Sermon #20 Genesis Sermons
Title: Jacob - A Picture of Grace
Text: Genesis 28:10-22
Subject: The grace of God revealed in Jacob’s conversion
Date: Tuesday Evening - December 3, 1991
Blessed is that man who possesses the key with which to open the Treasure Chest of Holy Scripture. That Key is Christ. No man understands the Word of God, in whole or in part, who does not understand that the Book of God is all about the Son of God (Lk. 24:27, 44-47). In our Lord’s days upon this earth the religious crowd, the people who claimed to believe the Word of God, the people who went to church every sabbath day, the people who were zealous in the name of God for their religion,, their traditions, and their doctrines, were totally ignorant of the message of the Old Testament Scriptures, which they claimed to believe. When he who is the Truth stood before them and told them the Truth, they hated him, persecuted him and ultimattely crucified him. Why? Look at John 5:46-47, and you will see the reason - “Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”
Things have not changed one bit. Like the pharisees of old, the relgious multitudes of our day, standing upon the Book, the blood, and the blessed hope, have missed the message of the Word of God. The message of the Book is Jesus Christ himself! Every word written in this Book is inspired of God and intended by God for one purpose - To reveal who Christ is and what he did!
Tonight, I want us to turn again to the writings of Moses in Genesis 28 and see once more how moses spoke of him. These types and pictures, visions, and dreams reveal the redemptive purpose and grace of God in Jesus Christ.
The title of my message tonight is JACOB - A PICTURE OF GRACE. Our text will be Genesis 28:10-22. It is very difficult for us to understand many things about the man Jacob; but the one things we do know about him is the fact that he is a picture of God’s grace. Jacob was a man loved of God and chosen by God to be an heir of eternal life (Gen. 25:21-23; 35:9-13; Rom. 9:10-13).
1. His name means “surplanter”, one who takes the place of another through force or plotting (Gen. 27:35-36).
That’s Jacob! He tricked his brother Esau into selling him the birthright (Gen. 25:29-34). Then, through his mother’s influence and help, he deceived his father Isaac, and tricked him into giving him the blessing reserved for the first-born (Gen. 27:19-24). He supplanted his brother Esau.
2. Having behaved in such a deceitful manner, and being a coward by nature, Jacob took the birthright and the blessing and fled from his father’s house, hoping to escape the wrath of his brother, Esau (Gen. 27:41-44).
3. As he fled from Esau, when he was alone in the desert, God met Jacob in grace!
What a night that was! There, in the desert, God spoke to Jacob, promsied him his presence and his covenant mercies, and revealed to Jacob the way to God - the Lord Jesus Christ.
All that Jacob experienced that night in the desert, between Beersheba and Haran, portrays the work of God’s sovereign, saving grace upon chosen sinners.
As we look at this passage of Scripture, let me show you five things:
1. Jacob’s lost condition (vv. 10-11).
2. God’s saving revelation (vv. 12-14).
3. God’s promises of grace (v. 15).
4. Jacob’s awakening and conversion (vv. 16-19).
5. Jacob’s bow of consecration (vv. 20-22).
I. First, in verses 10-11, we see JACOB’S LOST CONDITION.
Here is Jacob, alone in the desert, afraid and helpless. He has no pillow upon which to lay his head, but the cold, hard rocks of the earth. There is no more time for plotting, scheming, manipulating, and supplanting. He is alone, isolated and weary. There are two reasons why Jacob was in such a horrible condition.
A. Jacob was in the mess he was in, because of his sin.
We are what we are, proud, covetous, unhappy, and depressed, because of our sin; and we are where we are, separated from God, under the curse of the law, without help, without strength, and without hope, because of our sins. Lost man has no one to blame for his lost condition, but himself! “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you” (Isa. 59:2). How unworthy, how underserving was Jacob, and all of us Jacobs jof God’s grace! God is just in condemning us and clear when he judges us (Psa. 51:3-4).
NOTE: God will never save a man until he brings him to know his lost condition, until he stops his mouth, and causes him to take sides with God against himself, justifying God in his own condemnation.
B. Jacob was in the mess he was in, because of his own sin; and he was brought into this lowly, hopeless condition, because God was about to be gracious to him.
The time of love had come, and God was about to speak to his heart (Hos. 2:14). Therefore, he brought Jacob down. God knows how to bring sinners down (Psa. 107). Like the prodigal, Jacob came to the end of himself. Blessed is that man whom God bring down. If he abases, he will exalt; but he will exalt none, but those who are abaxed. I remember my days of running, and I remember when God brought me to the end of myself.
II. Secondly, we see GOD’S SAVING REVELATION which he made to Jacob (vv. 12-14).
Here the Lord revealed his mercies to Jacob in a dream. What a blessed time it is when God is pleased in his grace to speak to us on our road to destruction! When it pleased God, he revealed his Son in me. In his Son, he revealed his mercy, love, and grace (Rom. 5:6-8); and that revelation brought life to this sinner (Eph. 2:1-7).
Here is Jacob, the sinner, quiet and still. God is dealing with him! There is nothing for him to say or do! As God spoke, he revealed a ladder set up upon the earth, reaching into heaven, That ladder is Christ!
A. The ladder was set up upon the earth, but the top of it reached into heaven.
So the Lord Jesus Christ, although he stood upon the earth in the flesh, never left the bosom of the Father. He became a man. Yet, he never ceased to be the Most High God (John 1:14, 18, 33-34; Phil. 2:6-8).
B. The angels of God went up and down on the ladder.
As the ladder represents Christ our Mediator, so the angels of God ascending and descending upon it tell us that the only way sinful men and women can ascend up to God and find acceptance with him is by Christ the Mediator (John 14:6); and it is only by and through Christ that God comes to us. “”God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.”
· God deals with men only in Christ!
· Men deal with God only in Christ!
Illustration: Chuck Harries and Vince Dooley’s Son.
C. The Lord God stood above the ladder and made all his rich promises of grace to Jacob (v. 14).
All the blessings and promises of grace, eternal life and heavenly glory are made and given to sinners in Christ and for Christ’s sake (Eph. 1:3-7; 4:32; 2 Tim. 1:9).
III. Thirdly, we read GOD’S PROMISES OF GRACE in verse 15.
Those promises which God made to Jacob are the promises of God to all the sons of Jacob, the promises of God to every believer, yea and amen in Christ Jesus. Here are four things promised to God’s elect, four things every believer can be assured of by faith in Christ.
A. “I am with thee!”
God is with us, always with us, in covenant mercy, redemptive grace and constant love (Phil. 3:3-4).
· To save us!
· To protect us!
· To do us good! (Rom. 8:28-39).
B. “I will keep thee!”
Not one of those sinners chosen by God in eternity, redeemed by Christ at Calvary and called by the Spirit in grace shall ever perish. We are kept by the power of God (Mal. 3:6; John 6:37-45; 10:24-30).
C. “I will bring thee again into this land!”
Canaan was a type of heaven. Christ, our Surety and good Shepherd, will bring God’s sheep home to glory (John 10:16). There is plenty of room in heaven for all who will to enter in by Christ Jesus; but when all things are finished and time shall be no more, there will be no vacancies. Every place prepared by Christ will be occupied by the One for whom it was prepared (John 14:1-3).
D. “I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.”
“He shall not fail!” “The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand” (Isa. 42:4; 53:10-11). “He shall save his people!” (Matt. 1:21). (See Phil. 1:6 1 Thess. 5:24).
IV. Fourthly, in verses 16-19, we see JACOB’S AWAKENING AND CONVERSION.
As soon as Jacob was awakened…
· He sensed the presence of God!
· He was filled with the fear of God!
· He found himself in the house of God, at the gate of heaven!
· He built an altar for the glory of God and worshipped!
A. Jacob called the place where he was Bethel, though the name of the place before was Luz.
“Luz” means “separation”. “Bethel” means “House of God”. You see, God calls us to separation from the world, but as we leave the world we enter the house of God! Blessed separation that is!
B. The House of God is the place of God’s presence!
The house of God is not brick and mortar stacked together in ornate, stately buildings. The house of God is God meeting with his people in any place. The church of the living God is the assembly of Christ with his people. Our Lord prayed and preached in private homes, in the open air, on the mountain side, by the seashore, and in a fishing boat, as well as in the temple and synagogue.
We place far too much emphasis upon the place of worship and far too little on the presence of God. Until the third century, there was no such thing as a “church building.” God’s saints gathered wherever they could, and God met with them. Nothing makes any place sacred but God’s presence. Wherever God is present with his people, that is the house of God! In the days of its apostacy, God brought this indictment against Israel - “Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples” (Hos. 8:14). It is an indictment that might be brought against the church of our day! The House of God is the place of God’s presence! If we have that, we have everything! If we miss that, we have nothing!
· It is a place of worship!
· It is a place of reverence!
· It is the very gate of heaven!
V. Fifthly, in verses 20-22, we read JACOB’S VOW OF CONSECRATION.
This is the first time we read of a vow being made to God. It is worthy of our notice. This vow of consecration was made by Jacob in response to what he had seen, heard and experienced in his soul of God’s sovereign, saving grace in Christ. The best parallel I can think of is that which the believer does in baptism. Symbolically, when we rise up from the watery grace, we consecrate ourselves to walk with Christ in the newness of life (Rom. 6:4-6).
NOTE: The word “if” is poorly translated in verse 20. Jacob is not here laying down mercenary, legal conditions upon which he is consecrating himself to God. The word should be translated “since”. It is an argumentive word. He is saying, “Since God has promised such grace to me, I’ll live for him” (! Cor. 6:19-20).
Look at Jacob’s vow of consecration (v. 22).
A. “This stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house.” I will worship the Lord God of this house and him only (Gen. 35:1-7).
Say what you will about Jacob, he kept his vow!
B. “Of all that thou shall give me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee.” He vowed to honor God with the substance of his increase.
“Honor the Lord with thy substance, with the firstfruits of thine increase” (Prov. 3:9).
The law of tithing had not yet been instituted. Jacob was under no obligation to give a tithe, except the obligation of love and gratitude. This was a voluntary act of his heart (2 Cor. 9:7). It was directly connected with the worship of God and the house of God.
1. By this promise of the tithe Jacob acknowledged that all he had came from God and belonged to God.
2. In giving the tithe, he demonstrated his faith in God to supply his needs.
3. The tithe was given to maintain the worship of God wherever he went.
4. What he gave, Jacob gave for the glory of God, the God of Bethel.
Jacob stand before us as a picture of grace.
· Lost by nature.
· Given the revelation of Christ.
· Possessor of all blessedness by the promise of God.
· Converted by the grace of God.
· Consecrated to the Son of God.