Scripture Passage: Hebrews 11:21; Genesis 32
Hebrews 11:21 says, “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.”
Many of us think self-sufficiency is a virtue, but truthfully, it is a vice. After deceiving his father to obtain his brother Esau’s birthright, Jacob was on the run for his life. God used this moment to cause Jacob to cease depending upon his own schemes. Jacob’s story reveals three principles to remember as we learn to lean on God.
First, God will protect us, but He will not pamper us.
In Genesis 32, Esau was pursuing Jacob with a vengeance. God appointed angels to protect Jacob on his journey, but Jacob needed to learn that his flattery and strategy would not work.
Second, God will hurt us, but He will not harm us.
Adrian Rogers explains, “God brought Jacob to realize that his only hope was God: not his scheming, but his surrendering; not his bargaining, but his begging.” As He loved Jacob, God loves us too much to leave us self-sufficient.
Genesis 32:24-25 says, “Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him.”
Finally, God will break us, but He desires to bless us.
Genesis 32:27-28 says, “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.”
God gave Jacob a new name: no longer was Jacob a schemer or conniver; when he learned to lean on God, he became a prince, Israel.
Following this encounter, Jacob was left with a limp. All his life, Jacob leaned upon his staff—but he was stronger with a limp than he ever would have been on his own two feet.
Adrian Rogers says, “Men throw broken things away, but God never uses anything until He first breaks it.”
Apply it to your life
Failure doesn’t need to be final; if you’ll judge yourself, you won’t have to be judged. Lean on the Lord Jesus Christ; it is your worship by faith that really matters.
men throw broken things away. God never ever uses anything or anybody until they first broke Adrian Rogers ability to apply Biblical truth to everyday life was one of the many things that made him such a remarkable pastor, teacher and writer today on love worth finding. He’ll be bringing that uniqueness to this series of messages that were calling champions of faith. Have your bibles open to hebrews chapter 11. And join us for today’s message. And if this message is an encouragement to you remember, you can stream this message again and download pastor Rogers outlined notes and other resources to go along with this message all at L WF dot org. Now, let’s join Adrian Rogers find the book of Hebrews. Find chapter 11. Let your I go down to verse 21 Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 21. The title the message learning to lean. I heard that one time, Mohammed ali was on an airplane and the stewardess came through and said, sir, buckle your seatbelt, we’re getting ready to take off. He said, Superman, don’t need no seatbelt. She said yes and Superman. Don’t need no airplane either. Many of us think that self sufficiency is a virtue. The truth of the matter is that self sufficiency is not a virtue. Spiritually, it is a vice. Look at our scripture here Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 21 by faith Jacob when he was a dying. Bless both the sons of joseph and worship. Leaning upon the top of his staff. Worship, leaning upon the top of his staff. Now Jacob had deceived his father and gotten the birthright that God already wanted to give him. But he couldn’t trust God for what God had promised. And he had tricked his brother Esau into giving him the birthright when it was already Jacobs and he didn’t need to trick he saw but he got he saw trade what sa thought was the birthright for a a bowl of pottage stu or chili, whatever you want to call it. You remember all of that story, if you don’t, I want you to go back and review it. But now Jacob has had to flee because he saw has blood in his eye. Sa, Jacob’s twin brother Who was actually born 1st wants to kill Jake and Jacob, as they would say today is on the lam, he is running, he is fleeing from his brother Sa Now he’s been out there in the wilderness, he’s had a rock for a pillow and he’s seen in a ladder, a sending and descending from heaven. He’s had an experience with God and God has spoken to him, a lot of wonderful things have happened to him. But still for 20 years he has been in the school of hard knocks and now he’s got to get right with s on because he cannot really be right with God until he’s right with Esau, his brother. The brother that he has connived against the brother that he has a trick the brother that he has cheated, he knows he’s got to get right with Ssl and furthermore, he hears that he saw is coming to meet him. And so that’s the situation that we have it right now and God is going to use all of this situation because Jake to grow and deceased to depend upon himself. First thing I want you to learn as we look at this passage of scripture. By the way, I I want you to go back and get the old testament story. Turn to genesis. Chapter 32. Just go all the way back now from Hebrews to genesis chapter 32 and we’re going to find the story. They’re fleshed out. It’s it’s it’s an interesting thing. Why would God say that Jacob worship leaning upon his staff? Why did he put that phrase in there? He’s leaning upon his staff now the Holy Spirit has a great economy of words. He’s not wasting any words where we’re going to learn three principles and I hope that you’re ready for them. The principle number one is this God will protect you but he will not pamper you Now, 32, Beginning in verse one and Jacob went on his way and the angels of God met him and when Jacob saw them, he said this is God’s host that is God’s army and he called the name of that place Mehan am Which means two hosts to host. Jacob is fleeing and suddenly he sees some angels, he realizes That for these 20 years out there in the wilderness and various places he has had an angel escort. The angels of God had been in camping round about him protect him. Now remember he’s not totally right with God but the angels are watching him, the angels are protecting him now he was immature, he was out of fellowship with God and yet God was protecting him and I wanted to say to every mother’s child in this building this morning thank God for the angels that encamp around about you that protects you when you don’t deserve it. I know that I know that God’s angel escort has protected me through life. Had I time this morning? I could tell you time after time when I believe that God literally by his angels has protected and delivered me. The bible teaches these angels are ministering spirits and so here’s a man really out of fellowship with God and yet God is protecting him and God is guarding him. And finally God lets him see these angels and he says look at that why there to host their the host of people that are with me and then there’s the heavenly host in camping all about me. We all have angels watching over us. But yes listen to me even though God was protecting him, God did not pamper him. God let him go through great need and want and difficult. Now what has happened is this that S o is coming Sa is coming with blood in his eye? SA is coming with an army of 400 strong men. Could God have kept is all from coming against jake. Listen to me. God engineered it. God is bringing trouble To this man. Put in your margin Genesis 31 verse 24. Now, Jacob had a father in law whose name was Laban. And Laban wanted to know. How do I deal with Jacob? And in this verse God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night and said unto him. Take heed thou speak not to Jacob, either good or bad. Don’t hurt him. And don’t help. Don’t hurt. No, just let him go. Here’s here’s the point. God will let you have your way until you come to the end of yourself. Here is a man out of fellowship with God. Here’s a man in danger and God is protecting him with angels. But God is not pampering him. God is not removing him from difficult. Now, Jacob is learning that he saw this coming SA is coming with 400 armed men. And Jacob is out there in the wilderness. And now listen, Jacob’s mind begins to work. Jacob begins to plan. He begins to scheme. You can see his self sufficiency. Now in genesis chapter 32 beginning verse three, And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother into the land of sear the country of Etem? And he commanded them saying thus, shall you speak unto my Lord? S So can you imagine him calling? S saw his Lord, my Lord, Esau thy servant, Jacob saith. Thus, I have sojourn with Laban and have stayed there until now. And I have oxen and assess and flocks and men’s servants and women servants. And I have sent to tell my Lord that I may find grace in thy sight. Can you hear his flattering tongue? Can you imagine him calling this brother that he had scorned and cheated and knives against my Lord? Would you please show me some grace? No wonder he says that he’s coming with 400 armed men. And then I want you to notice what else he does. Watch his mind now as it begins to work. Watch your self sufficiency. Look if you will in verses six through eight. And the Messengers returned to Jacob saying, we came to thy brother Esau and he comes to meet the And 400 men with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid in distress and he divided the people that was with him and the flocks and herds and the camels into two bands and said, If he saw Come to the one company and smite it than the other company which is left shall escape. Can you see this? He’s trying to cut his losses right now. He’s dividing things up. He says, If he saw gets this group, then this group will be spared. If he saw against this group, then this group will be spared. Now he’s he’s he’s working first of all, flattery now, strategy. Now, after all of this, he begins to pray, notice what he does. First. He rigs things, he arranges things and after he does that he begins to pray. Look now in chapter 32 verse nine And Jacob said, Oh God, my father Abraham and God of my father, Isaac the Lord which set us unto me, returning to that country into thy kindred and I will dwell and I will deal well with the I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all of the truth which thou has showed under thy servant for with my staff I have passed over Jordan and now I am become two bands that is Part of my company is on one side and parts on the other, deliver me, I pray thee from the hand of my brother, from the hand of a vessel, for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me and the mother with the Children and thou sadist, I will surely do thee good and make thy seed as the sand of the sea which cannot be numbered for multitude. Now, he’s quoting the promises of God God said he was going to bless him and protect him. But now he’s saying, oh God, take care of me, I’m in trouble. It’s not wrong for Jacob to pray. He should have prayed. But prayer was not his first thought, Prayer was his last resort. I heard of a woman who had a husband who was kind of a near do well. And somebody said, where did you meet him? She said, I met him in a travel agency. He was the last resort. Yeah, Prayer was this man’s last resort. First of all, he begins to flatter s on secondly, he begins to divide his flocks and herds and his people. And now he turns to the Lord and then he goes back to public relations. Look if you will now In verses 16 versus let well let’s start in verse 13 and read through 16. And he lodged that same night and took of that, which came to his hand at present, for he saw his brother 200 she goats and 20 he goats, 200 use and 20 rams, 30 milk camels with their colts, 40 kind, that’s cows and 10 bulls, 20 she assists and 10 folds. And he delivered them into the hand of his servants. Every drove by themselves and said to his service, passover before me and put a space betwixt or between drove and drove. Now what he does in Shorthand he takes 580 valuable animals and he divides them up into lots of five. And he says, now watch this go out there. And when he saw comes with these 400 men. Now remember he’s got some over here, he’s got some over here. He’s been using flattery, he’s been saying, my Lord, he saw. Show me grace, da da da da. And now he starts sending these gifts. Here’s here’s a bundle of five and then said, put a space as he comes further, give him another bundle of five gifts as he comes further, send him some more as he comes further. Give him some more. Do you see the mind of this guy? I mean, he’s smart, he knows how to rig things. He knows how to make things happen. What he’s trying to do now is to appease his brother because he is in uh hot water. Now what he is saying is this Lord, I trust you. But you ever done that, Lord. I trust you. But Lord, I don’t trust you completely. And now, Lord, you help me out. But Father, you know, I’ve got to rig this thing. His mind is working. Now. God lets him stew in his own jews. The angels are there. Did you get the first point. God wants you to grow. God wants to deliver you from self sufficiency. So here it is, God will protect you. But he will not pamper you. He will not. Now God loves you too much to let you go. Thank God, he protects me, but he will not pamper you. Now, here’s the second thing I want you to learn if you’re going to learn to lean on. The Lord God will hurt you, but he will not harm you, you said God will hurt me. You better believe he’ll hurt God will hurt you, but he will not harm you. Now, in in this passage of scripture has done all of this stuff, everybody’s here and there. And finally, Oh, Jake is alone And look if you will in in verse 24 when chapter 32 and Jacob was left alone and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. Now he’s got he’s done all of his figuring. Now he’s by himself, he’s alone in the dark and someone councilors him, somebody jumps on it and he finds himself in a wrestling match, A man out there jumps in, Who was this? It was the pre incarnate price, what we call a a theory. Often a pre incarnate appearance of our Lord. And so many of us think that Jacob was wrestling with the angel, but that’s not the point. The Angel started the fight. The Angel, he is wrestling with Jake. You see God is trying to do something with Jake. God wants to deliver Jacob from his self sufficiency. And so the Lord gets him in a wrestling match and they wrestle Jacob and the angel back and forth, one throwing 11 throwing the other one getting up down, back and forth, folks, don’t you think that the angel could have thrown Jacob anytime he wanted to. I like what Rondon says about this, he said that fight was fixed, here’s here’s a mere mortal man wrestling, had it just been an ordinary angel, There’s been no wrestling mat, but he’s he’s wrestling with the pre incarnate christ all night long, he’s wrestling. And finally it’s as if the Lord says, I hate to do this to you, jake, but he reaches under the hall of his thigh and shrivels it up and Jacob can’t wrestle anymore. Have you ever watched wrestlers? My oldest son was a wrestler. I have two grandsons who wrestled, you ever watched wrestlers wrestle now that they’re not the kind that my brother Mark likes to watch. You know, do you know what, what muscle is most important to a wrestler? His thigh, his legs, that’s where strength is. If you take away his leg, he can’t begin to wrestle. And so the angel of the Lord reaches under hearing cripples and now how’s he going to wrestle anymore? And the angel says, let me go, Jacob says, I’m not letting you go, not until you bless me, I’ll not let you go. Now listen folks, he’s come to the end of himself, I mean, he’s even lost his secret weapon. What was his secret weapon. Well, if if my flattery doesn’t help old s. O and if what I’ve divided my people up and if he kills all my people on either side and I’ve sent him these gifts and they don’t soften him up. And if he finally comes at least I can run, I can pick them up and put them down. I can’t even run now. Are don’t have any hope except you. Oh God! And I will not let you girl, God has brought this man to the place where he realizes that is only hope is God not as scheming, but he’s surrendering not his bargaining, but his baking god hurt him. But God, God didn’t harm me. Now, here’s the third and final thing I want you to see. God will break you. But he desires to bless you. God will break you. But he desires to bless you. What was this wrestling match all about? Well look now in verse 27 and he said unto him, that is the angel says to Jacob what is thy name? And he said Jacob. Now the word Jacob itself means Sir Planter Conniver, and he said to him, what is thy name? He said, Jacob. And he said, thy name shall be called no more Jacob. But Israel for as a prince thou hast power with God and with men. And hast prevailed, the word Israel means Prince. And so he says, you used to be named Con artist. But now your name is Prince because you have power with God and with men. Because you prevailed. Did you know that God is going to ask you the same thing today, God is going to say to you, he’s gonna at least he’s going to engineer you one of these days if you’re not there yet. To a place what he’s gonna say, what is your name? And you’re gonna have to say, my name is lazy, my name is lustful, my name is daughter, my name is liar. My name is selfishness, whatever it is you see, get the whole point now here’s the point. Jacob is crippled that he might be crowned, He is broken. That he might be blessed. God never ever uses anything or anybody until they first broke. Now you say pastor Rogers, I don’t want to be broken. Well there’s a sense in which you don’t have to be. If you break yourself, the bible says if we will judge ourselves, we would not be judged. That is if we will come to our Lord in absolute humility and Brokenness and sees our self sufficiency cease. Are conniving in our planning and stop trying and start trusting and stand on the word of God. Then God can move in and God can use us in a way that it never could before. Now go back to our text. Leave the old testament and come back again to the new testament. Now, see if it doesn’t make a lot more sense to you by faith. Jacob when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of joseph and worship leaning upon his staff. Now all of his life, Jacob now is an old man and he’s dying. But he is leaning upon his okay all of his life, he’s limping all of his life. He has to have that staff even when he’s dying. He is worshiping God, leaning upon his staff. Now, Jacob Was 147 years old when he died. He was weak and it was weary, but he spent his last moments worshiping the Lord waterway together. An old hermit wanting to get right with God thought maybe he could get right with God if he would be a hermit, go off and live in a cave. And so somebody came to see the old hermit and said to him, are you still wrestling with the devil? He said not any longer, he said, Now I’m wrestling with God! The man said you are. You don’t hope to win, do you? He said no, I hope to lose hope to live. That’s what I hope for all of that. We will bow before him and say, I will not let you go unless you bless! Listen to me for some of you. I’ve been preaching long enough to know this. This message went right past. You have no interest. None whatsoever. Because you’ve been taught all of your life to be sufficient. Self sufficient. God loves you too much to let you stay that way. I mean if you really know God now if you don’t know God, this won’t apply to you. But Jacob loved God and he had to be delivered from his self sufficient learning to lean, learning to lean learning the lien on jesus. No, Jacob died leaning upon his stands, leaning when we are so grateful that you watched the program today. And if you prayed with us to receive jesus christ as your personal Lord and Savior, we rejoice with you and perhaps you’d like some literature, some help, some suggestions for living the christian life. We’d like to help you to do just that. We have some incredible material literature that I promise you sincerely will help you to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, jesus christ to understand more and more what happened to you when you receive jesus. It’s important, very important that you have this help so write to us and let us know and we will send you absolutely free some material to help you get started in your christian life. We hope that you’ve been encouraged by these character studies from Hebrews chapter 11 that we’re calling champions of faith, you can stream this message again, share this message with a friend and download other resources related to this message all at L WF dot org or the my L WF app. While you’re there, be sure to check out our new bible studies on today’s topic As well as many other topics at LWF.org, you can also subscribe to our daily heartbeat emails. Each heartbeat contains a daily devotional from Adrian Rogers, 90 seconds of profound truth. Also from Adrian Rogers as well as a link to our daily radio program, all in one place, delivered directly to your computer or mobile device each day. Or you can catch up with our program each week on our facebook page or Youtube channel and on the my L WF out. Thanks for joining us for today’s message. We’ll see you next time. May I tell you, my dear friend that all of the bible is about jesus and as you open your bible and read it carefully and prayerfully standing somewhere in the shadows, you’ll find the Lord jesus christ. And if you read the bible and don’t find the Lord jesus christ, you’d better reread it because he is there somewhere learn about God’s purpose and plan from genesis to revelation. See jesus in all of history and better understand the message of redemption. In this insightful new book, From Love Worth finding his story in this collection of eight powerful messages. Adrian Rogers shares the whole bible story in a simple and clear way for your gift. This month, we’d like to send you a copy of his story call 1 806 479400. Or you can give online at L WF dot org. 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