Jentezen Franklin - Moments That Mark Us - Part 1
If you have your Bibles, I'd like for you to open them with me to the book of Exodus 32. I don't sing and play for you, I need it because I like to do it for Him. And it just does something, I don't know for me. So, you have to tolerate it, amen. Genesis 32. I'm ready to preach now. One of the great stories of the Bible, verse 22 of Genesis chapter 32. This is about Jacob. "And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, his 11 sons, and he crossed over the river of Jabbok. He took them and he sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had". Maybe the most powerful phrase ever spoken over his life happens next.
"Then Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. And when he saw that he did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip. And the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as he wrestled with Him". When it says he wrestled with a man, it was not a man, it was Jesus. It was God. And I'll show you that in scripture. He was not even wrestling with an angel, it was Jesus. And I'll tell you why I say that. "And He said," speaking of Jesus, "'Let me go for the day breaks.' But he said," speaking of Jacob, "I will not let you go unless you bless me. So, He said to him, 'What is your name?' And he said, my name is Jacob. And He said, 'Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but your new name is Israel. For you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.'"
This is, what He's saying is, "Everything changes here today in this spot for you". "Then Jacob asked, saying, 'Tell me your name, I pray.' And He said, 'Why is it that you ask about my name?'" Listen, "And He blessed him there". He, God, Jesus, blessed him there. Now here's why I know who it was. "So, Jacob called the name of the place, Peniel," listen, "For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. Just as he crossed over Peniel, the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip because it had been pulled out of joint. Therefore, this day, the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrink, which is on the hip socket because he touched the socket of Jacob's hip in the muscle that shrank".
I want to talk to you for a few moments about this story, and I want to preach specifically about the encounter that Jacob had that would forever change him. And I'm gonna call this, "Moments that Mark us". When I look back on my own life, there are those God encounter moments that marked me and changed me for the rest of my life. I had my plans, I had my thoughts, I had my dreams, and then I got in the wrong service like you're in. And God encountered me, arrested me, found me, spoke to me, gave me direction. It's hard to describe what happens in these moments. It's when He marks you. He marked Jacob by pulling his leg out of joint. He laid his hand on him. He touched him, the scripture said.
And in that moment, when you have an encounter like Jacob had, and you can have those encounters in this day and in this time, He's that real. Maybe not the physical thing of pulling your leg, I'm glad. But there are those moments that if you respond properly, everything changes. Everything changes. I've had those moments when He broke the chains, and I was freed. It changes the lenses through which you see your past. You can forgive people because you don't see them as the enemy. You see that even what I went through, God is using for his glory. It changes your present. The lenses you see the present through change. The lenses you see the future through, everything changes when you have an encounter like Jacob had. It's a moment that marks you.
I can take you to places and I can say right here in this place is where I encountered God in a significant way in my life, and it changed my direction. Like Jacob, it changed the walk. The next step that I took was changed by that encounter that I had in that room or in that service in that moment. It happened to me. I'm not telling you something I heard about, it happened to me. It's happened to me over and over. It's not a normal moment. It's not an ordinary moment. It's moments when God in His presence just really does a work in your life. You forever carry that moment with you. The meetings with God alter your destiny even, and the destiny of your family. That's how crucial, how important they are.
The thing about Jacob is he was a deceiver. The thing about Jacob is he did not have it together. He was a liar. He was a thief. He was a share, he was a stealer. He was a conniver. His name meant supplanter. He was not a good guy. You know, I love the fact that the Bible tells us that these were just real people, and Jacob was a messed up, ambitious, and that's not why he was messed up. But something in him was just off all the time. And then he comes to this moment, and the first thing that he does that creates these moments, I'm gonna give you three things real fast today of how you create a moment that marks you for the rest of your life. These things attract God to that place that forever alters your life.
The first thing he did is the Bible said, he said to his wife and to his servants and to his sons. He had 12 of them, and 11 at that time. And he had two wives, and he had two be, and I don't have time to explain all that, just read the Bible. But he had two wives, and he had two servants, and he had 11 sons. And he, 15 in total took them across the river and said, "I love you, but I can't be with you right now". Because his brother, Esau, was coming to kill him, and he was bringing 600 assassins. And he said, "You go. I'm send", and he took them away.
Now, what that says to me, that is that if any of those 15 relationships could have changed him, they would've changed him. They could not fix him. Sometimes we always want people if they do this and they do that, but sometimes the change is not where you think it needs to be. It's not up to the other people, it's up to you. And so, what he does is he sends them across the river because he was saying, "Not one out of those 15 relationships can satisfy the longing in my soul. Not one out of those 15 relationships can meet and change me like I need a change inwardly. There's something in me that's just messed up. I don't know. I don't know what to do to change myself".
What you need sometimes cannot be found in a crowd. What you need sometimes cannot, if other people would do right, then you would be all right. Really, that's not true. Sometimes the only thing that can fix you is a relationship and encounter with God. What you need is not online. And when you reach that point in Genesis 32:24, here it is, the most powerful phrase, "And Jacob was left alone and he wrestled with the angel," that we know was Jesus. And when he got through with it, I love what he said, he said, "I have seen God face to face". He said, "This encounter could not happen in a crowd".
And even though you're in a crowd, here's what I want you to understand. I've had services that were just, that I was in that shaped my life forever. And they were big crowds. But God has a way of making it just you and Him even when you're in a big crowd. And in that moment, He said, "Let me tell you how to define your life in a different way. It's when you get by yourself". It happens when you send others across the river. It happens when you desire communion with God more than community with people. A fresh encounter. You get low, you get broken, you get honest. You look inside and you say, "I need to change, but I can't change me".
And suddenly God is drawn to honesty. God is drawn to sincerity. God is drawn to weakness. God is not drawn to proud, arrogant strength. He's drawn to people who get low, who get broken in spirit, who say, "I cannot fix myself and there's no human being that can fix me. Only God can do it". And the Bible said, "He wrestled," listen to the word, "With the man until the breaking of day". The power of an until. Until is a powerful word. Until means that you take the time limits off. "And he said, 'I won't let go until you bless me". Pray until the angel shows up. Pray until the atmosphere changes. Pray until you feel, "I am having an encounter with God".
And in that moment a miracle begins to happen. Some of you're so caught up in the day that you don't have any time for the until. And the Bible said, "When he saw that he prevailed not, that God," or the angel "touched Jacob". Everybody say, "Touched". He touched. He got a touch, the hollow of Jacob's thigh. And you would think as the sun is coming up now, think with me just a moment. This is the part of the story I missed that I saw afresh this week. He wrestles all night, and he doesn't get what he wants. And Jesus is, of course, letting him wrestle. The angel is letting him. He could have beat him anytime he wanted. But what he's working on is, "I'm changing you on the inside, and I wanna see if you really want it".
And when he saw that he couldn't prevail, that he was not gonna let him go, here's a test. The angel touches his hip, pulls it outta socket. Do you know how painful that is? Have you ever had an arm... I've had an arm dislocated. I've had, that is painful. Do you know how painful it would've been? And anybody in the right mind, "The sun is coming up. I tried all night. Nothing happened. I'm not blessed. I don't have the blessing. I've been marked and I'll never be the same. But there's nothing on the other side of going through this hurt and pain".
And this is the problem, anytime God allows you to be marked, anytime God allows you to go through pain and tragedy, anytime God allows someone to die in your family or some tragedy or some heartbreak to happen and you get marked, it's a moment that marks you for the rest of your life. It becomes, whether it's an abuse, whether it's somebody who lied on you and did something to you that hurt you so bad, and you're marked, what happens to people is that's when they quit. The remarkable part of this story is... Lord, help me to say it like I need to say it.
When it made sense to stop, Jacob didn't stop. When it made sense to quit and to give up, Jacob said, in a defiant voice, "I will not stop. I will not give up. I will not let go until you turn this mark into a blessing". Because anytime God gives you a mark, a pain, a tragedy, a trial, something that marks you for the rest of your life, if you won't let go of God, He will take it and turn it into a blessing.
This is what we've got, you gotta get an until in your spirit. "Yeah, I've been hurt in this marriage, but I'm not gon' let go until I see a blessed home and a blessed marriage and a blessed family". "Yeah, I've been through some things, but I serve the God who, what they meant for my evil, God, if I hold on to Him, we'll turn it for the good". And the Bible said, he said, "I will not let you go until you bless me". He's marked. And this is where people, they lose their faith.
Something happens, and they're marked, and they've changed for the rest of their life. They walk with a limp, emotionally, the rest of their life. And they don't understand. Go all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Anytime God marks you, "Adam, I'mma mark you. I'mma put you to sleep. I'mma open your side up. I'mma reach inside of you. There's stuff in you. I'mma pull it out of you". But out of the marking came woman. Took a rib out, formed the woman, and formed the family and blessed the family. If God marks you, it's a Bible principle. If He marks you, it is because out of that very painful tears, sorrow, brokenness, out of that bloody mark would come the greatest blessing that Adam could ever imagine.
God was gonna multiply him and bless him beyond anything he could imagine. When Jesus wanted a church, it required a mark in His side and nail prints in His hands. But don't give up. Don't quit after the crucifixion. Because if God marks you, if you hold on, God is going to bless you. Take a praise break and I'll keep on preaching just a minute. Jacob said, "I will not let go". I know it makes sense. It makes sense to quit when you've been marked and you've had a day that, and I mean, we've had people who've had car wrecks and they buried their son, and we've had everything you can imagine in the 30 plus years that I've been here, every kind of tragedy you can imagine.
And in that moment, I watched these people. And there have been some who lose their faith and lose their way, but God doesn't lose them. And He'll keep, He still has His hand on them. But there's others that when they all, when it makes sense to quit and to give up and to be just disillusioned by faith in God, instead they grab hold of Him, and they hold on. And today, years later, those people would say, "It marked me, but it blessed me. And I can't describe to you. I wouldn't be who I am and where I am if that marking had not been turned into a blessing".
Wooh, I feel like shouting just a minute, because has anybody been marked lately? Has anybody been through something that marked you and changed everything in your life? And the enemy wants you to cry over it the rest of your life. He wants you to be depressed over it the rest of your life. He wants you to be offended over it the rest of your life. But if you get in a wrestling match and you say, "Get all that outta me, and turn me into who you want me to be. Help me to bless my enemies and love those that have despitefully used me. Teach me how to love like you love me".