Series: Other Speakers
Sun am 15 January 2012 – Alan Scotland
The detail in the story of Jacob at the ford of the Jabbok is important, because in the detail are the clues to the reality of what is going on around us. This world is not alone; someone is in charge even though it seems to be in a mess. There is more to life than what you see and touch and feel. There is more than one camp in this room.
There is more with you than you realize. I want to talk to you in this new year about living an undiminished life, refusing to shrink, refusing to lose, refusing to be inauthentic. To be authentic you have to be orientated towards intimacy. To be real you have to know how to relate, to be substantial and you need to have the right connections. As a Church, a community, a people, we belong to the Lord and He is not diminished.
It’s God’s grace and mercy and wisdom that you are not blinded by the reality that the power of God is at work in you. The will of God is being established, with all of your imperfection; God is with us. We must stop counting what we do not have and start celebrating what we do have. From the day I met you Bizweni, I saw family, I saw community, diversity, unity and courage, when everything was denying that. You must count and celebrate what you do have. God wants to form community, He wants a people who are intimate, who opt in instead of opting out, whatever the situation. God wants to resolve the longstanding issues that rob us of our maturity, rob us of our ability to be counted for something; we have to live an undiminished life. We have got to break the cycle of negativity.
For Jacob this was the time to break the cycle, he had to move into his undiminished realm, his realm of blessing; time to be blessed and be a blessing. The night is also a time of blessing, the light shines brighter in the dark. We have community, so export it or else it is exclusivity. It’s time to move into the blessing, learn to live in the blessing.
Jacob you are cluttered, you are hoarding things you must let go of. Sometimes Jacob you are so in a hurry to run after the future that you don’t realize the future is trying to catch up with you. Stop, let Me bless you; stop, let Me deepen you; stop, let Me enlarge you. We are striving to find prosperity and success, it speaks of the fragmented Church across the world; it has forgotten that it is a family and not a theater. It is about being deepened in intimacy with God and with each other. It is not about deepening our superficiality.
Jacob, the Lord wants to bless you but you are so organized, you have a program for everything. You are even telling them exactly what to say, Jacob was a control freak.
There are things that you have no control of, but God does. You feel secure as long as long as you can handle and arrange things, but when it is outside of your control you have to get into intimacy with God.
Then the night comes and Jacob reminds the Lord about the promises and prophecies over his life. All God is doing is to take Jacob through the night, joy comes in the morning. “Lord it is because of you that I am in the mess I am in, I am terrified, I could lose everything.” God spoke about the stars and God spoke about the sand so that when you’re on the rooftop and all is well, you can celebrate the stars, and when you’re depressed you can still count the sand. God’s promises will haunt you and won’t allow you to feel sorry for yourself, won’t allow you to manipulate everything. God will speak to you at your lowest. God is closer than your breath. Sometimes it is good to stop and assess what the Lord requires. From the day your eyes were opened and you came to know the Lord, you were connected.
A touch from God can be painful, sometimes God has to touch you where it hurts, weaken you where you are strong in order that the strength might be of Him. “What is your name Jacob? I want you to live in the power of the blessing, you shall no longer be called Jacob but you will be called Israel. The truth is that you are not an island; you will be discouraged by those closest to you. You will be tested in your convictions and faith by those closest to you. God wants to grow you, mature you; make you authentic so that you can understand that intimacy has a price. Community will cost.”
God touched Jacob in the strongest joint in his body. This strong man Jacob has suddenly become a weak man, he is weakened and cannot stand, so he cannot let go of God because he has no strength to stand. God wants to bless us but we have to live a life of dependency on Him. In your weakness you shall be strong. Maybe it is easier to be superficial.
Jacob lived in the blessings of God, but God now wants to resolve the issues that keep taking him on this cycle of negativity. It has to begin with him finding his strength in God, not in his talent or gift or ability, not in his control freakishness but his total dependency on the grace of God.
God wants to get in your face, He wants to intervene and engineer the circumstance to bring you to the place of intimacy and authenticity so that you can be an example of who He is.
Twenty one years ago Jacob stole Esau’s blessing and he lived for twenty-one years in someone else blessing. Jacob was not himself, he was not being authentic. Jacob is saying “I will not let you go unless you bless me; Jacob is my name not Esau. Lord, bless me for who I am. I have lived all my live in somebody else blessing.” Now Jacob does not see an enemy in his brother anymore but he sees God in his brother. Jacob can now see that although his brother is different, “I am who I am, I am not intimidated or threatened by you, I am not diminished by you, I am Jacob, Israel, blessed of God in my own right, I am authentic. Don’t live in somebody else blessing.” Be yourself, have thoughts, have initiative, have responsibility for the good of the community, don’t just leave it to your leaders.
God wants us to engage the blessing and live an undiminished life and do so from the base of our hearts of who we really are.