Warning Signs | Don't Reject God's Grace, Day 2
Hebrews 11:20-22; Genesis 32:22-32
Like Jacob, we are the recipients of God’s grace and love, and He chooses to use us to make His name known.
Verse of the Day
'These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. ' Hebrews 11:13 ESV
When you were a child, what pretend games did you play? Who did you pretend to be?
Do adults in our culture still pretend to be someone they are not? How so? Who do you pretend to be?
Why is it sometimes difficult for people to face the truth about themselves?
In our culture, we often try to seem like we have it “all together”, or like we have complete control over our lives, when in reality we do not.
We do not like to admit the truth about ourselves because we don’t like to admit what our world perceives as “weakness”.
No matter who we pretend to be, God cannot be deceived - He knows who we really are.
Through the power of the gospel we can acknowledge the truth about ourselves and embrace Christ’s power to transform us.
Read Hebrews 11:20-22
'By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones. ' Hebrews 11:19-22 ESV
What previous knowledge do you have of Jacob? What is he most known for?
Jacob, whose name means “heel grabber”, is the younger twin brother to Esau, sons of Isaac and Rebekah.
Jacob is known for deceiving his brother, Esau, out of his birthright and then deceiving their father, Isaac, into blessing Jacob instead of Esau before Isaac died.
Jacob later goes to find a wife, and is deceived into marrying Leah when he was promised Rachel. He later deceived the women’s father by also taking Rachel as a second wife.
Jacob is essentially known as a con man whose name is well suited to him as he tried constantly to trip people up and deceive them for his own gains.
After Jacob had run away from the consequences of all of his deceit, the consequences caught up with him while Esau was coming after Jacob intending to kill him, and Jacob ended up wrestling with God.
While wrestling with God, Jacob realized that he would never have the life he truly wanted if he continued to chase his own gains, and ended up surrendering to God, clinging to Him for dear life, and walked away from the wrestling match with a permanent limp and a new name; Israel, which means “God prevails”.
How are con artists and deceivers viewed in today’s culture?
Commonly called “trolls” in virtual culture, con artists and deceivers are not well looked upon
Describe a time when you’ve been blessed by another person. What emotions did you experience at the time? What changed in your life as a result?
Describe a time when you’ve felt broken. What emotions did you experience at the time?
How did God use your brokenness to redeem you and your situation? What changed in your life as a result?
Read Genesis 32:22-32
'The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh.' Genesis 32:22-32 ESV
How might pretending to be someone you are not affect your relationship with others? How did this affect Jacob’s relationship with those closest to him?
You can only pretend for so long and to certain extents before the truth starts to come out.
You will never be satisfied in your relationships if you are untrue to who you are, and the people you are in relationship with will be hurt by your deception.
Jacob’s deception led to most people being extremely angry at him, even to the point he was chased down multiple times with the intent to kill.
Why did God engage Jacob in a wrestling match at this particular juncture in Jacob’s life? Why did God injure Jacob?
Jacob wrestling with God was not merely a physical match. This wrestling match was also God working in Jacob’s mind, breaking down all of the mental, psychological, and spiritual battles Jacob was struggling with.
God engaged Jacob at this point to help him see his errors and present him with a choice - to submit to God and change his ways, or to continue down the path of deception and destruction.
Once Jacob began to surrender, God gave him a permanent, humbling reminder to remain faithful to God.
Do you really think God could not overcome Jacob? Why, then, did God allow the wrestling match to go on so long?
God could have done far more than injure Jacob’s hip. In truth, God could have completely crushed Jacob, which would be exactly what he deserved for all of his sins.
God wrestled with Jacob in order to help him wrestle through his deceitful life choices, and out of grace God gave Jacob the choice to turn to Him or remain in his current ways.
Sometimes God will wrestle with us in order to bring us to a state of surrender to Him, allowing God to lead us and change us from our sinful selves by His Mighty Grace.
God gives each of us a choice whether to turn to Him or not, and sometimes we need permanent reminders of what it took to turn us to Him to encourage us to stay faithful to Him as well as to remind us why we need Him.
How did this encounter change Jacob’s view of himself? How did it change his relationship with God?
Jacob realized that who he was without God would only hurt himself and his relationships, but with God he could find healing and satisfaction in his life and relationships.
How can you strive to be more authentic in your relationships this week?
How is the current state of your relationship with God impacting your relationships with others?
Ask God to allow you to exhibit the courage, persistence, and humility in your times of crisis that Jacob discovered in the midst of his. Ask God to remove your self-reliance and remind you of your new identity in Christ. Pray that He will remind you of His sufficiency and grace this week.