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Matt Hagee - Get a Grip

Matt Hagee - Get a Grip
Matt Hagee - Get a Grip

Genesis 32:24 is where we find Jacob wrestling with God. But really and truly, if you want to know where Jacob's wrestling match started, you have to go all the way back to his beginning. Here in Genesis 32, the Bible speaks about him being alone. And the reason he's alone is because he's about to confront his brother, Esau. And Jacob is concerned that Esau is going to keep a promise that he had made long ago. And that promise was, "The next time that I see you, I'm going to kill you".

Now how many of you know that you've got a fractured family relationship when those are the parting words from your brother? Jacob and Esau have been battling back and forth for decades, because there is a blessing that comes with the lineage of Abraham and Isaac. And Jacob and Esau have been struggling since the very beginning because the blessing is worth fighting for. Whenever you get into Jacob's life, you begin to understand that he's been like this from the very beginning. As the battle goes on between him and God, day is about to break, and the angel of the Lord says, "Turn me loose". And Jacob says, "I'm not going to turn you loose unless you bless me". And the angel of the Lord says to Jacob, "What's your name"? And Jacob says very plainly and very simply, "My name is Jacob".

And with this statement, Jacob is making a confession, because his name has a meaning. "I am who they say I am". I've done what they said I did. I've cheated. I've lied. I've scammed and schemed and strategically taken from others what wasn't mine. Whenever you look at where Jacob and Esau come from, Jacob and Esau arrive in the Word of God in Genesis 25. Isaac is 40 years old and his wife, Rebekah, is about to have her children. And as she's waiting for the children to be born and she's waiting for her time of pregnancy to be over, she makes this statement. She says, "It feels like there's a war that's going on inside my womb". And so she prayed, and the Lord told her this about what was happening. He gave her a sonogram. He said, "There's two nations in your womb, and two people shall be separated from your body". He said, you're having twins. He said, "One people is going to be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger".

So the Bible goes on to tell us about the day of delivery: that "When her days were fulfilled, she gave birth, and sure there were in her body twins". Now listen to this. This is verse 25 of chapter 25. It says, "The first came out red". Now if I were Isaac, I'd have some questions, but he held his peace. "The first came out red and was like a hairy garment all over". Congratulations, ma'am. You've had a schnauzer. "And they called his name Esau. And afterwards, his brother came out and", listen to this, "His hand took hold of Esau's heel: so he was called Jacob," which means heel catcher. "Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them to him. And the boys grew. And Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field: and Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents. Isaac loved Esau, because he ate of the game, and Rebekah loved Jacob".

So inside Rebekah's womb, there's a fight going on. And Esau is saying, I'm going to be first. I am going to get the blessing. And Jacob is saying, over my small body. And they are going at it inside mom. And all of a sudden, the day of birth comes, and here comes the poodle, Esau. And Jacob says, not so fast, jack. And as his body is leaving the womb, he reaches up and gets a grip on his brother's heel. I want what you're going to get. If the firstborn gets the birthright and the blessing, then I want it. Now this may sound peculiar, but the Word of God don't lie. And if a baby came out with another baby attached to his foot, that's exactly how they got here.

Now fast forward just a couple of chapters. And here's something that Isaac does that is a page for every parent and grandparent to listen to and understand. Isaac needs to get a grip on himself. Isaac overexaggerates his challenges and uses his daddy drama to divide the family. In Genesis 27, it says, "Now it came to pass, when Isaac was old and his eyes were dim... That he called Esau, his son". And here's what he says. I'm going to paraphrase it, because it's several verses. He says: son, I'm dying. And before I die, I would love one last cabrito. Frijoles a la charra. Arroz con pollo. Poquito chilito, por favor. And we know it's daddy drama. We know daddy ain't dying. You know how we know that? Because this is verse 1 of Genesis 27, and he doesn't die until the last verse of Genesis 35.

When you can make it eight more chapters, you are not dead yet. The difference between chapter 27 and chapter 35 is decades. And yet, Esau believes dad's dying. Because the only reason that he doesn't kill Jacob in this chapter is because he says, I'm about to mourn the loss of my father. And the only reason that he wants to kill Jacob is because his wife is listening to the conversation. And Rebekah hears. Oh, my goodness: he's going to split up the inheritance today. And Esau saw goes out to hunt the meal that Isaac has sent him out to hunt. And she calls her favorite son, Jacob, over. And she says, "Psst. Listen. Esau's going to get dad's last meal. He's getting ready to check out. Here's what you should do. Go kill a goat, put the hair on your arms, because that way you'll feel like Esau". "I'll fix the meat like he likes it".

You know, tampiqueña. You know, I mean everything like he likes it. We'll take the plate in there. Dad will eat and you'll get the blessing before Esau gets back. And they put this plan together and it works. He walks in with the plate of food, and Isaac says, "Oh, my son, smells delicious, my son". There you are. Oh, you feel like Esau. But you sound like Jacob. Gracias por los tacos. And in order to get attention and in order to get food, Isaac overexaggerates his condition, and he says he's going to die. And it causes everybody in his family to go in different directions and do different deceitful things, because they're more worried about dad dying than they are dad eating. Get a grip! Don't use your drama to control the outcome of your relatives or get a grip. Don't let your relatives' drama control the outcome of your decisions.

How many of you know people who want to use the dramatic to control everything in the house? Trust me: it's just Genesis 27. They're going to be here till 35. It's the worst day of my life. The day ain't over yet. Give it time. So because of Jacob's deceitful act, Esau's going to kill him. And he flees to his uncle Laban's house. And on his way to uncle Laban's house, he gets tired and he lays down, and he goes to sleep. And while he sleeps, God gives him a glimpse. And this glimpse is where Jacob should have gotten a grip, because in this dream, Jacob sees a ladder and it's going up to heaven. And he sees angels going up the ladder and angels going down the ladder. And what God is showing Jacob is, Jacob, you and I are connected. I have a plan for your life, Jacob. And if you will send your worship and your praise and your adoration up, I'll send my blessings and I'll send my favor and I'll send my goodness down.

And Jacob should have gotten a grip on this glimpse that you know what? It's not me fighting with family where the blessing comes from. And it's not me lying and scheming where the blessing comes from. The blessing doesn't come from what I do. The blessing comes from what he does. You see, I'm not blessed because of a strategy. I'm blessed because of a God who loves me. I can't manipulate my way into the outcome. I have what I have because God has just been that good to me. And Jacob wakes up from this revelation and he builds an altar. And he calls the name of the place Bethel. And he makes this covenant, and he says, "If you will be my God, and you will protect me, and you will bless me, I'll give a tenth of everything I have to you, and I'll worship you all the days of my life". And he leaves that place and he goes to uncle Laban's house.

And here's what he finds out in a world that is filled with manipulators: what goes around comes around. Because when he gets to uncle Laban's house, he finds two daughters in that house. One, her name is Rachel, and he loves Rachel. He sees Rachel, and he says... But Rachel has an older sister. And Laban, recognizing Rachel's attractiveness, also recognizes the reality of Leah. The Bible says that Leah was simple eyed. So Jacob goes to Laban. He says, "Look". He says, "I need a wife and I'd like that one". He says, "You'd like to marry Rachel"? He says, "I'd love to marry Rachel". He says, "Let's do a deal". He says, "You work for me for seven years for free. You take care of flocks. You take care of the sheep. And I'll give you my daughter". He says, "Deal". The day of the wedding comes.

Seven years of labor has been done. He stands at the altar with this woman in a beautiful veil. They go and they consummate their wedding. He wakes up the next morning, and he looks and says, "Uh-oh". Instead of Rachel, guess who he got? And he goes to uncle Laban. He says, "Hey, hey". Huh. Laughs. He says, "Oops". He says, "You still want Rachel"? He says, "I still want Rachel". He says, "Go to work another seven years". Fourteen years of labor, and in the process of this time, Jacob begins to prosper. And here's the problem with his prosperity: he thinks that while Laban has tricked him into 14 years of work, he's tricking Laban out of the flock, because he cuts a deal with Laban. He says, "Laban, the first thing we're going to do is every one of the spotted sheep that are born, that'll be mine. And the solid sheep will be yours".

And Laban looks at his flock and says, "All I got are solid sheep. The chances of having spotted sheep are very small. Let's cut that deal". Well, guess what? The second that they cut the deal, all the sheep that are born are spotted. And Jacob goes, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah. Tricked him again. So Laban comes back and says, "Let's flip it. I'll take the striped ones. You keep the solid ones". Well, guess what? The next set of sheep that are born, they're all solid. And Jacob thinks to himself, you sly dog. And over and over and over, they keep changing the terms of the deal. And every time they change the terms of the deal, guess who comes out blessed? Jacob. And Jacob needs to get a grip on the reality of where his blessings come from. The sons of Laban go to their dad, and they say, "Look: this dude, he took everything we got. He took the sisters. He took the flocks".

And Jacob realizes, I've got to leave because I'm getting ready to start a problem over here that I can't solve. The problem is, is as he's walking back to where he came from, he hears word that there's somebody coming to see him. Guess who that is? The red-hairy guy himself, Esau. You know whenever you've done enough that you've got a problem in your past, and you've got a problem in your present, and you've got a problem in your future, you might want to take a moment and ask yourself, "Is the problem everyone else or is the problem me"? Because when you've got a problem with everything going on in your world, it could be that the problem is you.

And this is where God meets Jacob alone. And they start to grapple back and forth. And as they wrestle, the Bible says that day is about to break. And the angel of the Lord tells Jacob, "Let me go". And Jacob tells him, "Not until you bless me". Now I hear a brokenness in Jacob's statement, because even as blessed as he was, so much so that people envy him. As blessed as he is, the only reason he's asking for a blessing is because even though he is blessed, he doesn't feel blessed. How many people do you know cannot enjoy their life, because as blessed as they are, they still don't feel very blessed?

And so as the angel and Jacob are having this struggle, and Jacob says, "Man, I'm not going to turn loose. I'm going to keep holding on until you give me a blessing". The angel says, "What's your name"? And we get to the root of why Jacob doesn't think he's blessed. He says, "I am who they say I am". And the angel lets him know, not in heaven, you're not. Down here, you may be who they say you are. But up there, he sees you differently. They see a liar. He sees the father of nations. Somebody in this room needs to get a grip on this reality today: our God calls those things that are not, as though they were. Whatever it is that you think you've been fighting for to be blessed with in your life, you need to understand that you're not struggling with your past, you're not struggling with your present, you're not struggling with your future.

The thing that you're struggling with is: is God the kind of God that he promised me that he would be? And I'm here to tell you today, he is all of that and so much more. He is exceedingly, abundantly, above all that you could ever ask, think or imagine. He's the God who does not see you through the lens of yesterday. He's the God who looks at you, and he says, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and I called you, and I ordained you". And I have given you the strength to be everything that you were ever created to be.

No matter what you're facing today, if you face it in faith believing that the God who has brought you this far has not brought you this far to let you fail, then you'll find out you're more than a conqueror through Christ! The angel blesses him. He says, "You're no longer Jacob". He says, "Your name is Israel". And the Bible tells us that from that day on, Jacob walked with a limp. He walked into that fight arrogant. He walked out of that fight different. And what you need to understand is that when you face God, if you're not different after than you were before, you did it wrong. Because the reason God faces you is to change you. And most of the time, people are afraid of facing God, because they think, well, it's going to lead to brokenness. Well brokenness is where the blessing comes from.

By your effort and your energy, you get the blessing by allowing God to show you what needs to change in you so that you can be who he created you to be. And here's evidence of the change. It's not the limp. It's the outcome. Because Esau sees Jacob walking towards him. And for days, Esau has been waiting. First, he sends the men servants and some of the sheep. And then he sends the maidservants. And his hope is that as he divides up his possessions, and as he divides up everything that's precious to him, if he sends it over in small enough packages, maybe Esau will lose count and he won't know everything that Jacob has. Maybe if I just show it to him in tens and twenties, he won't know I got millions. So he sends over the men servants and he sends over the maidservants. And he keeps asking, "Is Esau still there"? "Yep, he's there. He's waiting for you".

Okay. Send over the wives. Leah, you go first. Is Esau still there? Yep, waiting for you. Okay. Rachel, you go. Esau still there? He's waiting for you. Now Jacob, in his strategic, tricky mind is thinking: man, what do I got to do to get out of this? But Israel, who realizes the blessing comes from God, he hobbles up to Esau. And this is what he says: he says, "So you saw all that I have". Esau says, "I did". He says, "Take it". And Esau says, "What"? He says, "Take it. It's yours". Esau says, "You're kidding? You've been fighting and hiding and running and building all of this in your trickery, and now you just want to give it to me"? And Jacob says, "God gave it to me. And if I give it to you, he'll give it back to me".

You see, child of God, when you get a grip on where it comes from, you're not worried about letting it go, because you understand that when you let it go, if you've got a grip on where it came from, it'll come back pressed down, shaken together and running over. Jacob was willing to throw relationships away just so he could have a blessing. But Israel says, you know what? I've got a handle on where my blessing comes from and I'm not going to worry about where it goes, because if I know where it comes from, I'll always have more than enough. There are some of you in this place today who have got to get a grip on this thought: you are where you are, because this is where God has brought you. And you have what you have, because this is what God wants to give you. And if you will send your praise, your worship, and your requests up, he'll send his goodness, his mercy, and his grace down.

And so that's how we're going to close this service today. I want you to stand to your feet in the time that we have left. And I want you to lift both your hands to the Lord as a symbol of your thankfulness and your surrender, to realize that everything you've been through, God has, in his own sovereign and providential way, allowed. And every blessing that you have, every good and perfect gift has come from him. And every burden that you've carried, he's given you the strength to bear it. And every battle that you've fought, he's given you the strength to fight it, and every blessing is a thing that he has poured out upon you. And just be thankful unto him and bless his name.

Father, there's people in this room today that they've been fighting and they've been struggling in their own strength. Today, they're going to release that fight and they're going to fight in your strength. Today there's people in this room today that have been searching for direction, as they feel like their past is overwhelming them or the fear of their tomorrow is greater than they can bear. Today, they're going to release that fear and recognize that if God is for them, who can be against them. Today there's families that have been torn apart by manipulation and division. And those families are going to be restored today because they recognize that God's plan for them is greater than anyone else's attack upon them. Father, today, we're going to grasp the reality of this truth: that everything we have and everything that we need and everything that we are, it all comes from you. You are the God who sees the end from the beginning. And we're just a small part of your plan. And so for the part that you've given us to play, we give you thanks and we give you praise. And for every good and perfect gift that you've poured out, we magnify your holy name.

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