Worship was led by Norman Rees of Bethany Free Church, Clarbeston Road, Haverfordwest, who preached Genesis chapter 32. Jacob was a problematic person who God used. In this passage Jacob has left home after stealing his brother’s birth-right and is now returning after twenty years away, expecting to face his brother’s wrath.
Jacob was blessed by God, who made a covenant with him. He had settled down and wanted for nothing at all. Now the Lord has told Jacob to return to Canaan, to the land of his kindred. This must have been a huge shock. He was very fearful, his life was now being turned upside-down. Sometimes our life is like that; everything is going smoothly then out of the blue something happens and we may ask, “Why Lord?” This is to make us realise we cannot be independent of God.
As Jacob heads back he makes a plan of action. He sent messengers ahead who were met by Esau, who was coming to meet Jacob with 400 men. Jacob was greatly afraid. We can have distressing, perplexing news which can make us feel fearful. We become worried and concerned. Why is this happening? It is to strengthen our faith. It is easy to be a Christian when things are going well but then something happens to break the nest, to teach us to fly:
“As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the Lord alone led him.” (Deuteronomy 32:11)
God breaks the nest of people so they may know God. Gidoen, Moses and Paul were all fearful. God brings us problems to send us to Him in prayer. When there are ripples in your life, there is action in your life. Come to God and rejoice in Him. Jacob had problems and he went to God in prayer. He went to the God who had blest him and now who is trying him. God knows when to allow the devil to attack you and when to take the devil off your back. Come to God in prayer.
How do you come to God in prayer? We come to a God who welcomes us, who knows the unworthiness of His children, but there is one who makes us worthy. The Lord Jesus Christ came from heaven in order that He might redeem us from condemnation, from Hell. The wrath of the Holy Father was poured on His head. We can never imagine His suffering. His righteousness has been given to us if we repent and give our lives to Him. Jacob is honest in his prayer to God. God knows our troubles but He wants us to tell Him, to voice our concerns and needs.
The best part of intercession Jacob receives is that God’s Word has come to Him. He knows there is a purpose to what is happening to Him. He is bringing God’s Word back to Him:
“Remember the Word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in affliction, for Your Word has given me life.”
What is your comfort in affliction? Where do you go when trouble comes? Go to the Word of God, to God Himself. Be honest with the Lord, tell Him what is on your heart. Do not allow the things of this world to cloud your mind. We have the promises of God, don’t forget the Word of God. If a fear drives you to God thank Him for that fear. Jacob had a cloud of darkness but it burst into blessings. Wait on God. Are you content with what God has given you? Commit your situation to God. Things may be taken from us, but never our Salvation. We have a hope in heaven. Whatever we go through God does it for the best. Trust in His Word, take everything to Him in prayer. Faith without works is dead. Prayer, faith and working for God go together. God is a good God. Glorify Him wherever He takes us.