Pray-Be-See: God Uses Bro9ken Things … Like Jacob


Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please {God}: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

There are two great truths that are in the Scripture.

If you learn these two great truths – actually understand them – they will unlock many of the mysteries found in this Bible. What are these truths? They are:

1. God Uses Broken Things.
2. God Uses Broken Things Yielded To Him.

We see this from the very beginning of Scripture. Was the world complete and perfect when God came upon it? No! Absolutely not. How does the Bible open? Does it say ..

Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was beautiful, perfectly made, without spot or blemish.

Could God have done this? Could He have created everything in ONE day as opposed to SIX days. Absolutely! The Bible says:

Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

God could have done that. But instead the Scripture says:

Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The earth was created in parts – broken – because God uses the broken. As you read the biographies and accounts of the people of the Bible you see no one perfect or broken among mankind but the Lord Jesus Christ. All others are broken. The only reason that Christ – born of a woman – is unbroken is because He is God become Man, perfect Man. It is the Son of God, Jesus Christ, that God the Father has sent to this earth. It is of Jesus the Scripture says that “The Father has in …

Hebrews 1:2-3, 8 … “these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; {Jesus} being the brightness of {God’s} glory, and the express image of {God’s} person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high … {the Father saying} unto the Son … Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdomJoshua.”

Jesus Christ is the only Man in Scripture that was not born broken and unholy. Of all others the Scripture says:

Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged {from God} from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Romans 3:23 … all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God

We are all born broken. That is the bad news. But the GOOD NEWS is that our God uses broken things. God uses broken things that rely upon Him.

Our Problem Is That – Like Jacob – We Are Not Broken

If God uses broken things, and God uses broken things that are yielded to Him, then when we are not broken we cannot be used of God. We see in Jacob a man who is not yielded to God. Now God was gracious with Jacob.

God had a plan for Jacob’s life. God has a plan for your life. God has a plan for this Church. But God can only use you, me, this Church, or Jacob if we are yielded to Him.

Is Jacob yielded to God? We find in Genesis 32 these words:

Genesis 32:1 And Jacob went on his way

Is Jacob yielded to God? No, absolutely not. We read Jacob went on his way. That’s what most of us do. We go on our own way. God is not in our thoughts. We make plans, choose paths, and set out our own way certain that we know what we’re doing. But the Scripture reminds us:

James 4:14-15 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

We ought to say, If the Lord will, but we don’t. Too often we head out into the great unknown without God. We fail to understand that we are all broken, and we all need Him every moment of every day. We need God to hold our hand moment by moment as we go through this life, just as a mother holds a three year old’s hand as they cross the street. But we think we know best. We fight His hand. We pull our hand out of His hand and run across the road – many times being hurt because of our actions.

God has a plan for Jacob’s life.
God has a plan for YOUR life.

God wanted to bless Jacob. The Bible tells us that God had a plan to bless Jacob from the very beginning. His father Isaac and his mother Rebekeh came together in love.

Jacob was born to a broken family.

Rebekeh and Isaac had been unable to have a child together – something that broke their hearts. But a broken heart is a good thing if it brings us to God. The Bible says

Genesis 25:21 … Isaac INTREATED the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

When you are broken and go to the Lord in prayer
He will REALLY bless you.

God REALLY blessed Rebekeh. She became pregnant with twin children – a double blessing from God. They didn’t have ultrasounds or fancy equipment in the days of Isaac, so as Rebekeh progressed in her pregnancy she began to feel a struggle within. The Broken Rebekeh went to the Lord in prayer:

Genesis 25:22-23 … the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord. 23 And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

The Broken Rebekeh went to God in prayer and IMMEDIATELY she is answered.
God loves to answer us in prayer.

He loves to guide us. He loves us! As God talked with a submissive Rebekeh that God would bring TWO NATIONS from her pregnancyJoshua. Can God bless, or what?

The Elder Is Not Broken So He Is Not Blessed

The Lord also told her the elder shall serve the younger. This is contrary to the way that things were done back in those days. Usually the elder child born would receive the double portion blessing, and become the head of the family. But this would not be the case with Esau and Jacob. It was God’s desire that the promise He made to Abraham be fulfilled through Jacob, not through Esau. Why did God do this? Once more with feeling …

God will only use the broken.

When the children were born Jacob came out because he held on to his brother’s heel (Genesis 25:26). From the very beginning the character of the two children was established. The Bible tells us that:

Genesis 25:27-28 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. 28 And Isaac loved Esau

When you looked at Esau you saw a boy and man that was self sufficient. He was a MAN’S MAN! Esau didn’t need God. Esau had all he needed (or so he thought). He had the looks. He had the birthright. He had the love of his father. You see, Isaac loved Esau. Esau was his favorite child. It’s like that show that used to be on television Everybody Loves Raymond. Esau had it all.

What did you see in Jacob? Jacob was a PLAIN man. He wasn’t captain of the football team. He wasn’t a cheer leader. He was nothing to his father. He had no birthright. But what Jacob did have was JACOB WAS A WEASLE. He was continually plotting and planning. He didn’t have everything like his brother had, but Jacob plotted with his mother to get what was his brother’s.

He didn’t have to do that, by the way. Had Jacob looked to the Lord the Lord would have blessed him. The Lord had planned from the very beginning that the elder shall serve the younger. That was God’s will.

Abram was an unknown and impotent man from ancient
Babylon until God made him Abraham.
David was an unknown shepherd boy until God made him King of Israel.
Elisha was an unknown ox farmer until God called him out.
Simon was an unknown fisherman until Jesus called him Peter.
Saul was a terrifying Pharisee until Jesus renamed him Paul.

Jacob was a broken man who was a sneak, a thief, a liar, and dishonored his father. He along with his mother Rebekeh tricked his father Isaac into giving him Esau’s blessing (Genesis 27). Jacob dressed up like Esau and deceived his dying father into blessing him. When Esau came into the camp to be blessed Isaac told him that “thy brother came in with subtlety and hath taken away thy blessing (Genesis 27:35)”. The Bible says:

Genesis 27:41 …Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The dJoshuaays of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.

Jacob ran away from his brother. “Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran” (Genesis 28:10). While in Haran God spoke to Jacob, saying:

Genesis 28:13-14 … I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

Is God YOUR God?

Notice how God addressed Jacob. He said I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM with this statement? God does not say Jacob, I am YOUR God”, but I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. Jacob is a broken man living life through his own power and wits. He tricked the birthright out of Isaac, and defrauded his brother Esau.

God is the God of Abraham.
God is the God of Isaac.
But God is NOT YET the God of Jacob.

Jacob goes to live with his uncle Laban. I don’t have time to preach through that episode of Jacob’s life, but suffice it to say that both he and his Uncle Laban did things that were not righteous nor right.

Our Blessing Comes When God Breaks Us

God told Jacob “Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.” (Genesis 31:3).

God was blessing Jacob, but Jacob still was not surrendered to God. Laban chased after Jacob and would have killed him, but God intervened. God protected Jacob. Now God told Jacob to go home – to go back to where Esau was.

If God tells you to do something
God will protect you in the doing!

As Jacob headed back toward Esau’s land the Bible says that God sent two angels to meet him. God sent these angels to inspire faith in Jacob. Jacob was supposed to trust in the Lord, to believe in His provision. Jacob was supposed to pray and trust the promises of God. God has sent angels his way. How did Jacob respond?

He continued to live by his emotions and his wits. Jacob sent messengers to Esau with this message:

Genesis 32:4-5 … Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now: 5 And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and women servants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.

Jacob is trying to help himself. You know, that’s in the Bible:

God helps those who help themselves (1 Ecclesiasticas 1:1)

No – it’s not in the Bible. Jacob doesn’t turn to the Lord in prayer, but tries to sugar coat his way out of Esau’s anger. The messengers return and tell Jacob:

Genesis 32:6 … We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.

Do you want the BAD NEWS or the BAD NEWS? Esau is coming – and he’s got 400 men with him. The Bible says:

Genesis 32:7 … Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed

So Jacob divides his family into two parts. He thinks that if Esau kills half of the family then the other half will be able to escape. Having sent both halves of his family away Jacob prays … but his prayers tell us much about his faith. He prays:

Genesis 32:9-12 … O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. 11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. 12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

Though this is a beautiful and heartfelt prayer notice how Jacob addresses God. He doesn’t pray like

King David prayed in 1 Chronicles 21:17 … “Oh Lord MY God …”

King Solomon prayed in 1 Kings 3:7 … “Oh Lord MY God..”
or as Ezra the Priest prayed in Ezra 9:5 … “unto the Lord MY God”..

or as the Psalmist prayed in Psalm 7:1, 3 … “Oh Lord, MY God”..

or as Habakkuk prayed in Habakkuk 1:12 … “Oh Lord, MY God” ..

He does not own God as his own. Jacob prays O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac. Jacob does not have his own faith, but relies on the faith of others. He has relied so often on his own abilities that he has no practical, objective faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Jacob sent bribes to his brother Esau to try and quell his deadly anger. But finally, when everyone was gone and Jacob was left alone we read:

Genesis 32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

Who is this “man” who charges into Jacob’s camp and – without one word – wrestles with him all night long? Why did this “man” not say anything to him?

This “Man” is God Himself – I believe God the Son. God had tried talking to Jacob. He had called and called out to Jacob, but Jacob just wasn’t listening. God calls unto us to heed Him, but we get stubborn and keep on trying to do it ourselves. So God brings us to a place of struggle, of wrestling. We know that this is an Old Testament appearance of God the Son because of what the Prophet tells us in:

Hosea 12:2-4 … The Lord … will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him. 3 He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God:4 Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us;

When God brings us to a place of hopelessness it is them that we stop and begin to wrestle with Him in prayer. This wrestling that Jacob is going through is a turning point in his life. He has tried living his life as Jacob, a grifter, a thief, a liar. Now Jesus wrestles with him. God could have killed Jacob with one touch. He could have whispered death to him and he would have died. But the Lord does not want our deaths. What does the Lord want?

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is … longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

God wants to bless Jacob. He wants to bless you. He could kill both you and I and Jacob for our disobedience, but rather than this He is willing to wrestle with us. He wants us to come to Him on HIS terms. When Jacob STILL would not hear our precious Lord Jesus did the kindest thing He could do:

Genesis 32:25 … he touched the hollow of {Jacob’s} thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

The Lord crippled Jacob. As He did this He told Jacob “let Me go, for the day breaketh”. Light was coming into Jacob’s crippled soul. Jacob says,

Genesis 32:26 … I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

God’s plan is to take hold of broken and fallen humanity – to seek the willing broken and make them WHOLE. God’s work of redemption is to make WHOLE men out of BROKEN men. The Lord asks Jacob “What is your name?” Jacob told the Lord his name, to which the Lord replied:

Genesis 32:28 … Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

It was in brokenness that Jacob became Israel. It was in brokenness that Israel found the Grace of God. Jacob named that place Peniel (meaning “I saw the face of God”). Jacob rejoiced, saying “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Genesis 32:30). John MacArthur wrote:

Jacob refused to let {Jesus} go until he received a blessing. That wasn’t a selfish request, but one that came from a heart devoted to being all God wanted him to be. That’s when the Lord changed Jacob’s name to “Israel,” which means “he fights or persists with God.”

Let us put aside ourselves – our Jacob like selves – and cast ourselves fully on our Jesus. We will not receive the blessings of God by plotting or conniving. When we receive God in all His fullness then we receive all that we need! May God draw you closer to Him in prayerful obedience.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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