In our world today there are often family disagreements, and very often, the root of the problem is money--brothers and sisters arguing over an inheritance or who will run the family business. The Bible talks about these same type of situations. Back in the most ancient times, they had the custom that the oldest son was to be financially responsible when the father died, to take care of his mother and everybody else in the immediate family. But with that responsibility the oldest child received what is called the "Birthright." He was the first born and he had this birthright.
What did the birthright involve? It involved the major part; some scholars say two-thirds, of the fathers estate. I do not know if that is accurate. I do not know if the custom was that finely defined. You can read, for instance, about Abraham. Abraham knew that this kind of thing could develop in his family because he was a very wealthy man and this is actually where you have the most trouble where more money is involved.
So, do you remember what the Bible says that Abraham did? He wanted to avoid this problem after his death. Have you read the story in Genesis what Abraham did when he got old? He had several children. He had children after Sarah died and he married a woman by the name Keturah. The Bible mentions the different sons that he had by her. He had Ishmael, of course, and he had Isaac. What did Abraham do before he died to solve this problem in his family?
It says, "To all his sons he was a very wealthy man so he probably gave some very expensive gifts to help them get started in whatever business they were going to be engaged in. "He gave them all gifts and sent them away." Why did he do that? Because when he died he did not want them and Isaac in a big fight, so he gave them gifts and sent them away.
Isaac inherited everything but Isaac did not fair so well as Abraham did. Isaac got into a situation where he and his wife had a disagreement about who should receive the birthright. They were both vitally interested in this question. You can see why Rebecca would be interested. The boy that received the birthright when Isaac died would be responsible to taking care of her and all the rest of the family.
Rebecca had studied those boys ever since they were born. She knew which one was the most diligent. She knew which one was the most painstaking. She knew which one was the most reckless and which one was the most rash. She was a better judge of their characters than Isaac was. But Isaac knew that it was his responsibility to make the decision and so he decided he was going to give the birthright to Esau, the older of the two.
How do we treat each other in our family? You know, we will do things to people in our own family that we would not do to our enemies! I really do not think that either Rebecca or Jacob were habitual liars or deceivers. I have thought many time as I studied this story about Jacob, if I were related to Jacob, I am not sure I would have wanted to do business with him, because he was a very sharp bargainer.
You read the bargain he made with Esau and he does seem to be a schemer, but I do not think that he was a habitual liar. He did cooperate with his mother. He was afraid to do it. He said, My father is going to curse me instead of bless me if I do this. Rebecca said, Do not worry about that, your curse will be upon me. Just do what I tell you to do. Jacob was used to obeying his mother and he did what she told him to do. What she told him to do was to deceive his father.
What does the ninth commandment say? "You shall not bear false witness." What dies Revelation 21 and 22 say about people that are liars? In Revelation 21:8 it says that all liars are going to go where? They are going to hell fire. In Revelation 22:15 what does it say about all liars? None of them are going to go into the Holy City. In Revelation 21:27 What does it say about the liars? They are not going to be in the city. They are going to be lost.
Jesus said that the devil was a liar. Hell fire is prepared for liars. It was because the devil was a liar that angels were deceived and Adam and Eve were deceived and we are here today, a fallen, lost human race that suffers pain and sickness all as a result of lying. If the devil had always told the truth, none of this would ever have happened. Lying is terrible!
God says it is going to stop and everybody that keeps doing it is going to cease to exist. When you get to heaven, you are never going to have to go to a Notary Public or have witnesses that what you said or what you signed was so--because everybody there tells the truth. Liars are not going to be there.
But Jacob lied. He deceived his own father. The Bible shows that when you lie, there are always consequences. That very same day Isaac found out that he had been deceived and Esau was furious! He was so angry that he decided that the day was coming that he was going to kill his brother so he could get the inheritance. That is not the first time that somebody got killed so somebody else could get the inheritance. If you read history, you will find that happened quite often, even among royalty in ancient times. Many, many people have been murdered so somebody else could get an inheritance.
Things got so dangerous that both Rebecca and Jacob decided that for Jacobs own safety it would be better if he would flee from home than to be killed. I think I would make the same decision, would not you! it I thought my child was going to get killed at home, I think I would figure out some way to get him some place else. So Jacob had to flee from home. By the way, he never saw his mother again. That was the consequence she paid for helping him deceive his father. She never saw him again.
He fled from home. When he came home twenty years later, she was dead. He never saw his mother again. When Jacob fled from home, he was having an experience that many people are having today. I find out about it quite often. In fact, I found out about it this week on the telephone. I find out about it in letters I receive. People go through experiences as a result of it. They go through one experience after another, sometimes they have made some of the mistakes themselves.
People come to the point where they say, I do not have any friends in the world anymore and there is nobody in the world that I can trust at all. Have you ever met anybody that has told you that? I meet people like that often. Now maybe if you are not a physician, a preacher, a teacher or an attorney, maybe you do not meet people like that everyday. But if you are in one of those categories of occupation, you will meet people like that almost every day. If not every day, at least every week.
That is the situation Jacob was in. He was in trouble. He knew that he was in trouble and he knew that it was at least partly his own fault. He did not have any friends or anybody he could trust. He left alone and as it was getting late in the day, he needed to find a place to stay. There were not any motels around there in the desert, so he was going to sleep outside.
The darkness of despair just sort of came over him. He began to cry. Now some people think that men do not cry, but they do. The only difference between them and other people is that when they have to cry they go some place where they are alone. That is just typical of society, especially western society. Jacob began to cry. The reason he was crying was because he felt so utterly alone and not just alone but he felt that he was an outcast from his own family. He felt like a criminal--and he was.
He did what everybody needs to do when they get into a situation like that. He began to pray. He told the Lord that he was sorry. By the way, Jacob is going to be in the kingdom of heaven even though there will be no liars there because Jacob got down on his knees and said, I am sorry for what I have done. The Lord forgave him.
But even though he was sorry, the Lord forgave him and he is going to be on the inside of the city, there were some consequences. He could not go back home that night--it was too dangerous. Jacob that night came to a place in his experience where he finally got into a position where God could really do something for him. I have discovered that very often this is what has to happen to human beings today before God can really work for them.
You know what had to happen to Peter. Peter was so self-confident that he told the Lord, If everybody forsakes You and I am the only one left, if I die with you, it will be all right. I will be faithful. That is how confident he was. Jesus said, No that is not the way it is going to be. You are going to deny Me tonight three times before the cock crows.
Peter said, Oh, no! What was his problem? His problem was self-confidence. Now if you read worldly psychology books, you will find out that you need to build up your self-confidence. But you will not find that in the Bible. The Bible teaches us not to trust ourselves but to put our trust in the Lord. In fact, the Bible pronounces a curse on people that put their trust in the arm of flesh (Jeremiah 17:5). The Bible does not teach us to be confident in ourselves.
And Jacob had been such a schemer, such a good businessman, as we would say. He had been self-confident, too, because he was good at what he did. You read his later history. He was very good at what he did. Now the business he was and I want to tell you that he was very talented in that area. He was self-confident but he had gotten himself into such a pickle that there was not way he could bargain himself out of it.
In the past he could work deals, but now he was in something that was so bad that he could not work any deal. There was no deal that he could make to get himself out of his situation and the result of that was he lost all confidence in himself. People say, Oh that is terrible! No, that is not terrible, if you choose to put your confidence in the Lord. Jacob lost all confidence in himself. I want to tell you, friend, if you really want God to work in your life, you and I have to lose confidence in ourselves and put confidence in Him.
You believe that you have enough power and might so that you can just do whatever you want to do and you could be right and do good and be just the power you want to be. Do you have confidence that you can do that? Well, you are in trouble. Peter could not do it. Paul said, thing." Peter had to lose confidence in himself--and he did that by experiencing terrible fear before he learned the lesson that he had to trust in the Lord and depend on divine power in his life.
Jacob was now in a position where he had lost all confidence in himself because he could not make a deal to solve the problem like he had been able to do in the past. Now he was in such a mess that he could not make any deal to solve this problem. He had to just keep going. So he lost confidence in himself and then he got in a position where God could really work for him.
Jacob got to Canaan. It is an interesting thing as you study Jacobs life. God allows things to work out in our life. I have been amazed at this so many times. I have just been aghast as I have watched it happen. I have seen it happen myself over and over again. Somehow it happens that whatever I give to you, however I treat you, somehow the very same thing comes back to me. In fact, it comes back to me more than I gave it out.
Jacob was a deceiver, but I want to tell you that there is no man whose story is written in the Bible that I know of who experienced being deceived more than Jacob did. He got down there, dealing with a crafty man who later became his father-in-law. He got to dealing with somebody else who knew how to deceive and who knew how to work sharp deals. Now Jacob was on the receiving end of a sharp deal.
He had made some sharp deals, but now he was on the receiving end of some sharp deals. In fact, some of the worst deals that I know of in all the Bible are the deals that Jacob had worked on him by the Laban, his father-in-law. Jacob had some heart breaking experiences, one after the other. He was deceived in regard to his wife. How would you like to be deceived so that you marry the wrong woman?
Jacob experienced that. He was one person who deceived his own father. How would you like ten of your twelve sons to gang up against you and to deceive you so that you think your other son has been destroyed by a wild beast and you go on under that deception for twenty-two years of grief? How would you like that? Jacob experienced that.
But of all the grief that he experienced the most awful was down near a place that was later a city called Bethlehem where Rachel died. She was the one bright spot in his whole life. You see, Leah had been a party with Laban to trick Jacob into marrying her. Now how could you love somebody who had been involved in a deceit like that? Rachel was the only one he really loved--and then he lost her.
The death of Rachel is used in the Bible as a symbol of the great heartache and separation that comes to loved ones as a result of sin. In that very same place near the city of Bethlehem Jesus was born. When Jesus was born what did Herod do? He sent his army and killed all the baby boys two years and under in Bethlehem. The Bible says, "Then was fulfilled the word of the prophet (Jeremiah 31:15) when he said, There is Rachel weeping for her children and she would not be comforted because they do not exist anymore.
And so the death of Rachel is used in the Bible as a symbol of the great sorrow that comes on the human family when families are separated by death. In fact, at the end of Jacobs life as he was looking over all the past of his life, all the deception that had been practiced on him, all the awful things, his daughters shame, her brothers revenge, Judahs unnatural sin, Reubens sin, the hatred of Joseph, the deception that had been practiced on him by Josephs ten brothers, he was looking over everything in his whole life. In Genesis 48 he only remembered one thing: the death of Rachel. That is all he remembered. That is how much it hurt him. Everything else that hurt him he lost sight of it at the end except he remembered that one thing.
I have thought for many years, I want to be up in the clouds when Jacob and Rachel get together again. I think that is going to be very exciting. There is going to be a reunion one of these all these experiences since Jacob confessed his sin, God started working in his life.
Over the next twenty years when he was being deceived by his father-in-law, not only deceived in regard to marriage but also deceived in regard to his pay. His wages, Jacob said, I will make you a deal. You do this, and they made the deal and then Jacob would work and Laban would look at the situation and say, This is not a good enough deal. I am not getting a good enough deal out of this. So he changed it. He did this ten times.
During all this as Jacob was enduring all this, he was up night and day taking care of all Laban s sheep and livestock. He was becoming a very wealthy man but he did not have very much happiness because he had woman fighting in his family over him. And he had children that were fighting among each other because they were born to different women. So he had constant contention in his family. And all the time that this was going on, in his mind what was happening inside that other people could not see, "I am suffering all this because I deceived my father!" And he was. It was true.
It bothered him night and day. He talked to the Lord about it over and over until finally the Lord said I am going to get you over this. That story is recorded in Genesis 32. Jacob is now returning to Canaan. It says starting in Genesis 32:7, "So Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed and he divided the people that were with him and the flocks and herds and camels into two companies. And he said, If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the other company, which is left, will escape. Then Jacob said, Oh, God, (Notice, he is starting to pray now) of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, return to your country and to your family and I will deal well with you."
He was returning to his homeland because God had told him to do it. Now he is in trouble. It looks like they are all going to get killed as you can see in verse 6. He says, "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truths which you have shown your servant for I am crossed over this Jordan with my staff and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children. For you said, I will surely treat you well and make your descendants as the sand of the sea which cannot be numbered for multitude."
So now he is praying. He separated his family into two groups thinking that if one group gets attacked, the other group maybe can escape. Esau is on the way with four hundred armed men. It is nighttime and he is left there on the other side of the Jabbock River, a little stream. His family and everything he holds dear is on the other side of the stream. He slept on this side all by himself. And he is praying that the Lord will some way have mercy on his and deliver his family.
Notice what happens. Verse 22: "He rose that night, took his two wives, his two female servants, his eleven sons and crossed over the river Jabbock. He sent them over the brook and sent over what he had and then Jacob was left alone." He sent everybody else across but now he is left alone. Notice what happens. "And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of day." It is nighttime. He gets attacked.
This is a place where there are thieves and robbers and all sorts of lawless people. He does not know who it is. It is dark. But he gets attacked so he is trying to save his life and so he is now in a fight. Verse 25: "Now when he saw that he did not prevail against him, he touched the socket of Jacobs hip and the socket of Jacobs hip was out of joint as he wrestled with him."
What did Jacob know then? If I put my finger on your thigh, does your hip go out of joint? Of course not. What did Jacob know when this happened? He knew that he was not fighting with another human being. He knew he was fighting with a heavenly messenger because when this messenger just touches him, his hip goes out of joint and now he is in pain and he really cannot fight anymore. He is a cripple. Now what is he going to do?
He said, Verse 26: "Let me go for the day breaks. But he said (that is Jacob); I will not let you go unless you bless me. So he said to him, what is your name? He said, Jacob. And he said, Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel. For you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed. Then Jacob asked saying, Tell me your name, I pray. And he said, Why is it that you ask about my name. And he blessed him there."
Notice verse 30: "So Jacob called the name of the place Pinniel for I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved." Now in our Scripture today in Jeremiah 30 we read the prophecy of Jeremiah who declared that in the last days Gods people are going to go through an experience that was called the time of Jacobs trouble. Now we just react about the time of Jacobs trouble in Genesis 32.
And what is this all about? Why did God come down there and wrestle with a man all night? What was going on? What did Jacob learn from this experience? Well, as I was studying it, I put down ten points that I want to learn from it.
No. 1) First of all, why was Jacob in this experience? Why was Jacob in this trouble? Where did it go back to? Back to the time he deceived his father. Did God sanction this and say, I know that you just did it because your mother told you to, so I am not going to hold you guilty? Did God sanction what he did? No, He did not. Jacob recognized that God did not sanction what he did because notice what he said here in the early verses of Genesis 32. In verse 10 he said, "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth, which you have shown your servant."
What were the mercies that he had been talking about? He knew that he was guilty of a capital crime. He had deceived his own father. All liars have their part in the lake of fire. Revelation 21:8. He knew that and he knew that only God could take away his guilt and he knew that God would not sanction what he had done.
You know, friend, sometimes the devil tries to trick us and get us to think that if what we have done was not too bad, maybe God will overlook it. Jacob did not kill his father. He did not steal goods from his father, just broke one commandment. But he did break one, that was the ninth commandment, he did lie to his father. God did not sanction that. The first lesson I learned from studying the life of Jacob is that God will not sanction any evil in my life. It does not matter why. I cannot say, Well, my mother talked me into it. I inherited it from my father. My brother talked me into it. Somebody else helped me, got me into it. Oh, no, no, no. I am responsible for what I do, no matter what anybody else talks to me about or tries to influence me. I am responsible for what I do. That is the first thing I learned from the life of Jacob.
Oh, friend, do not ever listen to all this deceptive, illusive philosophy that is going around the Christian world today that, Well, if you just do the best you can. . . Oh, no. God does not sanction evil and if the best you can do is all evil, God is not going to sanction it. God will not sanction anyone breaking His law.
No. 2) For those that have broken His law, what are they going to do? Well, there is something else I learned from the story of Jacob and that is point No. 2. Even if I have broken Gods law, even if I have deceived my own father, even if I have done something in my own family and remember, sometimes the people we treat the worst are the people in our own family, that is what Jacob did; even if I have committed a heinous crime by doing something wrong to somebody in my own family, IF I repent. . . You know what repentance means, do you not? Just an aside just for you to think about at your leisure, just remember this sentence: "Repentance is the opposite of celebration." Just keep that in your mind in this society in which we are living today. Repentance is the opposite of celebration. Repentance means that you are sorry for what you have done. You are not rejoicing over it, you are sorry for what you have done and you do not want to do it anymore and you have told the Lord, I am sorry, I want to be forgiven. I am sorry that I did that. That is what Jacob did. Even if I have committed a crime against somebody in my own family. If I am willing to repent, God will not cast me off. Is that good news? About the best news there is, I think. You will not be cast off if you return to God with repentance. That is the way somebody returns to God, by repentance.
Repentance for some reason is not a popular doctrine today. Yet, that is one of the principal things that Jesus preached about. Read Matthew 4. It was one of the principal things that John the Baptist preached about. Read Matthew 3. It was one of the principal things that the apostles preached about. Read Acts 2. Repentance is being sorry that I nave done something wrong. Sorry enough to quit. I am not going to keep on doing what I have done.
But there are some other points and we must go quickly to them. Some really important points that you will learn from the story of Jacob because his story is a type of what Gods people are going to experience right at the end just before Jesus comes according to Jeremiah 30. We will cover several points quickly.
No. 3) How bad do you want to be saved? Jacob wanted to be delivered from the guilt of what he had done wrong so bad that he wrestled with this Man all night and he would not give up. Jacob said afterward, I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved. In fact, when the Man said (the Man was Jesus Christ), Let me go because it is going to get light. Jacob said, I cannot! I cannot let you go! I have to be blessed. I have to know that my sins are forgiven and that I am cleansed. I have to know that the guilt of what I have done against my father is going to be forgiven. I nave to know that. Jacob was blessed. Why? Because he was persevering and determined. Are you that persevering and determined? Have you ever said to the Lord, Lord, I cannot quit asking You? Someone says, Oh, Pastor John, I have fallen into this sin one hundred times and I cannot get the victory over it. Do you know what Jacob did? He said, Lord, I am not going to quit calling upon Your Name until I have victory. I have to have something changed in my life and I am not going to quit. Are you persevering and determined? Jacob was.
No. 4) It is not enough to be persevering and determined. You have to apply that in a certain way. Jacob laid hold of Gods promises in earnest. Look again in Genesis 32:12. This is what Jacob said to the Lord, "Lord, You have promised me that this is what is going to happen. And now it looks like my whole family is going to get wiped out. But Lord, You promised me something else. And Lord, you cannot go back on what You promised me. Jacob
laid hold on divine promises and said, Lord, this is what you promised. Let me ask you this question: Has God promised you that He will deliver you from the guilt and power of sin? He certainly has. Read John 8, 1 John 3, Romans 6, Romans 8.
Has God promised you that? He has promised you. Are you claiming that promise? Do you know what Jacob did? Read verse 12. He came to the Lord and said, Lord, You promised me this. He laid hold on what God had said and he said, Lord, You promised me this and You cannot go back on what you promised me. Have you done that? You say, Lord, I have fallen into this problem a hundred times or a thousand times but You promised me that You would deliver me from sin and I am not going to quit asking. I want your word to be fulfilled in my life. That is what Jacob did.
No. 5) It says here in Genesis 32 that he wrestled. Some people do not get very much out of that, but it is very significant. He wrestled with this Man all night. What is this wrestling all about? Turn in your Bibles to Hebrews 12, maybe this will help you understand what this wrestling is all about. Hebrews 12:4. Now remember, Jacob had been living with a guilty conscience. He had confessed it probably a hundred times but he still felt guilty. He had been living with a guilty conscience for twenty years and he said I have to have the victory over all this deception that is going on in my life. I must not be this way anymore; I have to have victory over this. Notice what it says in Hebrews 12:4. "You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin."
He was resisting and he had the overwhelming sense of his guilt come upon him as he was wrestling with the Man. He was thinking to himself all night long, My wife, my children, everything is going to be destroyed and now I am wrestling for my own life, but I cannot stop.
Here is what Ellen White wrote about Jacobs experience. You will find this in The Great Controversy, 621. She said, "Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. His victory is an evidence of the power of importunate prayer. All who will lay hold of Gods promises as he did and be as earnest and persevering as he was will succeed as he succeeded. Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God.. ." That is what Jacob was doing. That was what the wrestling was about. Have you ever agonized before the Lord? Gotten yourself in a problem some way that was so big there was no way over it, around it, through it, under it, you were stuck and you said, Lord, I have to have help and I cannot quit asking. I am not going to quit asking until some way You show me the answer to this problem. I have to have victory in my life. You know there are a lot of Christians that do not have victory in their life because they are not serious. God knows whether I am serious or not. He knows whether you are serious or not. He knows whether you have made the decision, I am going to obtain victory in my life and be a Christian and follow Christ, no matter what happens. He knows whether I am determined or not.
Jacob was determined and he wrestled with that Man all night. He agonized in prayer.
No. 6) When Jacob was praying that the Lord would deliver him from this situation, he refused to give up even though he did not get an immediate answer to his prayer. I have had people say to me, Well, I pray for such and such and it did not happen. So they just gave up. Like a little child comes to his father and asks for something and if the father does not give it right then, the child says, Well, I guess my father does not love me anymore. That is the way it is. Sometimes God sees that before He can give us what even He wants to give us, something has to happen in us so that we are ready to receive it. The sixth lesson is that Jacob did not give up when he die not get the answer to his prayer right away. He kept on praying.
No. 7) Jacob did not quit when he felt discouraged. Have you ever felt discouraged? People that are discouraged come to pastors and elders all the time, because they say, I have tried this over and over again and I have fallen into this mistake over and over again and I cannot get out. What am I going to do? I doubt that God is real and the Christian religion is true because I keep falling into this trap over and over. I pray and nothing happens. I just feel totally discouraged. That is the way Jacob felt, but he decided that he was going to keep on, no matter how he felt. Are you that serious about being saved?
Let me read this to you also from The Great Controversy, 621. She said, "Wrestling with God, how few know what it is. How few have ever had their souls drawn out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the stretch. When waves of despair which no language can express sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to the promises of God."
Have you ever had those waves of despair just seep over you? It just seems like everything is lost. Everything is going wrong, do you still cling to God and say, Lord, I cannot quit. I cannot leave. I cannot stop asking that you will bless me and deliver me from this situation. Lord, You promised me.
No. 8) Finally the time came when the Angel of the Lord, who is Jesus Christ, touched his hip/thigh and his hip socket went out of joint and then it was impossible even from a physical standpoint for Jacob ever to gain the victory. You cannot win wrestling with somebody when your hip is out of joint and you are a cripple. You are stuck. And so Jacob grabbed a hold of His neck and said, Oh, You must bless me. You know, friends, if you are struggling to get victory over some problem in your life, you can be persevering; you can be determined. You can try but no matter what you do, unless God blesses you, you are not going to get the victory. Do you know that? Jacob knew he was not going to have victory unless God blessed him. He completely surrendered himself to the Lord and he put his faith in him and he said, Oh, bless me. And the Lord blessed him. Have you ever had an experience like that? God's people are going to have experiences like that before Jesus comes.
No. 9) Concerning this experience of Jacob, Ellen White wrote the following: "The greatest victories to the church of Christ or to the individual Christian are not those that are gained by talent or education, by wealth or the favor of men. They are those victories that are gained in the audience chamber with God when earnest agonizing faith lays hold upon the mighty arm of power." That is where you are going to have the greatest victories in your life, in the audience chamber with God when you lay hold on the arm of power like Jacob did and say, Lord this is what You promised. This is what You promise me, Lord in John 1:12, You promised me this. I have fulfilled the condition and You promised me that I am going to have this experience. This is what You promised me, Lord, in 1 John 3:4-10. You promised me this in 1 John5:18. I want this to be fulfilled in my life. That is where you get the victory in the audience chamber with God when you put your full trust in what He has told you.
No. 10) Is this world coming to a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation? Does the Bible teach that? It teaches that exactly in Daniel 12:1. And during that great time of trouble, Gods people are going to go through a time that is likened to the time of Jacobs trouble that we have just been studying about. Are you going to be ready for that time? I want to read you something for you to think about. We are not going to study this. This is just a seed thought for you to think about and pray about.
Ellen White wrote this in the book The Great Controversy, "The Time of Trouble"--She said: "The time of trouble such as never was is soon to open upon us and we shall need an experience which we do not now possess and which many are too indolent to obtain." Did you get that? Some people are not going to be ready for what is going to happen. Why? Because they are too indolent. They are not like Jacob. They are not persevering and determined. They are not agonizing with the Lord in prayer, saying, Lord, I want to be ready for Jesus to come and I want to have the white robe of character that you want me to have.
Oh, friend, it is good to go to church. We need to get together to worship the Lord every Sabbath. We need to come together to study and to praise and to sing. But friend, you must not be indolent. You must be studying your Bible and praying at home every day that you will have the experience that you need to have for what is coming in the future or you will not be ready. She says many people are too indolent to obtain the experience they need to have.
Something I have learned from studying Jacob. With all his faults, Jacob was not lazy either in his physical, financial life or in his spiritual life. He was not lazy. He won that night by the brook Jabbock. He won a great victory so that his name was changed and the Angel said to him, You are not going to be called Jacob anymore, (that is a heel-grabber, a supplanter, a deceiver), Your name is not going to be called that anymore. Your name is going to be called Israel.
I want to tell you, friend, if you go through the pearly gates, you are going to be part of the true Israel. You are going to be part of spiritual Israel. Who is spiritual Israel? They are the people that have had the kind of experience that Jacob had. Do you want to have that experience? Are you willing to persevere and not be indolent and say, Lord, this is what You promised. I am going to do my part, but, Lord, I need a divine miracle in my life. I cannot just keep on going like it has been in the past. Something has to change. Do you want that experience? Would you like to pray before we close that the Lord will help you to have that experience. He will if you do your part. As far as possible, let us kneel and pray that we may have the experience that Jacob had.