Beth Moore — Our True Selves
Genesis 32 and I'm going to start reading in a portion that follows the Jacob narrative. If you've ever studied Jacob, he is one of the most fascinating individuals in all the Old Testament and certainly, in the book of Genesis. So we're picking up in the middle of his narrative. We're picking up at a place where God has come to him through a vision and told him, or had this voice speak over him, "It is time for you to go back home."
He has been on the run at his uncle's house, Laban's house, for 20 solid years because out of his trickery, he cheated his brother Esau, not only of his birthright but also of his father's blessing, and the last he saw his brother, his brother threatened to kill him. So his mother sends him off to her brother where he stays now for 20 solid years and where he's also acquired not one wife but through trickery two wives. This time the trick was done to him instead of by him, and that is the way the narrative goes.
So we pick up in Genesis 32, verse one as he is on his way back to the land of promise that has been given to his forefathers for him to take. It says in verse one: Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them he said, "This is God's camp!" So he called the name of that place Mahanaim. And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, instructing them, "Thus you shall say to my Lord Esau" -- this is Jacob telling them what to say to Esau -- "Thus says your servant Jacob, 'I have sojourned with Laban and stayed until now.'"
One version says: I have been detained all of these years with Laban.
"I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants. I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may find favor in your sight." Verse six: And the messengers returned to Jacob saying, "We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and there are 400 men with him."
And it says: then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and the herds and camels into two camps thinking, "If Esau comes to one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left will escape."
Picture this with me as he prepares to meet his brother who has a murderous, vengeance toward him. I want you to just go with me onto this page as we open up into this narrative where something has happened that is classic in so many of us as people of faith. We see Jacob fighting for a blessing that he has already received. It's truly so intriguing because God spoke over the children in the womb of their mother when they were wrestling and turning. And she said, "The younger one will be lord over the older one. He will take the authority." It had already been given. Yet why is it that they had to manipulate for what God had already said was theirs? But they had to find a way -- anybody know what it is like to just help God out with it?
Just like I don't see you doing it so listen, I know you're just like, you're busy, you've got a lot going. And this is how I see this coming down. So they kept trying to steal.
So often, brothers and sisters, we are trying to steal what God has already given us. We're trying to take something of the spirit by fleshly means and it never works -- it never works. I want to just tell you -- I want to just welcome you to the book of geniuses. Because honestly, we get into this book and go, "You know what? My family is not altogether different from the family of promise on the early pages of Genesis."
I want you to just wonder with me today, how many of you would say you're in a mess? I mean would anybody? It would be good to just see a few hands. Go ahead because like nobody is even watching you. Maybe who is with you, maybe you know a mess and you're going...
Or maybe you could say like me, you just are your biggest mess. Anybody? I am the biggest mess I've got.
Here's what's going to happen over our coming series. God is going to mess with our mess. Oh, yes he is. Oh, he is going to get into it with us. And he is going to come right into the mess that is us, right into the mess that is around us and he is going to mess with our mess. Somebody say, "Jesus is going to mess with my mess!"
And he is going to mess with your mess and its going to be straighter once he gets done with it.
I love this little excerpt out of a commentary. It is a Jewish commentary on Genesis called The Beginning of Wisdom. He says this: One of the deepest problems inherent in all family life, the tension between family of origin and family of perpetuation -- anybody? Or more generally between the claims of the past and the claims of the future.
Nothing like trying to get your family of origin to fully get along with your family of perpetuation, the one that God is growing now. If you're like me, when you try -- especially when you're trying to get the in-laws with your original family, it is like you know what? When somebody is going, "Let's all have Christmas together." I'm going, "Let's not."
Anybody know what I'm saying? I love you both! Can we have one for lunch and one for supper? Because it is just a lot to put them altogether. Because somehow the demands of past and the demands of the future, this tension... I have lived in a fair amount of tension between the demands of my family of origin, I would say a very fair amount of tension between the demands of a family of origin and the demands of my own family underneath my own roof. Anybody else?
So some of that tension, I want you to kind of sit in that and feel the in-between of the claims of the past and the claims of the future because so often, there's something back there that is still having present effects of past situation. Something we regret terribly of our youth and we're living with it in our present. Anybody know what I'm talking about? Anybody been there besides me?
Listen, about a month ago, I arrived in Moline, Illinois for a Living Proof Live. I was so thrilled to get there; about an hour's flight outside of Chicago. It is John Deere country; where the headquarters of John Deere. Don't think I didn't take every one of my pictures off of our equipment that we actually do real live own because we live in the back woods of nowhere. But we had the best time in Moline, Illinois.
But when I got off the plane and was walking through the airport there was some people that were waiting on other people to get off and there was a woman with a tattoo sleeve. Now I'm not talking about -- I've always thought, in a different life I probably would have gotten tattoos. I'm not talking about that. So I don't want nobody to get any condemnation on you. I can think its darling. But this was the sleeve. Anybody? This was the full sleeve. That really looks good at about 25 and 30 but only the woman was, I'd give her, right under 70. And it was like, whoa! Wowzer! Because to be honest with you, I could no longer tell exactly what the original design was; that's the thing.