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God's Ladder Can Reach You

Mark Finley
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Do you try to take God's work into your own hands? Do you lack the patience to wait for God and His timing? In this video Pastor Mark Finley shares a sermon message about hope, faith and trust in God. We'll learn from the story of Jacob and Esau when you're in a time of trouble, God's timing is best. Watch and listen as Pastor Mark Finley speaks and teaches from the word of God.

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Mark Finley

Assistant to President for Evangelism at the General Conference

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  • October 19, 2020
    6:31 PM
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A number of years ago there were some researchers that were researching about resume and researching about hope now often these researchers will do their research on experimental animals and so they were doing research on rats and they took 2 tubs of water and as they took those 2 types of water they put one group of rats in one tub of water and they wanted to find out how long those rats could survive and within one hour every one of those rats die they drown they took another group of rats and they put them in a tub next to that and they waited like 5 or 10 minutes and they to put their hand in pulled the rat out then they put it back in the water pulled the rat out put it back in the water those rats swam for 24 hours not one of them drowned and so the researchers began asking why did this happen in this is the conclusion they think came not because the rats were given a rest but because suddenly they had hope the animals hope that if they could just stay afloat for a little longer somebody would reach into that pay and that tub and pull them out now if hope holds such power for other thinking rodents what a greater affection hope have on our lives no matter what circumstance we're going through the director of a medical clinic told the story of a terminally ill terminally ill young man this young man came in to have his regular treatment he wasn't expected to live very long but he was not aware of that as the young man left. He was the treatment is head was in his hands the images crying you're sobbing so the director of the medical treatment said well why you sobbing so much you said well when the doctor came in the doctor said this you don't know this but you have about a year to live and as the young man left he stopped by the director's desk and he wept and he said that May and took away my hope I guess he did the director said but you better find a new hope or else you won't live commenting on this experiment a psychologist by the name of Louis merit is wrote Is there a hope when hope is taking away it's a question to raise when all your hope is gone is there still hope is there hope when the situation is hopeless I don't know what situation you're facing today maybe it's with your health maybe it's with your children maybe it's with your marriage maybe it's with your finances is there hope for you when the situation appears hopeless now that question leads us to the Christian hope for in the Bible hope is no longer a passion for the possible it becomes a passion for the promise I don't want you to miss that see in the Bible hope is not some passion for the impossible hope is a passion for the promise it leads us to cling to and believe in the promises of God Now the Bible is filled with hopeful promises I'd like you to take your Bible and Turn to Romans Chapter 15 Romans the 15th chapter and we're looking there at the 4th verse Romans 15 verse 4. For whatever things were written before that ceased speaking about the Old Testament whatever things were written before Romans 15 what verse Everybody is it for for whatever things were written before were written for our learning that we through the patient and comfort of the scriptures might have hope so the purpose of the stories of the Old Testament is to give us hope that as we study them and see the experiences that the Old Testament giants of faith went through sometimes they walked through valleys sometimes they saying on mountain tops Sometimes they went through storms sometimes the days were fair sometimes their lives were engulfed in darkness other times the light of grace was shining upon them but as we read those stories our hearts too can be filled with hope now notice carefully the experiences of the Old Testament relievers were recorded for one reason to give us hope one of the most discouraging yet hopeful stories in all of the Old Testament is the story of Jacob Jacob story is a story of hope amidst failure it's a story of hope amidst defeat it's a story of deceit lies anger and broken relationships but it's a story of repentance confession forgiveness new life in joy it's a story of fleeing from God and meeting God It's the story of turning what appeared to be a disaster into a blessing it's a story of Jacob. Now it's particularly relevant for an end time people who will pass through what scripture call Jacobs trouble we're going to study that a little bit later but let's go back and look at a biography of Jos of Jacob's life and in that life we see 5 thesis of Jacob's life in every one of those phases we see lessons lessons that jump out at us lessons that shouted us lessons of defeat and victory lessons of sorrow and joy lessons of hopelessness and hope let's go back to the birth of Jacob Jacob and Isaac Jacob and Esau were the children of Isaac and Rebecca they were twin brothers Esau was born shortly before Jacob now they're twins but Esau as born just a little bit before and as the result Esau was the rightful inheritor of the birthright blessing yet at Jacob's birth God gives His mother Rebecca a promise now you're going to read read that promise with me Genesis 25 verse 23 here there is the birthright promise not remember which of these 2 children were born 1st which one was born 1st Esau So which one should have been the rightful inheritor of the birthright promise who should have been Esau but who was Jacob you got it Genesis Chapter 25 we're looking there at verse 23 so God gave a promise right at the birth of Esau and Jake up in here is the promise Genesis 25 verse 23 and the Lord said to her to who her to who Rebecca the mother of Jake. 2 nations are in your womb who are those 2 nations Jake up in East or 2 people shall be separated from your body one people shall be stronger than the other the older shall serve the younger so the older one Esau would serve Jacob another words Jacob would receive the birth right now as the boys grew Esau loved hunting he loved adventure he didn't like staying around the tent with his mother very often so he was out in the fields hunting game bringing the game back to his father Esau was Isaac's favorite Unfortunately there was simply a rivalry in the home the Jacob stayed around the home he often would prepare meals with his mother and j. and j. could had more of a spiritual leaning more of a spiritual inclination Rebecca especially wanted Jake up to have the birth right so she often lobbied with her husband Isaac and she loved beat him to give the birthright blessing to Jake Isaac wasn't buying it he knew that Esau was born 1st and by the way Esau was a man's name when he was out there hunting he was adventuresome his like his father the birthright was going to go as far as Isaac was going Cern to Esau Now what did Rebeca know from the birth of Jacob what did she know she knew that God had promised Jake the birthright she knew that what did shake up no he knew about the birthright one day Rebeca overheard a conversation with Isaac and her son he saw in the conversation really troubled her. Genesis Chapter 27 Rebecca makes a serious mistake at this juncture she overhears a conversation and she feels that she has to go into action she has to step into action Genesis 27 where looking there at the 5th verse what did she under what did she overhear ladies be careful what you overhear your husband saying to your children God could have a way to solve that problem without your influence lady all right Genesis Chapter 27 we're looking here at verse 5 Rebecca was listening what was she doing she was listening to Rebecca was listening when I saw exposed to you saw a son and you saw went out to the field to hunt game to bring it so Rebecca spoke to Jake a person saying indeed I heard your father speak to ease or your brother saying Bring Me game and make me so every food that I may eat it and bless you with the pay of presence of the Lord before my death now therefore my son obey my voice according to my command you go out to the fuck bring me to choice kids of goats and I'll make food and then you go in to your father so he can bless you what was Rebeck are doing here taking God's work in turn her own hands rather than trusting God she overheard a conversation between Isaac and Esau Esau goes out to hunt the game and what happens Rebecca says look look he's going to get the blessing I better help got out here I better help got out here I better do something have you ever been patient mama and you thought you better help got out here you better help got out here that's what happened to Isaac and Rebecca. And in their family and that's what happened to Jake up and that's what happened you saw it so we saw goes out into the field to get the favorite game no I should add this so we understand when a Jewish father was going to give the birthright to his son it was ordinary that they would have a feast for the entire family and that feast then at that feast the birthright would be given to the son but here Isaac was going to have a private neo with Esau and b. star out the birth right blessing on him at that point now rather than waiting for God's timing rather than allowing God to solve the problem in his own way rather than trusting God by fate Jake up in his mother resorted to deceit lying and misrepresentation urged on by his mother Rebecca Jacob deceived his father and lied about his advantage he desired the birthright that was soon to be given to his older brother Esau Now what was the root of Jacob's problem if you really boil this down what was the root of Jacob's problem the root of Jacob's problem was really a lie in 2 areas one was lack of faith that God could accomplish what God promised that was one problem but the other problem rooted The problem was self pity self Esau does not deserve this birthright I do Rebecca's problem self pity my husband is moving faster to give the birthright to Esau this is not right. And both Jacob and his mother believed that they were being treated unfairly they believe that they were beetroot being treated unjustly they believe that things should not be like that and as the result of that they took their lives out of the hands of God and acted in ways that later brought them great disaster now was Jake up more qualified than Esau to have the birthright absolutely see the inheritor of the birthright had 3 specific responsibilities number one the firstborn who received the birthright had preeminence over the entire family so they were like the the father of the family Secondly the firstborn who received the birthright was the spiritual leader of the family so they became the spiritual leader of the family Jacob was much more spiritual in his inclinations than Esau was Thirdly the 1st born to receive the birthright was the inheritor of most of the father's wealth that's what he saw Wanted Esau wasn't concerned about leaving the family he wasn't concerned about the responsibilities that he would have to lead the family be a council God he wasn't concerned about spiritual leadership Esau wanted the wealth of his father because Isaac had a lot of flux the problem with 3 Becca and with Jacob was that rather than trusting God they pitied themselves they said look this is not fair this is this this is not just this is not right now Ellen White Right seen patriarchs and prophets page 180 this insightful statement Jacob and Rebekka succeeded in their purpose but they gained only trouble and sorrow by their deception. God had declared that Jacob should receive the birthright and his word would have been fulfilled in his own time had they waited in faith for him to work for them when the situation in your life appears hopeless do not take yourself out of God's hands and do something rationally when the situation in your life appears hopeless trust in God that he is going to fulfill his promise is for you now I continue God had declared that Jacob should receive the birthright and his word would have been fulfilled in his own time had they waited in faith for him to work for them but like many like like like who wasn't once that word but like who many and many is many like many who now profess to be children of God do we profess to be children of God Sure. They were unwilling to leave the matter in his hands there are some times that the best thing you can do is nothing you missed it did you get it this there are some times that the best thing you can do is nothing and leave your life in God's hands and watch what God is going to do living a life of dependence living a life of trust living a life of faith but many continue to read pétrus and prophets when eating but like many who profess to be children of God they were unwilling to leave the matter in his hands Rebecca bitterly repented of the wrong counsel she had given to her son it was the means of separating him from her and she never saw his face again when Jacob fled from his home he left for 20 years and his mother never saw him again. She made a rash decision and because of that decision she suffered for the rest of her life but what about Jacob from the hour when he received the birthright Jacob was weighed down with self condemnation he had sinned against his father his brother and his own soul and against God and in one short hour he made work of life long repentance there are times when the situation appears hopeless in your finances you make some crazy decision there are times when the situation appears hopeless in your health and you make some foolish decision there is Sun Times the situation Piers hopeless in your marriage or with your kids you make some foolishness that you look back on that you think God why did I haven't do that why did he ever do that if you live in lifelong sorrow lessons echoing react go down the century from an Old Testament story that speaks to an end time people in this generation like Jacob believe that the birthright should be is not his brothers he with felt left out and unjustly treated his attitude was summed up in these words poor me my brother is receiving the birthright and it's mine I shouldn't be treated unjustly I found it amazing quote by Stephen Fry he makes this insightful statement about self pity and this what he says self-pity will destroy relationships you'll destroy anything that's good it will fulfill all the prophecies it makes and leave only itself. And it's so simple to imagine that one is hard done by that things are unfair that one isn't appreciated that if only one had a chance at this only one had a chance at that things would get better you'd be happier if only this that one is unlucky all those things and some of them may be true but the pity oneself as the result of them is to do oneself an enormous disservice self-pity Lead Jake up to lying and deceit lying and deceit lead to a fractured relationship with his brother Esau it led to separation from his father and his mother It led him on a 20 year journey from home now when he saw our return from his hunting expedition and learned that Jacob had gotten the blessing Esau was so incredibly angry that Esau made a decision to kill Jacob his he was furious his one desire was to kill his brother so now Rebecca overhears his plans again and urges Jake up to flee sin has its consequences filled with guilt Jacob flees as a fugitive he would never see his mother again the relationship they once had was over forever driven by a condemning conscience he began the long arduous journey from birth Sheba to Haran the home of his mother's brother Laban see Rebecca's brother was Laban and therefore she felt that Jacob put at least have some protection and some comfort they are so she said You must go he left head is head headed for Heron it was a 500 mile journey for she is in the south of this Rio and Heron is on the border of Turkey. Jacob's heart is heavy he wanders a load 500 miles an hour can you imagine it is wandering 500 miles after 2 days traveling through the barren desert it probably took him a month to get there he's ever on the lookout for bandits he's on the lookout for hostile tribes he's exhausted his heart's heavy he's consumed with guilt He's weary he lied to his father deceived his brother he's separated from his family he's distant from everything that is familiar No you can imagine this he's walking through the desert it's hot he's sweating the sand blows he's dirty his head is down his head is swirling he travels for 2 days alone he has to travel for a month we re alone exhausted guilt ridden too tired to take another step Jake up lays down on the cold ground with a rock is a pill he goes to sleep but God breaks through history. And gives the fleeting fugitive reassurance of his presence to take your Bible Genesis 28 now notice something absolutely critical in this story at this point Jake up was not seeking God God was seeking Jacob at this point Jacob is not seeking God God is speaking Jake. God looks down on Jacob's hopelessness God looks down and Jacob's despair God looks down on Jacob's guilt and we look here at Genesis 28 verse 11 and 12 Genesis 28 verse 11 and 12 so he came to a certain place this is Jacob he's tired he's weary he's exhausted he's guilt ridden so we came to a certain place and stayed there all night because the sun had set and he took one of the stones that place of that place and he put it in his head and he lay down in that place to sleep then he dreamed that a jury and behold a ladder was set up on the earth and its top reached to heaven and there were angels of God ascending and descending and behold the Lord stood above it and said I am the Lord God of Abraham your father in the God of Isaac the land on which you are I will give you in your descendants I let your eyes drop down to verse 15 be old I am with you God makes 4 promises to Jacob Jacob is filled with despair Jacob is filled with guilt Jacob is hopeless Jacob is a load and God makes 4 promises to him it is not that Jacob is coming to God It's that God is coming to Jacob the latter reaches where you are. Wherever you are in life journey today Christ comes to you he descends staff on the ladder of heaven Jesus meet you where you are in your hopelessness he meets you where you are in your grief and God made for promises to j. company makes more promises to you here's his promises verse 15 Behold I am with you Jacob I'm with you in your kill Jacob I'm with you in your sorrow Jacob pub with you and your disappointment Jacob I'm with you in your hopelessness promise number one you see what a reassuring promise to Jacob what a reassuring promise to Jacob Jacob is wandering a load he's away from his father away from his mother he's away from his descendants he's tired and exhausted in God says Jacob you may be alone and you may feel hopeless but I am with you promise number one promise Number 2 I will keep you or ever you go in other words I'm going to preserve you Chaika I'm going to preserve you your life is not for nothing your life is not in the cheek a poll done promise number one I'm with you promise number 2 I'm going to keep you promise number 3 I will bring you back to this land Jacob years may pass Jacob decades may pass but shake up I'm going to bring you back to this land because I have a purpose for your life no notice the last one until I have done what I have spoken to you another words Jacob I'm with you Jacob I'm going to preserve you Jake I'm going to bring you back to this land Jake up I have a destiny for you and I'm not going to let your life collapse and hopelessness God is speaking to somebody here today God is touching somebody is hard today God is saying to you I have a destiny for you God is think you have a plan for you God is saying to you I have the latter descended right where you are now what came up and down that ladder one came up and down that ladder when one came up and down angels Jesus is the latter he meets us where we are. The latter of course represents Jesus the one who links fall in humanity with the turtle delights of Heaven's perfect world Jesus reach issue where you are whatever your circumstances angels go up and down that ladder because of Christ and minister to our hearts broken relationships fractured friendships hurting marriages the outer reaches where you are failures mistakes guilt condemnation a sordid past that haunts you the latter reaches where you are weakness spiritual frailty complacency lukewarmness the ladder reaches where you are can you say with me the latter reaches where I am say it together the latter reaches where I am again the latter reaches where I am God says to you where are you today reach you where you are Jacob stream Jacob continues to flee despite Jacob's failures despite his lying and deceit despite his selfishness and greed despite his lack of think in misplaced trust God still had a plan for Jacob's life the ladder reached where he was now a name that place Bethel was the place Jacob met God it was the place that he began again see when he left home exhausted tired weary filled with guilt and shame he was down hearted and discouraging hopeless but he comes to Bethel he has the dream God speaks to him in that dream and Jacob pass new hope again the next morning Jacob heads for Heron with a new spring in his step a new resolution in his heart he had met God it Bethel and that made all the difference the journey didn't seem as long and he more. When we travel life's road to Jesus the most challenging journey is easier now arriving at Heron Jacob meets Rachel and although it's love at 1st sight he has that stirring in his heart he senses this is the one for me he makes a decision that she's going to be his wife but the interesting thing is he has to labor for love his patient Jacob's love was patient 7 years laboring Rachel you may have cornered your wife was 7 years and she may have said No 6 times for the 7th time all right you've been so persistent now it's very fascinating though Jake up deceived his father and his future father in law deceived him Labor 7 years for Rachel against Leah and as the labor 7 more years for for. I want you to think about the law of sowing and reaping in the Bible the law of sowing and reaping in the Bible when you look at Scripture very often Bible characters reap exactly what they sow for example you got 3 Hebrew word these that are thrown into the fiery furnace but the people who throw them in are consumed and burned up Daniel's cast into the lion's den but those who cast him in are eventually eaten by the Lions Haman makes gallows to hang more like a on and he's hung on those gals. Places a prophet in prison and then he he put chains on the prophets feet and Eisa gets a foot disease David commits adultery with Beshear and has her husband killed and the child of David dies. Jacob deceives his father and has a conflict with his brother his father in law deceives him and he has terrible conflict with his own children glacial 6 verse 7 go lation 6 verse 7 What a lesson for an end time people are we learning from an Old Testament biography the decisions we make have repercussions far beyond those decisions go lation Chapter 6 verse 7 go lation 6 verse 7 Although Jacob was for given the consequences of his actions were not immediately changed so our actions have consequences Galatians 6 verse 7 notice Do not be deceived God is not mocked for whatever a man's or woman's Solo's what's going to happen they are going to reap we reap what we sow we reap more than we sow and we reap after we sow in the future Ralph Waldo Emerson said this so one thought and you repeat action so it acts in your reply habit so a habit in your character so a character in your report desk now the question is this though our actions have consequences. The sins of our past although forgiven and we are changed often haunt us today that's what the Bible means when it says visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the 3rd and 4th generation it does not mean that the 4th generation has the guilt of the fathers in the 1st generation what it does mean is that there are genetic predispositions that there are a bitch will shaping of character that passes down from generation to generation so here is the question that we need to raise and it's a critical question can you ever break the generational cycle if in past generations there is the law of sowing and reaping and if you look back in those past generations and you see that love sowing and reaping and you see the consequences of that in your own family today can you break that generations cycle the traits of character developed in one generation are often passed to the next But here is the incredible good news we can break the generational cycle where ever we find ourselves in the cycle of life we can begin a new legacy. Through the grace of God we can have a new beginning our families don't have to repeat the cycle of the past because Jesus breaks the cycle of dysfunctionality he heals our brokenness so we become channels of love and ambassadors of grace if the Bible teaches us anything it teaches us that we are not locked in generational cycles of the past actions have consequences they're passed from one generation to the next but there can be generations that say by the grace and power of God If there is any man or woman in Christ he is a new what creation old things are made new Jacob was learning that lesson and he was learning that lesson and it took him 20 years to learn it 7 years Labor's 4 Rachel gets Leah 7 years labors for Leo and Ray was now rather for Rachel 7 more years 14 years then he stays with Laban another 6 years and 20 years goes past and in those 20 years he's already 50 he's learning dependence he's learning confidence and God he's learning to break the generational cycle of the past and God says Ok Ok Jacob it's time to go home it's time to go home now and get your inheritance it's time to go to be with your family it's time to go home Jake I have a promise for you I have a destiny for you Jacob 20 years ago when you fled and I met you at Bethel I promised that you would inherit the land Jacob you are ready now after serving Laban faithfully for 20 years Jacob sensed it was time to go home. Well though he was fearful of what Esau might do he knew that he had to return to the land of his childhood every mile of a long 500 mile journey back created greater anxiety he feared his own safety and he feared the safety of his family he was going to meet he saw Genesis 32 verse Evan he's coming back home now how is Esau going to receive him Genesis 327 where as 20 years before Jacob took things in his own hands now in spite of his fears now in spite of in saying Ziad to now in spite of this worry he is trusting God God said Go he had a fairly comfortable life with the Laban he had flocks and goats and God said Go home Genesis Chapter 32 verse 7 describes his journey home so Jacob was greatly afraid and it's interesting how the Bible puts it isn't it doesn't say he's afraid wasn't say he's greatly afraid and distressed and he divided the people that were with him and their flocks in their herds in the camels into companies now you can really understand Jacob strategy he says Ok Esau is going to come East or is a war like Man No Jacobs company has no weapons he has no trained soldiers he has just his family and they're with his flocks and herds and they're coming as they come he says I'm going to fight us into 2 companies because if he saw attacks one at least one of us can get away Jacob though knows after he divides them into companies that he needs to spend time alone with God. And so Jacob is facing the greatest test of his life we go to Genesis Chapter 32 here he's about ready to meet Esau he gets the word that he saw as armies are coming up Genesis Chapter 32 and you're looking there at verse $24.00 this passage is one of the most critical passages and how you can turn around a hopeless situation it was written centuries ago but it echoes and react goes down the corridors of time to us today Genesis 32 verse 24 then Jake up was left alone Esau's armies are coming east sores warriors are coming Esau as mighty men of war are coming then Jake up who was left alone and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day what Lead Jake up to that experience of being alone you read it in the 10th verse Genesis 32 verse 2 and Jacob pretense he perseveres he prevails Genesis 32 verse 10 notice what Jacob says I am not worthy of the least of all your mercies and all the truth which you have shown your servant for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff and now I become 2 companies Jake up now recognizes that the primary fault is not with the soil but it's with him you will never have change in your family if you blame your children for the problems you'll never have change in your family if you blame your wife for the problems you'll never have change in your family if you blame your husband for the problems Jacob came to the point in his life of hopelessness and despair where he had to take responsibility himself. And he took the responsibility on himself and what does he say I am not worthy of the least of your mercies Jacob says whatever Esau his done that's with the soul I can't deal with that but I can only deal with. And my heart is weak it is desperate I am not worthy of the least of your mercies of all the truth which you've shown your servant God you've been so good to me and I'm the one that failed you on his knees as he prays he wrestles with God Christ comes down now it's interesting now when he saw that he did not prevail against him he touched the socket of us hip and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint to wrestled with him you know I don't know why I chose this sermon this week but you know this week I think I was lifting something and I pulled a muscle in my thigh here couldn't walk for most of the week even today man I'll tell you it's so much pain and I had ended up in the emergency room because I had to find out what was going on here but anyway Jacob wrestles with God and God touches his hip and so he goes back to Esau you know he's limping like I am units limping back tees and I'm saying Oh God touch my hip and you know do something good for it no don't don't you know we're going any more pain but you know it's really interesting and so you go back to here Jake of perseverance with God So what does Jacob do he repents of his sin he he acknowledges his guilt he prays to God he holds on and God promises I am going to bless you Jacob Now there are 4 lessons from Jacob's night of wrestling that I want you to see form but before we do that. We should look at the statement in patriarchs and prophets 197 here it is patriots and prophets 197 this is really insightful 3 humiliation repentance and self surrendered on this Jake 3 humiliation repentance and self surrender this sinful earing mortal prevailed with the majesty of heaven he had fastened his trembling grasp on the promises of God and the heart of infinite love could not turn away the sinners plea in other words Jacob did not come with a litany of things that his family did wrong for him Jacob came within So when repentance is old you merely ation out for things Jacob does what does he do one Jake up acknowledges his own faults to Jacob seeks God in repentance 3 Jacob preserves until he prevails he doesn't have a 3 minute prayer and give up for Jacob perceived strength to face is brother because he looks into the face of God Now what happens as the result of that what happens as the result of that look Genesis 33 Verse 4 jet when Jake up acknowledges his own failures what happens Genesis 33 Verse 4 he's been separated from his rather for for for 20 years but something happens something happens Genesis $33.00 we're looking at verse 4 buddies who are ran to meet him to Jacob and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him and wept think of it God brought the broken relationships back together again now when j. Cup was praying what happened. One of the great advantages that 7th Day Adventists have is the unique spiritual insight that comes through the writings of the gift of prophecy so Jacob's wrestling with God all night but what happens look at verse patriarchs and prophets page 198 while Jacob was wrestling with the angel another heavenly messenger was sent to Esau in a dream Esau be held his brother for 20 years in exile from the father's house he witnessed his grief at finding his mother dead he saw him in compass by the hosts of God This dream was related by Esau to his soldiers with the charge not to harm Jacob for God the God of His father was with him Jacob is praying Don't miss this Jacob's on its knees he acknowledges his weakness in his sin as he prays his prayers ascend to heaven God sends an angel to Esau God sends an angel to Esau and the angel comes to Esau and the angel says look this is God's anointed don't touch him and the angel shows Esau Jacob praying in his prayer and the angel says to Esau you now go to your soldiers and tell him Don't don't don't touch God has a way of divinely solving problems that we cannot recognize there are divine solutions to our problems at times of hopelessness when we trust and depend on God Jacob had learned of vital lesson that he had not learned 20 years before and that Wesson was not true I had his own strength but to trust the promises of God Now I want you to picture this scene Esau's warriors are approaching Jacob fear feels Jacob's heart this is before it wrestles with God He wrestles all night with the angel of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the time of Jacob's trouble an enemy army approaches he has no might against them everything around shake up spells defeat every earthly support is cut off the future looks bleak death appears certain Now the prophet Jeremiah who writes a 1000 years from the time that Jake upright takes this experience and projects it to the end time to the last generation of people that live on Earth and talks about Jacob's trouble you find that in Jeremiah 30 verse 5 to 7 Jeremiah 30 verse 5 to 7 and we find it there and here we find coined the expression for an end time people of Jacob's trouble Jeremiah 30 verse 5 to 7 Thus says the Lord we have heard a voice of trembling of fear and not of peace so here is the voice of fear not of peace it's a time of trouble ask now and see whether a man is ever in labor with a child what kind of question is that is man ever in labor with a child in other words this is a time of the labor pains it's a time of deliverance it but it's a time of great anguish that's what Jeremiah is getting at here a time of a wish like a woman in labor all faces turned pale Alas for that day is great so there is none like it so there's a time coming a time of trouble when people will be. Impacted that day is great there is none like it it is the time of Jacob's trouble but he shall be saved out of it for a child come to pass in that day says the Lord of hosts that I will break his yoke from your neck and will burst your bonds foreigners will no longer enslave them but they shall serve the Lord their God. Before the coming of Jesus there will be a union of church and state was will be passed that restrict our religious liberty there will be a time of trouble when every individual has made their final irrevocably decision for or against Christ probation will close as probation closes shortly thereafter a time of trouble will come on this world when 7 last plagues and poured out that period is called the time of Jacob's trouble God is leading us today to go through experiences that apparently are hopeless why because he wants to lead us to deeper trust he wants to lead us to deeper confidence he wants to lead us to deeper faith so God is going to allow us to go through those experiences now if we are going to face a time of Jacob's trouble in the future if we're going to face a time when every earthly support is cut off in the future if we're going to face a time when there is no possibility of Human League getting through if that is the case for the future when it will God teach us those lessons when do you think God is going to teach us greater lessons of trust when do you think God is going to teach us greater lessons of faith when do you think God is going to teach us greater lessons of confidence when do you think that is going to happen. It's going to be happening now isn't it so if you go through something that is apparently hopeless you go through some disappointing experience you go through some financial problems marriage problems health problems what is God doing God is preparing us for a time that Jeremiah calls what time to Jeremiah call that Jacob's trouble God is preparing us today to have greater dependence greater trust on him now we see in one more time we see Jacob's descendants one more time when we come to the Book of Revelation and there in the Book of Revelation in the last 2 chapters of the Bible Revelation 21 Revelation 22 we have the Holy City and above the gates of the holy city are the names of Jacob's children because when Jacob wrestled with God Jacob's name meant deceiver but when he wrestles with God. His name is chain from Jacob to what Israel and Israel means one is wrestled with God and what prevailed so Jacob prevails his the names of the 12 tribes of Israel are above the gates Simeon Naftali they're there Dan they're there above the gates now in a victory in your court of law they could be tried for treason they could be tried for don't dream bigamy and and robbery they could be tried and put in prison for murder and for the rest of their life but what do we find their names are above the gates why are their names there because God is a God who turns hopeless circumstances into circumstances filled with hope their names are there to say that if they could make it you can make it too if they can be there you can be there too if they can triumph you can triumph to their names are there to reveal to us that we can go through the troubles in life today with our hands in the hands of God We can go through hopeless times today with our hands in the hands of God We can go through the times of difficulty today with our hands in the hands of God we can learn lessons of trust dependence faithfulness confidence in God that Oprah Peris to go through the time of Jacob's trouble so one day just as Jake up went home to his father we will go home to our Heavenly Father and live with him for ever and ever and ever and ever I want to learn those lessons of trust what about you how to learn those lessons of faith what about you I want to learn today that with Jesus there is no hope with circumstance that's for a. Father in heaven our hearts overflow with lessons from an Old Testament story lessons that speak to us where we are Father help us never take our life into our own hands. And make crazy decisions and spoil your destiny for us Father help us to know that the ladder reaches where we are that wherever we are there's the ladder it's right there the ladder that leads us from earth to heaven the ladder that turns our darkest nights into glorious days the ladder that turns our valleys into about peaks help us learn the lessons help us take not 20 years to earn them like Jacob help us be quick learners and Father help us also not to blame others but to take responsibility for our own actions and by your grace and through your power transformer I pray our lives in Ward may we see every trial today and every difficult today as a as an opportunity to earn deeper faith and trust and one day may we meet Jacob in Heaven help us walk through those gates and look up and see the names of his sons on those gates that give us hope in times of hopelessness lead us from this place today filled with Jesus and. 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