Sunday, 22 November 10.30 am Order of Service

WELCOME

HYMN Come Thou Fount of every blessing

Come Thou fount of every blessing

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace

Streams of mercy never ceasing

Call for songs of loudest praise

Teach me some melodious sonnet

Sung by flaming tongues above

Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it

Mount of Thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer

Hither by Thy help I come

And I hope by Thy good pleasure

Safely to arrive at home

Jesus sought me when a stranger

Wandering from the fold of God

He to rescue me from danger

Interposed His precious blood

How Your kindness yet pursues me

How Your mercy never fails me

Till the day that death shall loose me

I will sing, oh I will sing

Turnaround

Oh to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be

Let Thy goodness like a fetter

Bind my wandering heart to Thee

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it

Prone to leave the God I love

Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it

Seal it for Thy courts above

How Your kindness yet pursues me

How Your mercy never fails me

Till the day that death shall loose me

I will sing, oh I will sing

How Your kindness yet pursues me

How Your mercy never fails me

Till the day that death shall loose me

I will sing, oh I will sing

Till the day that death shall loose me

I will sing, oh I will sing

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it

Prone to leave the God I love

Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it

Seal it for Thy courts above

Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it

Seal it for Thy courts above

PRAYER

READING Genesis 32:1-32

32 Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is the camp of God!” So he named that place Mahanaim.

3 Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 He instructed them: “This is what you are to say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. 5 I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favor in your eyes.’”

6 When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”

7 In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups, and the flocks and herds and camels as well. 8 He thought, “If Esau comes and attacks one group, the group that is left may escape.”

9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”

13 He spent the night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 He put them in the care of his servants, each herd by itself, and said to his servants, “Go ahead of me, and keep some space between the herds.”

17 He instructed the one in the lead: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who do you belong to, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?’ 18 then you are to say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.’”

19 He also instructed the second, the third and all the others who followed the herds: “You are to say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 20 And be sure to say, ‘Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.’” For he thought, “I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.” 21 So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp.

Jacob Wrestles With God

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

SERMON – Jacob’s Wrestling Match

Jacob’s Meeting With Angels

1-2 The events of this chapter are couched between two accounts of Jacob’s encounter with angels (vv. 1, 25). Jacob’s meeting with angels on his return to the land reminds us of a similar picture of the Promised Land in the early chapters of Genesis, when the land was guarded on its eastern borders by angels (3:24). It can hardly be accidental that as Jacob returned from the east, he was met by angels at the border of the Promised Land. This brief notice may be a clue to the meaning of Jacob’s later wrestling with the “man” at Peniel (vv. 25-30), who may also have been an angel.

Messengers Sent to Esau

3-12 The emphasis of this chapter and the next is on the wealth of Jacob and the restoration of Jacob and Esau. Great suspense surrounds Jacob’s reunion with his brother, Esau. Like Jacob, we are not sure of Esau’s intentions in gathering four hundred men to meet Jacob on his return. The last we heard from Esau, his intention was to kill Jacob in revenge for the stolen blessing (27:41). Jacob’s fear that Esau had now come to do just that seems well founded. In light of this, Jacob’s prayer plays a crucial role in reversing the state of affairs. Jacob prayed for safety and then appealed to the covenant promises God had made earlier.

13-22 True to form, Jacob made elaborate plans to save himself and his family in the face of Esau’s potential threat.

He provided his servants with abundant gifts for Esau and instructed them carefully on how to approach Esau when they met.

In all of this, his desire was to “pacify” Esau and deliver his family from his hand. Again we see Jacob the planner and the schemer. As he had taken Esau’s birthright and blessing, and as he had taken the best of Laban’s herds, so now he had a plan to pacify Esau. However, it was not Jacob’s plan that succeeded but his prayer. When he met with Esau, he found that Esau had had a change of heart. Running to meet Jacob, Esau embraced and kissed him and wept (33:4). Jacob’s plans and schemes had come to nothing, because God had prepared the way.

Jacob’s Wrestling Match

23-32 Jacob’s wrestling with an angel epitomizes the whole of Jacob’s life. He had struggled with his brother (chs. 25, 27), his father (ch. 27), and his father-in-law (chs. 29-31), and now he struggles with God (ch. 32). Jacob’s own words express the substance of these stories about him: “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Here is a graphic picture of Jacob struggling for the blessing – struggling with God and with a man (v. 28).

Significantly, Jacob emerges victorious in his struggle. His victory, even in his struggle with God, came when the angel “blessed him.” The importance of the name “Peniel” is that it identifies the one with whom Jacob was wrestling as God. Jacob’s remark that he had seen God face to face did not necessarily mean that the “man” he wrestled with was in fact God. Rather, when one saw the “angel of the LORD,” it was appropriate to say that he had seen the face of God (e.g., Jdg 13:22; but cf. Hos 12:2-4).

Here is a man who meets with angels – or rather, here is a man whom GOD comes to meet.

Here is a man who is a schemer – always trying to put his own plans into action to save his skin and that of his family.

Here is a man who goes through life encountering struggles – struggling with his family and even with God.

Yet, crucially, here is a man of prayer – and God hears and answers EVEN this man’s prayers.

And here is a man who eventually wins the victory.

Whoever we are, whatever we have done, whatever tactics we may have used in the past, we have a God Who comes to meet us – a God with Whom we may have to struggle, but we need to know that when we give ourselves over to prayer and place our lives in God’s hands, we will win the ultimate victory in Christ – our great Victor.

PRAYER

Hymn Sing to God new songs of worship

1 Sing to God new songs of worship-

all his deeds are marvellous;

he has brought salvation to us

with his hand and holy arm.

He has shown to all the nations

righteousness and saving power;

he recalled his truth and mercy

to his people Israel.

2 Sing to God new songs of worship-

earth has seen his victory;

let the lands of earth be joyful

praising him with thankfulness.

Sound upon the harp his praises,

play to him with melody;

let the trumpets sound his triumph,

show your joy to God the King!

3 Sing to God new songs of worship-

let the sea now make a noise;

all on earth and in the waters,

sound your praises to the Lord.

Let the hills rejoice together,

let the rivers clap their hands,

for with righteousness and justice

he will come to judge the earth.

Benediction

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