Is there a hope when hope is taken away? When all your hope is gone, is there still hope? Is there hope when the situation is hopeless? I do not know what situation you are facing today. Maybe it’s with your health, maybe it’s with your children, maybe it’s with your marriage, maybe it’s with your finances. Is there hope for you when the situation appears hopeless? Now that question leads us to the Christian hope. For in the Bible, hope is no longer a passion for the possible. It becomes a passion for the promise. Now I do not want you to miss that.
In the Bible, hope is not some passion for the impossible. Hope is a passion for the promise. It leads us to cling to and believe in the promises of God. Now the Bible is filled with hopeful promises. Romans chapter 15 verse 4 – For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and the comfort of the scriptures might have hope. So the purpose of the stories in the old testament is to give us hope. That as we study them and see the experiences of the old testament giants of faith went through. Sometimes they walked through valleys, sometimes they sang on mountain tops, sometimes they went through storms, sometimes their days were fair, sometimes their lives were engulfed in darkness, other times the light of grace were shining upon them. But as we read those stories our hearts too can be filled with hope. Their stories were recorded to give us hope.
One of the most discouraging yet hopeful story in all of the Old Testament is the story of Jacob. Jacob’s story is a story of hope amidst failure. It’s a story of hope amidst defeat. It’s a story of deceit, lies, anger and broken relationships. But it’s a story of repentance, confession, forgiveness, new life and joy. It’s a story of fleeing from God and meeting God. It’s a story of turning what appeared to be a disaster into a blessing. It’s a story of Jacob. Now it’s particularly relevant for an end-time people who will pass through what scripture calls Jacob’s trouble.
Jacob’s life has 5 phases which has lessons for us. Lessons that jump out in us. Lessons that shout at us. Lessons of defeat and victory. Lessons of sorrow and joy. Lessons of hopelessness and hope.
Jacob has a twin who is Esau. Esau was born ahead of Jacob. Esau should have been the rightful inheritor of the birthright promise. God gave a promise right at the birth of Esau and Jacob – Gen. 25:23. Esau was Isaac’s favourite and there was sibling rivalry. Jacob was Rebecca’s favourite and has more of a spiritual inclination. And Rebecca would like Jacob to have the birthright. Rebecca was lobbying with Isaac but Isaac wouldn’t hear about it. Rebecca then took matters into her own hands. She stepped into action and so created a plan. Lesson to all ladies: be careful with whatever you overhears. God can have a way to solve problems without your influence.
What was the root of Jacob’s problem? One was lack of faith that God could accomplish what God promised. The other problem was self-pity.Both Jacob and his mother believed that they were treated unfairly. They believed that things should not be like that. And as a result of that, they took their lives out of the hands of God and acted in ways that later brought them great disaster.
Was Jacob more qualified to have the birthright than Esau? Absolutely! The inheritor of the birthright has 3 main responsibility – 1.) The firstborn who received the birthright had pre-eminence over the entire family. He is like the father of the family. 2.) The firstborn who received the birthright was the spiritual leader of the family. 3.) The firstborn who received the birthright was the inheritor of most of the father’s wealth. Jacob was more spiritual in his inclinations than Esau. Esau wanted only the wealth. He was not concerned about leading the family. He was not concerned about being the leader of the family – being a counsellor, a guide. He was not concern about spiritual leadership. Esau just wanted the wealth of his father for Isaac has a lot of flocks. The problem with Rebecca and Jacob was that rather than trusting God, they did it themselves. They’ve put the matter in their own hands.
Now EGW writes in Patriarch’s & Prophets page 180 – Jacob and Rebecca succeeded in their purpose, but they gained only trouble and sorrow by their deception. God had declared that Jacob should receive the birthright, and His word would have been fulfilled in His own time had they waited in faith for Him to work for them. But like many who now profess to be children of God, they were unwilling to leave the matter in His hands. Rebecca bitterly repented the wrong counsel she had given her son.
When the situation in your life appears hopeless, do not take your self out of God’s hands and do something rashly. When the situation in your life appears hopeless, trust God that He will fulfill all of His promises for you.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is nothing. Did you get it? Sometimes the best thing you can do is nothing. Leave your life in God’s hands watch what God is going to do, living a life of dependence, living a life of trust, living a life of faith.
There are times when the situation in your finances seems hopeless you make crazy decisions. They are times when there are situations in your health and you make foolish decisions. They are times when there are situations in your marriage that appears to be hopeless you make foolish decisions. And then later you will ask “God why did I ever do that?”
Sin has its consequences filled with guilt. Jacob flees as a fugitive. He would never see his mother again. The relationship they once had was over forever. Driven by a condemning conscience he began a long arduous journey from Beer-sheba to Heron, the home of his mother’s brother Laban. Rebecca thought Jacob would have some protection there. Jacob’s heart was heavy. He travelled 500 miles – looking out for bandits, hostile tribes, consumed with guilt, weary and he is distant from everything familiar. He was in the dessert. He rested and God visited him in his dream. At this point Jacob was not seeking God. God was seeking Jacob. God looks down on Jacob’s hopelessness. God looks down on Jacob’s despair. God looks down on Jacob’s guilt. See Gen.28:11,12 – Jacob’s Dream.
Gen. 28:15, God’s promise to Jacob and to us. Christ comes to us. The ladder reaches where you are. Wherever you are in life’s journey today Christ comes to you. He descends down the ladder of heaven. Jesus meets you where you are, in your hopelessness, in your dream. And God make 4 Promises to Jacob and He made 4 promises to you. “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” – God’s Promise to Jacob and to the rest of humanity .
Jacob I am with you in your guilt, sorrow, disappointment and hopelessness. This is promise number one- what a reassurance. Jacob you may feel alone and hopeless but I am with you. Promise number two – I will keep you wherever you go. In other words, I’m gonna preserve you. Your life is not for nothing. Your life is not in vain. Promise number three – I will bring you back to this land – years may pass, decades may pass but I will bring you back to this land because I have a purpose for your life. Promise number four , “until I have done what I have spoken of to you” – I have a destiny for you and I am not gonna let your life collapse in hopelessness. God is speaking to somebody here today (He is speaking to me while I am typing this!). God is touching somebody’s heart today. God is saying to you, “I have a destiny for you.” God is saying to you, “ I have a plan for you.” God is saying to you, “ I have the ladder descending right where you are.” Jesus is the ladder. He meets us where we are. Jesus reaches you where you are, whatever your circumstances.
“Jesus reaches where you are. Whatever your circumstance.” – Broken relationships, fractured friendships, hurting marriages, the ladder reaches where you are. Failures, mistakes, guilt, condemnation, assorted past that haunts you, the ladder reaches where you are. Weakness, spiritual frailty, complacency, lukewarmness, the ladder reaches where you are.
Source: An Excerpt/Transcription of Pastor Mark Finley’s Sermon “God’s Ladder Can Reach You”