. Through the life of Jacob, the Scripture teaches us many important principles in life and human relationships.


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