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Intro: This is the second spiritual encounter of Jacob's life. The first was at a place called Bethel, Gen. 28:10-22. At Bethel, Jacob saw a ladder, as Jabbok, he saw the Lord. At Bethel, Jacob became a believing man, at Jabbok, he became a broken man. At Bethel, Jacob became a son of God, at Jabbok, he became a saint of God. At Bethel he died to his sins, at Jabbok, he died to self. He left Bethel with a spring in his step, he left Jabbok with a lasting limp but with a forever changed heart.

Now, all men need a Bethel experience. Every person in this room needs to be able to recall a time when you met God personally, you received Him and became His child. Isn't salvation wonderful? However, many never go beyond that experience. They get saved and that's as far as they go. They never seem to be able to produce anything for the glory of the Lord. While we must have a Bethel experience if we expect to get to Heaven, we also need a Jabbok experience if we ever hope to be useful to the Lord.

The very thing that happened to Jacob needs to happen in the life of every believer in this room this evening. He spent the night talking with the Lord and He was never the same. I would venture to say that 99% of all Christians need to have a little talk with Jesus like old Jacob had. Let's spend some time this evening looking into these verses and see what transpired during Jacob's talk with the Lord.


A. Jacob was facing a serious time of testing. He had left his home behind and he was about to face a brother he had wronged many years earlier. At this juncture in his life, he needed to seek counsel from the Lord. The fact that Jacob spent the night in prayer is evident from Hosea 12:4. As he entered this time of prayer meeting, Jacob found himself very much alone. (Ill. All he had was gone. Family, servants, livestock, wealth, everything. Jacob was forced to face God all alone!)

B. Ill. Many people fear this kind of loneliness! People structure their time to be as full as possible. The reason? When we are alone and unoccupied, then we have to come face to face with God, Ill. Judas, Matt. 27:3-5! People fear that kind of intimacy with the Lord! Yet, the very thing they fear is the very thing they need the most in their lives.

C. When we are busy, we can occupy the heart and the mind. When we are alone and still, it is easier for us to hear the Lord when He is speaking. (Ill. Many sinners tend to fill their lives with busy work so that they can avoid the voice of God.)

D. If we Christians are going to be strong in the Lord, then we must find time to be alone with God. (Ill. The value of a daily quiet time is clearly demonstrated in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. He took time to be alone with the Father - Matt. 14:23; Luke 6:12) Ill. You and I should never fear being alone with the Lord. He only has good planned for us, Jer. 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

I. Jacob Was Very Much Alone


A. As Jacob prayed that night, it appears that he experienced a Theophany. That is, he was privileged to be in a place where the Lord decided to manifest Himself in a personal manner. A theophany in a pre-Bethlehem appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. The angel was unable to overcome Jacob. Of course, we know that God could whip Jacob with just the thought of His mind, but He allowed Jacob to fight to bring Jacob to the place where he was willing to see himself as he truly was.

(Ill. At this point in time, Jacob represents the fleshy nature of man. He represents our old, sinful nature that is constantly fighting against the Lord. These natures that we are born with are stubborn, unyielding, fighting and self-sufficient. The old nature of man is everything the saint of God should not be.)

B. The fact is, many of us are just like Jacob! We fight the Lord at every turn in our lives. God will tell us something is wrong and the old nature rebels against the Lord's truth. God will tell is something is right and our flesh will rise up in defiance. (Ill. Paul struggled with this dilemma - Rom. 7:15-25.)

(Ill. May I remind you this evening that the old nature is not fit to live! It deserves on thing and that is to be put to death, Col. 3:5-10; Eph. 4:22-24; ***Gal. 5:19-25***)

(Ill. We are called upon to reckon the old man dead, Rom. 6:1-18. However, we like to drag the corpse around with us don't we? Ill. The Roman practice of taking a convicted murderer into desert, staking him down and then laying the corpse of his victim on top of him. Just as the corruption from that corpse would fall upon that guilty man until he eventually died, so our old nature eats away at us bringing death, destruction and corruption at every turn. The old human nature is fit for nothing less that the fire of hell. It ides not deserve to live! I join Paul in exclaiming, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."

C. I challenge you to ask yourself tonight, "Who is alive? My self, that old man; or the Lord Jesus?" Do you constantly find yourself fighting against the Lord? Do you find yourself acting stubbornly when faced with God's plan for your life? Who is alive in you, the flesh or the Lord? Look again at Rom. 6:6-7; Gal. 2:20.

I. Jacob Was Very Much Alone

II. Jacob Was Very Much Alive


(Ill. This one night in the life of Jacob was the culmination of 20 years of patient activity by the Lord. Ill. We want instant everything today. Instant coffee, instant tea, instant grits, instant gratification, instant everything! Yet there is one thing for sure: Instant holiness is not available to anyone! It is always the result of prayer, sacrifice and self-denial. It seems that God always takes His time in bringing us to spiritual maturity. He gently and patiently leads us along and brings us to the place where we can be filled and used for His glory. This is evident in the life of Jacob.)

A. V. 25b-27 He Was A Broken man - Notice:

1. He Was Clinging - Jacob is no longer fighting, he is merely holding on. If we insist on fighting the Lord and His attempts at growing us, He will eventually bring us to the place where all the fight is gone. You see, He knows exactly where and how to touch your life to get your attention. (Ill. Absalom and Joab - 2 Sam. 14:28-32). God's desire for your life and mine is that we come to the place where stop walking in our own power and self-sufficiency and we come to the place where we are depending on Him for everything. He wants us to understand the truth of John 15:5.

2. He Was Confessing - The angels demands to know Jacob's name. He forced to admit just who he is. Ill. Jacob = trickster, supplanter, cheat, one who takes you by the heal. Or, in our terms, one who twists the arm. Jacog had to come to the place of seeing himself as he really was before the Lord could use him. By the way, God can't use any of us until we are will to admit the truth about ourselves to Him. God can't use us until we come to the place where we are willing to admit that we are failures and sinners before Him and that we are incapable of anything without Him - 1 John 1:9. God will bless an honest heart, Psa. 51:17, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."

B. V. 28-30 He Was A Blessed Man - Ill. The Jacob who left Canaan was capable of deceiving his brother, lying to his blind father, of cheating a crooked uncle. But, the man who returns is a man with a new nature. No more Jacob the "Trickster", but Israel a "Prince with God."

(Ill. God's purpose in breaking us always the same. He does it so that He can make us again, Ill. The Potter - Jer 18:4. He doesn't throw us away, but He shapes us and molds us until we fit the image He desires for us to have. He really is still working on us!)

(Ill. Saul/Paul - He was worthless until he was broken before the Lord. But, once he was broken, the world was touched for Jesus!) I wonder what God could do with each of us if we came to that place where we were totally broken and yielded before the Lord?

C. V. 31-32 He Was A Branded Man - Ill. The limp! Everywhere Jacob went after that day, he carried the mark of God upon his body. (Ill. When he stood before Pharaoh in Gen. 47:7-10.) Every step he took reminded him and everyone around him that he was the Lord's and the Lord had touched him in a very personal manner. Ill. The believer is no different - Matt. 5:16. We ought to be branded for Jesus - Ill. Paul - Gal. 6:17. (Ill. The Law of the Bondslave - Ex. 21:1-6. After the hole had been bored into the ear, there was no doubt as to who the slave belonged to! By the way, folk ought not have to wonder about us either!)

(Ill. The walk of the believer ought to be different - 2 Cor. 5:17. When a man is walking with the Lord, he will always be out of step with the world!)

Conc: Jacob's life was one of contrasts. Before this incident, faulty, substandard living marked this man's life. After this eventful night, holiness and spirituality marked him. If you were perfectly honest this evening, which would you say best describes your life? Carnal or spiritual? Perhaps this would be a good time for you to come to this altar and let this be the place for your Peniel experience. Let this be the night when you come before the Lord and allow yourself to be broken by Him for service. Let this be the time when you are forever altered. The time when you fully and finally present yourself a living sacrifice to the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom. 12:1-2. Many of you know you have resisted His call, let tonight be the night when you find yourself out of step with the world and in step with God. Will you come as He calls you to Him?


Sermon By Alan Carr


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