- The Word of Faith is not “If” but “Since”
- The Cost of the Choice Based on Outward Appearance
- The Giver of Life
- The Giver of Blessings
- What God Sees
- What Do We Long For? Home
- God’s Token
- Doubting God
- Prayer of Faith
- The Value of Being Alone
- The Value of the Limp
- Signs of the Change
- What Makes a Child of God Stink among the World?
Text verses: Genesis 32:3-8
“Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed…” (Genesis 32:7a)
Why was Jacob “greatly afraid and distressed”? God had spoken to him twice and assured him:
“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee…” (Genesis 28:15)
“And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers… and I will be with thee.” (Genesis 31:3)
God had proven to Jacob, in his twenty-year stay in Laban’s house, that He (God) had been true to His Promise to keep Jacob in every situation.
“…but the God of my father hath been with me.” (Genesis 31:5)
“… but God suffered him (Laban) not to hurt me.” (Genesis 31:7)
“…for I (God) have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.” (Genesis 31:12)
“And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.” (Genesis 31:24)
“…God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.” (Genesis 31:42)
Even after all that Jacob had experienced in his twenty-year stay with Laban, how God had protected him in every situation and circumstance – Jacob:
1) Left without notice to Laban. “Because I (Jacob) was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me.” (Genesis 31:31)
2) Was “greatly afraid and distressed…” (Genesis 32:7a). Why? Because the messengers Jacob had sent to Esau to ask for grace (in an effort to pacify Esau’s wrath) had returned and reported to Jacob that Esau and 400 men had come to meet Jacob (Genesis 32:3-6).
Then Jacob got “greatly afraid and distressed”; and he hatched up a plan of his own to divide his company into two groups (Genesis 32:7-8); trying to spare maybe one of the two groups, if Esau were to attack them. This is a sad action of Jacob in his own strength to save some of his people.
What happened to Jacob?
1) He had the Promise of the Almighty God to keep him and protect him;
2) Jacob had been given proof that God had kept His Promise to him;
3) And yet he acted before prayer (see Proverbs 3:5-6). Jacob’s problem of fear came from acting on sight, and not acting in faith.
We need not think Jacob’s action is so strange; we need not criticize Jacob too harshly – for many of God’s Sheep, even today, try the “sight walk” before the “faith walk.”
The solution to the problem is described most vividly in Matthew 14:
“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” (Matthew 14:30)
“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)
Why did Peter begin to sink? “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Peter obviously looked at “the wind boisterous”; then “he was afraid.”
Why was he afraid? He looked at his situation through the eyes of his flesh and not through the eyes of faith.
Many times, we have the same problem – we look through the eyes of our flesh. We say, “We can’t do this.” We do not remind ourselves:
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
Shame, shame on us – when we remember not the Promises of God. Shame on us as God’s Sheep – when we forget the Great Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd, the Good Shepherd is with us. Shame on us for not reflecting on the facts that:
1) God loves us, His Sheep.
2) He has good for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
3) Because God has joined us unto Himself; we are His Body, His Bride, His Wife.
4) Because God has a Purpose for us in Himself to “inherit all things” in Himself (Christ); we are ordained unto complete “Oneness” with Him (John 17:21-24).
What do we do? If we desire Victory – we must stop, be still, wait on God, and pray to God (see Isaiah 40:28-31; Proverbs 3:5-6; James 1:5); walk in the Power of God the Spirit, be led of the Spirit, and live in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 18, 24-25).
Why? “O thou of little faith”; Faith is not what is “little” in the believer, for Faith is Christ (Galatians 2:20). The “little” in the believer is:
1) Our lack of trusting in God’s Promises;
2) Our lack of maturity in Christ (because of a laxity of study, prayer, confession, surrender, submission, obedience, and endurance);
3) Our lack of yielding daily our entire being to God (our body, soul, and spirit). (See Romans 6:8-22.)
We can’t blame God (2 Peter 1:1-4); but we must hold ourselves accountable. We are the problem.
Peter looked at the boisterous wind and was afraid, and Jesus was only a few feet away from him.
How does this happen? The answer is in the mirror.