The determining factor is determination

By | July 30, 2018 9:14 am

By Steve Qualls – Christpoint Church

I imagine he had a hard time sleeping that night. As he reminisced in his mind, I wonder if he thought about his family. Did he worry about his aging father? Did a silent tear slip down his cheek as he remembered waving goodbye to his mother? Did his face turn crimson in the darkness as he replayed his shameful deceit? Did a bullet of fear strike his heart as he thought about his brother’s pledge to kill him?

Abraham had a son in his old age and named him Isaac. Isaac had twin sons, and one of those sons was named Jacob, which brings us to the above story. Through several situations and God-ordained events, our story winds down to Jacob being forced to leave the only home he has ever known to avoid the wrath of his brother Esau. The story of these twin brothers is found in the 25th chapter of Genesis. But notice with me, in verse 23, where Rebekah has inquired of the Lord why the struggle between the two in the womb was so great. God’s response to her was, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”

This struggle continued past the womb and into life as their birth would indicate. Esau was born first, while Jacob held his heel coming in a close second. Now after they have grown, Jacob has deceived his brother and his father by stealing Esau’s birthright. He has fled and now he lays still in the night air, with a stone for a pillow, possibly reflecting backward on the course of events.

I want to make two key observations from this story. One is that the father and mother were very aware of the word God spoke before the birth of their sons concerning the struggle. Verse 28 draws attention to the father Isaac’s favorite son being Esau. “He was his favorite because he loved the taste of wild game,” and Esau was a skillful hunter. Did Isaac let his appetite get in the way of God’s plan? God had revealed to them that there would be a struggle and that the older would be ruled by the younger.

Sometimes in our lives today I wonder if we are allowing our appetite to get in the way of God’s divine plan for our lives? Are we sidetracking God’s anointing on our lives because we are fulfilling the hunger of something else? Bigger house, newer cars. Are we even dating the wrong person now because our appetite for the moment won’t allow us to wait for the right person to come later?

The second observation I would like to make is to take notice of Jacob’s high level of determination throughout his life. Everyone seems to focus in on his deception and dishonesty when, in fact, the Lord never mentions that he did anything wrong. Names carried meaning in the days of antiquity and Jacob’s name meant “heel grabber,” indicating that he was a second and a deceiver.

Jacob ran from who he was for 20 years. He had spent his entire early life in the shadows of someone else. Now he has spent the past 20 years running from who he was. I want to point out that he remained determined to be greater than his name would indicate.

Jacob’s determination to put away the deceiver label came to fruition, not in his search for God, but in his obedience to follow God. His determination to “strive with God” was what led to his one night encounter where God changed his name and his walk. His name and reputation finally coordinated as God honored his determination. I think many of us today are trying to distance ourselves from our reputation, and that is good. But like Jacob, it’s not the miles that change us; it’s the encounter.

How determined are we to follow a plan that is not our own? How determined are we to remain obedient to God, even when those around us become threatened or jealous of that very obedience? How determined are we to know God, even if it separates us from our families, our comforts, our securities, and our own plans? Jacob was determined to follow God’s plan for his life. How determined are we?

Determination will separate us from our will when our will is determined to follow God’s plan.

I am determined to spend more time with you at Christpoint Church my friends. I’ll see you this Sunday morning at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. at “The Point.” Real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.

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