Sunday, August 22, 2021

God’s Timeline – Part 38 Jacob Wrestles with the Lord

 God’s Timeline – Part 38

Jacob Wrestles with the Lord

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith Church | |

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This Document is a Sermon Outline, you may hear the full audio of the actual sermon by following the link Online Audio Files located above for this, and other Full Sermon Audios.  For a complete list of Sermon Outlines, visit or Truth Digest on facebook; for our Official Church website, visit, or find us on Facebook at House of Faith Church


SERMON TIMELINE (2021 A.D. = 5781 Jewish Calendar Year) 

-         Creation Week (Approximately 4000 - 3900 B.C.)

o   Adam, Eve, and the Fall 

-         Cain and Abel

o   Evil Fills the World 

-         Noah Did All God Commanded Him

o   The Flood 2379 – 2279 B.C.)

o   God’s Covenant with Noah

o   Noah’s Sons and Ham’s Sin

o   Nations of Noah’s Sons 

-         Tower of Babel 

-         God calls Abram (2091 B.C.)

o   Abram and Lot part ways

o   Rescue of Lot 

-         The Lord’s Covenant with Abram for Isaac

o   Hagar and Ishmael Born (2080 B.C.) Abram 86 years old

o   Sarai and Isaac

o   The Three Visitors

o   Abraham Pleads for Sodom 

-         Birth of Isaac (2066 B.C. Abraham 99 years old Sarah 90-Hagar and Ishmael sent away)

o   The Lord tests Abraham (2048 – 2046 B.C. Isaac 18-20 years old)

o   Sarah Dies 127 years old (2029 B.C. Abraham is 136) 

-         Isaac marries Rebekah (2028 B.C. Isaac was 37 when he married Rebekah) 

-         Jacob and Esau are born (2006 B.C. Isaac was 60 Abraham 159)

o   Abraham dies at 175 (1991 B.C. Isaac was 82)

o   Isaac receives the Birthright and his father’s blessing

o   Esau marries two Hittites at 40 (1967 B.C.)

o   Esau marries a daughter of Ishmael

o   Jacob travels to his grandfather’s family to find a wife (1930 B.C.)

o   Jacob’s Dream at Bethel

o   Jacob marries Leah then Rachel

§  Levi is born (1920 B.C.)

§  Joseph is born (1916 B.C.)

o   Jacob fled Laban and is pursued (1910 B.C.)

o   Jacob Prepares to meet Esau

o   Jacob Wrestles with God & Becomes Israel 




Last week we read about Jacob traveling back to his father’s land.


Jacob had left 20 years earlier because of two reasons; First, his brother Esau was telling everyone as soon as their father Isaac died, he was going to kill his brother Jacob.


Secondly, the covenant the Lord made with Abraham had been passed to Isaac, Isaac and Rebekah only had the twins, Esau, and Jacob. Esau had married two Hittite women (Canaanites), thus breaking the line of Shem from which, the Savior would be born.


Rebekah feared for Jacob’s life, and asked Isaac to send him away to her father’s land, where Jacob could find a wife from the accepted line of Shem and continue to fulfill the covenant God made with Abraham and Isaac.


When Jacob left, Esau, seeing his parents disdain for his two Hittite wives, married again in hopes of pleasing them. Unfortunately, the third wife he chose was the daughter of the rejected line of Ishmael, once again, no good to the line of Shem.


We read about Jacob wanting to marry Rachel, being tricked by his uncle into marrying Leah, having to work 14 years for both, then being convinced to stay another 6 before sneaking off to return to his father’s land. 


Laban chased Jacob down, angry he left in secret with his daughters and grandchildren but was angrier Jacob stole his false god idols.


It was Rachel who secretly stole them, hid them in her camel’s pack, and Laban never found them after searching Jacob’s camp.


The two agreed not to fight any more, and Laban left.


Jacob then prepares to return home, not knowing what his brother will do to him.


After sending scouts ahead, they say once Esau found out Jacob was coming, he took 400 men and started out to meet Jacob.


So, he splits his camp into two, if Esau attacks, one should survive.


He then sends five gifts of livestock to his brother in hopes of calming him and convincing him to a truce.


Fearing the worse, we read in Genesis 32:22-23 “That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.”


So, we see Jacob, alone with all of his fears, anxiety, awaiting his brother.


At this point, he must believe it is going to be bad, or else he would not have sent his wives and children away.


Now that Jacob is alone, helpless against his brother and 400 men, it is a perfect time for God to remind Jacob, who he is, and who his God is.



Genesis 32:24-32

“And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.


25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.


26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.


27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.


28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.


29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.


30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.


31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.


32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.”



This is how history and teaching were passed down back then. Through rituals such as this, to remind them of their history and teach it to the next generation.


This is also why God instills holy days and tells the people to teach it to every generation and never forget because they represent the entire plan of salvation through the savior Jesus Christ.



a.      Jacob, like all of us, have to come to the Lord and surrender

                                     i.      Remember when the Lord appeared to Jacob in Genesis 28:13?

                                  ii.      God tells Jacob who He is “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac.”

                               iii.      In the following verses, God offers Jacob the covenant that was Abrahams, then Isaacs.

                                iv.      Jacob then made a vow which reveals his doubts and fears in verses 20-22

1.      If God will be with me…

2.      …then the Lord will be my God

                                   v.      Jacob has not yet submitted to the Lord, or accepted the covenant and its promises, but states “God will be my God, if…”



b.     When the Covenant passed from Isaac to Jacob, Jacob still had doubts in the Lord

                                     i.      We all have fears and doubts when it comes to submitting fully to the authority of God

                                  ii.      The world has broken our trust, authorities in our lives have abused us

                               iii.      Many of us have become fighters, survivors, never giving up or backing down

                                iv.      This was Jacob.

                                   v.      He relied on his tenacity, strength, fortitude, himself, as many of us do

                                vi.      But as long as you are “self-reliant” you cannot fully submit to the Lord and rely on Him

                             vii.      And for us to be ALL that God wants us to be, and do the great things in His name, we MUST be fully His! Because what He asks of us cannot be done in the flesh, only in the strength of the Spirit of God!

c.      Gripped in fear, though he believes there’s a God, Jacob does not believe in Him

                                     i.      James 2:19 “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”

                                  ii.      Believing there IS a God is NOT the same as believing IN God

                               iii.      We can believe there is a God and be filled with fear and doubt instead of what God wants us to be filled with…Faith and Trust

                                iv.      When we believe with faith and trust, we are relying on God, submitting to Him and His ways, truly making Him our Lord!

                                   v.      When we believe but are filled with doubts and fear, we do not trust in God and rely on ourselves

                                vi.      This is the basic difference between Isaac and Ishmael…works of the spirit, and the flesh

                             vii.      Remember Jesus said in Matthew 6, you cannot serve two masters! Though Jesus was speaking of God and money here, the truth He spoke remains the same. You must serve one master or another.

                           viii.      When we live in fear and doubt, we do not serve the Lord but rely on ourselves, we become our own master.




a.      We wrestle not against flesh and blood

                                     i.      Ephesians 6 tells us our fight in this fallen world is not against flesh and blood, though the devil may use flesh and blood for weapons against us.

                                  ii.      Our battle is “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

                               iii.      Therefore, God allows us His Armor! Ephesians 6:13-18

                                iv.      We may think we are at odds with others or this world, but the real battle is spiritual, and God needed Jacob to see this.



b.     Better to go into heaven missing a limb than hell whole

                                     i.      In this process we see Jacob injured to the point he has a limp

                                  ii.      Jesus tells us in Matthew 18, if a member of your body causes you to sin, remove it. It’s better to go through life maimed than thrown into the fire of hell with all your parts.

                               iii.      Obviously, Jesus is speaking metaphorically. He doesn’t want us gouging out our eyes or chopping off hands, etc.

                                iv.      But if I am addicted to pornography, I need to remove that from my life. It is better to go through life without that, than to keep it and be thrown into the fire of hell.

                                   v.      Remember, we cannot serve two masters! Will you serve the flesh and its desires, or the Spirit of God and what the Lord commands?



c.      Jacob’s flesh finally submitted to the Lord wholly

                                     i.      After wrestling with the Lord all night, Jacob refuses to give up

                                  ii.      Sometimes we do not want to surrender, and we want to keep doing things in our own power, rather than rely on the Lord and His strength.

                               iii.      The Lord finally touches Jacob’s hip and dislocates it…very painful!

                                iv.      Jacob still would not surrender his grip, his hold, his strength, his flesh, until the Lord blessed him

1.      The Lord blesses Jacob, there has been a conversion here, Jacob is a changed man, but the Lord needs Jacob to know this!

2.      Just as the Lord called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac so that Abraham could see he was a changed man, now Jacob needed to know because this is where the Lord needs us so He can do a work in and through us!




To illustrate this point, think of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling. 

As long as the “ugly duckling” believed he was an ugly duck, he suffered and accepted abuse from all sorts of animals. 

However, when he discovered he was no duck at all, but a beautiful swan, he was no longer a slave to the abuse of others. 

He was a swan the entire time! But he believed he was something else. 

This can be us as well!  Jacob means “he grasps the heal” which is a Hebrew idiom for “he deceives” 

As long as Jacob sees himself as an ugly duckling, he will never achieve what God has called him to do in his life. He NEEDS God to reveal to him he is a changed man because of the Lord! He needs to see he is a Swan and was created to be a Swan from the very beginning!



a.      Jacob was exiled with no more than a staff

                                     i.      20 years later, returns a wealthy prince of God

                                  ii.      Jacob was part of the covenant God made with Abraham, even though he did not know it, nor accept it, or accept the one true God as his God yet!

                               iii.      God is our God whether we accept it or not. 

1.      We can either submit to the Lord and be His child

2.      Or we can resist and deny the Lord and suffer the consequences

3.      Either way, God is still God, and the Lord is still Lord of all!



b.     The Lord asks Jacob, what is your name?

                                     i.      Not because the Lord doesn’t know, but because he wants Jacob to acknowledge it, confess it, say who he thinks he is! 

                                  ii.      “I am the ugly duckling, the deceiver”



c.      Conversion has taken place

                                     i.      The Lord then says to Jacob, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

1.      Israel means “who prevails with God”

                                  ii.      The Lord wants Jacob to know, he was a Swan the entire time, and with God, no one can defeat him!

                               iii.      So the Lord changes his name to Israel…the conversion takes place. 




What the Lord wants today is the same He has wanted from the very beginning of humankind.


He wants us to acknowledge who we are without Him, the ugly duckling, and realize who we were created to be, in God, the swan!


There must be a conversion, and we must submit to the Lord.


We must ignore our flesh and its desires, and walk in the Spirit obeying all Christ commands!



Next week we will read of Jacob Meeting with Esau after 20 Years (Genesis 33:1-19)



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