Pastor Adrian Rogers said, God never uses anything or anybody other than learning to trust in Jesus.
He loves us too much to leave us self-sufficient. In part one of today's message, we began studying three principles Jacob experienced when he learned to lean on God. If you have your Bible, turn now to Hebrews chapter 11.
Look at verse 21 as Adrian Rogers shares part two of learning to lean. Look at our scripture here, Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 21. By faith, Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph and worshipped, 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 Jacob's, and he didn't need to trick Esau, but he got Esau to trade what Esau thought was the birthright for a bowl of pottage, stew or chili, whatever you want to call it. But now Jacob has had to flee because Esau has blood in his eye. Esau, Jacob's twin brother, who's actually born first, wants to kill Jacob. And Jacob, he is running, he is fleeing from his brother Esau. And now he's got to get right with Esau because he cannot really be right with God until he's right with Esau. And furthermore, he hears that Esau 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 to cause Jacob to grow and to cease to depend upon himself. Now you say, Pastor, what does that have to do with me? Friend, it has so much to do with you, it is incredible. So I beg you not to tune me out. I want you to listen as to how you can learn to cease from your self-sufficiency and depend upon God for the three things that happened to Jacob so long ago are going to have their correspondence in your life today and in my life.
The principle number one is this, God will protect you, but he will not pamper you. Now, Genesis 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 Mahanaim, which means two hosts, two hosts. 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 encamping round about him to protect him. 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 there, why, there are two hosts. There are the host of people that are with me, and then there's the heavenly host encamping all about me.
We all have angels watching over us. But yet, even though God was protecting him, God did not pamper him. God let him go through great need and want and difficulty. Now, Jacob is learning that Esau is coming. Esau 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 3, and Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother into the land of Seir, the country of Edom. And he commanded them saying, Thus shall you speak unto my Lord Esau. Can you imagine him calling Esau his Lord? My Lord, Esau, thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban and have stayed there until now, and I have oxen and asses and flocks and men's servants and women's 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 connived 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 his self-sufficiency. He begins to flatter Esau. Secondly, he begins to divide his flocks and herds and his people. 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 Esau 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, Esau, show me grace, da-da, da-da. And now he starts sending these gifts. 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 hot water. Now, what he is saying is this, Lord, I trust you, but.
Have 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. So, Genesis 32, verse 20, and ye say, Moreover, behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us, for he saith, I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face. Peradventure, he will accept me.
Appeasement, strategy, flattery. All of these things, his mind is working. Now, God lets him stew in his own juice. 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, 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 say, God will hurt me, you better believe he'll hurt you.
God will hurt you, but he will not harm you. Now, in this passage of Scripture, he's done all of this stuff. Everybody's here and there, and finally, old Jake is alone. Now, when he's alone, he has a confrontation with God himself.
Look again in verse 24. And Jacob was left alone, and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. He's done all of his figuring. Now he's by himself. He's alone in the dark, and someone pounces him. Somebody jumps on him, and he finds himself in a wrestling match.
A man out there jumps him. Who was this? It was the pre-incarnate Christ. Jesus Christ came to wrestle with Jacob. This was before Jesus was born of a virgin.
What we call a theophany, a pre-incarnate appearance of our Lord. God wants to deliver Jacob from his self-sufficiency, and so the Lord gets him in a wrestling match. And they wrestle. 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 hull of his thigh and shrivels it up. And Jacob can't wrestle anymore. Have you ever watched wrestlers? Do you know what muscle is most important to a wrestler? His thighs, 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 here and cripples it.
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, if this was the Lord, why did the Lord say, let me go? Because the Lord didn't want him to let go. You say, that doesn't make sense.
Oh, yes, it does. You study the Bible and you'll find out that many times God will act as if he wants to get away from us when he wants us to pursue him with all of our heart. Do you remember on the road to Emmaus when two disciples were going there after the resurrection and Jesus appeared in his resurrection body and he's walking with them and their hearts are burning within them. And the Bible says that Jesus made as if he would go further and they said, oh, no, no, don't spend the night with us here.
And he did. Do you remember the Syrophoenician woman who had a demon-possessed daughter? And she came to Jesus and she said, Jesus, if you can do something, heal my daughter. Jesus said to this Gentile Syrophoenician, I'm not going to take the children's bread and give it to dogs. Can you imagine Jesus saying something like that? She says, Lord, even the dogs get the crumbs that fall from under the table.
And great is your faith. And he did exactly what she asked him to do. But he acted like he wanted to get away from her, that he's not going to do this thing for her. If you read in the Bible, you'll find out that all through the Bible God sometimes acts like he wants you to let him alone, but he wants you to pursue him with all of your heart. And so the angel says, let me go.
The day is breaking. Jacob says, 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 my flattery doesn't help old Esau, 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 him up and put him down. I can't even run now. I don't have any hope except you, O God.
And I will not let you go. God has brought this man to the place where he realizes that his only hope is God, not his scheming, but his surrendering, not his bargaining, but his begging. God hurt him, but God didn't harm him.
Do you like that idea? Maybe you don't like that idea. Say, I don't like the idea of God hurting me. God loves you too much to leave you self-sufficient. God will protect you, but he will not pamper you. God will hurt you, but he will not harm you. My dad hurt me. Your dad ever hurt you?
My dad knew how to apply the Board of Education to the seed of knowledge, but he didn't harm me. I had a doctor one time. That man took a knife and cut me.
Can you imagine that? I mean, he sliced me. He hurt me, but he didn't harm me.
He helped me, because I had a rock collection down there called a gallstone. What I'm trying to say is this, that God will protect you. He never takes his eye off of you, but he will not pamper you.
He's not going to coddle you. And God will hurt you, whom the Lord loves he chastens. But God will not harm you.
You can trust him, friend. No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous but grievous, but afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them that exercise thereby. Now, here's the third and final thing I want you to see. 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 supplanter, conniver. The very name means, in modern English, con artist.
Sometimes I preach this, and I've heard people say, Oh, pastor, you ought not to say that. Our son's name is Jacob. We have a lot of boys in this church whose name is Jacob. The name Jacob has been transformed. If your name is Jacob now, it's an honorable name because we're going to see what God has done. And he said unto them, What is thy name? And 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. And Jacob asked him, 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.
That is, you ought to know who I am. And he blessed him there. And he called the name of the place Peniel, for I have seen God face to face.
Now you know who it was that was wrestling with Jacob. For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Penuel, the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. Now he's had this encounter with God.
Now it's the sunrise. But now he still has this limp. He's halting upon his thigh.
What is it? God has broken him because he wants to bless him. Now no longer is he Jacob. Now he is Israel.
Now he is a prince. Now the Lord asked him, What is your name? Do you think God didn't know what his name was? No, God wanted him to admit it. What is your name?
Con artist, conniver, schemer. Well, Jacob, I'm glad to hear you admit it. Did you know that God's going to ask you the same thing today? God is going to say to you, What is your name? And you're going to have to say, My name is Lazy, or My name is Lustful, or My name is Doubter, or My name is Liar, or 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.
And so now he goes from a name of shame to the hall of fame. The rest of his life, he has to walk with the staff. The rest of his life, he is leaning upon a staff. And when he comes to die, go back to our scripture now, over there in Hebrews 11, verse 21. And he worshiped, leaning upon his staff, learning to lean, learning to lean, learning to trust in Jesus. You see, he was broken that he might be blessed. God desires to break you that he might bless you. Did you know that God likes broken things? Men throw broken things away, but God never really ever uses anything until he first breaks it. 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'll 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 cease our self-sufficiency and cease our 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 he never could before. Now, go back to our text. Hebrews 11 and verse 24.
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 worshiped, leaning upon his staff. Now, Jacob was 147 years old when he died. He was weak and he was weary, but he spent his last moments worshiping the Lord.
What a way to go. 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.
I hope to lose. That's what I hope for all of us, that we will bow before him and say, I will not let you go unless you bless me. Listen to me. For some of you, I've been preaching long enough to know this, this message went right past you.
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-sufficiency, learning to lean, learning to lean, learning to lean on Jesus.
And old Jacob died leaning upon his staff, leaning on the Lord. Friend, if you're not absolutely certain that you're saved, let's get it settled. Let me tell you that you're a sinner by birth, by nature, by choice. Your sin deserves judgment and will receive judgment and eternal hell if you do not get saved. There's only one way to be saved, and that is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who paid your sin debt with his blood on the cross. He shed his blood as an atonement for your sin.
That does not become real to you until you repent of sin and turn to him by faith, and you can do that right now. And I want to guide you in this prayer. Would you pray this prayer, dear God? Right this moment, I open my heart. I receive you as my Lord and Savior. Save me, Lord Jesus. I don't ask for a feeling.
I don't look for a sign. I stand on your Word. I trust you to save me. And Lord Jesus, I will glorify you by making it public. I will not be ashamed of you.
Give me the strength now to make it public. In your name I pray, amen. Amen. And if you've prayed just now and you're ready to fully follow Jesus with your life, let us celebrate with you. Please go to our Find God's Love page on our website. You'll find answers you may need about your newfound faith. There's such encouragement there. Go to lwf.org slash radio and click on the tab that says Find God's Love.
Welcome to His Forever Family. We can't wait to hear from you today. Now, if you'd like a copy of today's message, you can order one by calling us at 1-877-LOVEGOD.
Mention the title, Learning to Lean. This message is also part of the insightful series, Champions of Faith. For that complete 18-message collection, call 877-LOVEGOD. Or you can order online at lwf.org slash radio. Or you can write us to order at Love Worth Finding, Box 38600, Memphis, Tennessee 38183. You may not know this, but you can also purchase our new Bible studies, much like this message, in our online store.
For information on that, go to the website, lwf.org slash radio. 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. We're so glad you joined us to study God's Word today. Tune in next time for more timeless truth from Adrian Rogers, right here on Love Worth Finding. I want you to hear an encouraging message we received on social media. Our listener wrote, Pastor Rogers was an extraordinarily sound teacher who has given my walk so much insight.
I truly enjoy his messages and that distinctive voice. I thank God that I became exposed to his teaching and am still able to follow. Well, at Love Worth Finding, our greatest hope is to continue Adrian Rogers' work in introducing people to Jesus and sharing what it means to fully follow Christ. That's why when you donate to the ministry right now, we want to send you a copy of the book, Discover Jesus. If you're navigating new territory or need a refresher walk with Christ, Discover Jesus provides the tools to use for such a season. Request a copy of the book, Discover Jesus, when you call with a gift at 1-877-LOVEGOD. Or if it's easy, give online at lwf.org slash radio.
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