1. Hello, listening friends, and welcome to this broadcast.
2. It is a delight and joy for us to know that you have tuned in to this broadcast.
3. Let me remind you that we have begun a series of messages entitled “Portrait of Grace;”
4. and, today, we’ll be looking at Genesis, Chapter 29, verses 1 to 30;
5. but, first, I want you to imagine the following scenario:
6. a mother or a father tells their five-year-old son, “Do not play with matches.”
7. The little boy decides that he is going to do it anyway;
8. so he lights one match and nothing happens;
9. then, he lights another match and nothing happens;
10. so, he keeps on playing with matches when mom and dad are not watching;
11. then, one time, he lights a match and it catches fire and it burns the little fellow’s hands.
12. On the way to the hospital in the ambulance, the little one keeps on saying to his parents, “I am sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
13. Now, any normal mother or father would say what?
14. “We forgive you,” of course;
15. and they truly forgive the little boy,
16. because they love the little fellow.
17. They are hurting deeply for their son’s physical pain.
18. They will get the best medical treatment that money can buy for their son.
19. They will assure their son again and again that they have forgiven his disobedience;
20. and so, ten, fifteen or twenty years later,
21. there are scars that the best plastic surgeons in the world cannot obliterate.
22. The boy now is a man.
23. He looks at the scars and he says, “I wonder if my parents have really forgiven me.
24. I’m not sure if my parents can really forgive such an act of disobedience.”
25. His parents, on their part, keep on assuring him that they forgave him the moment he said, “Sorry;”
26. but the now-grown boy says to his parents, “If you have forgiven me, then why do I have these scars?
27. Why should I live the rest of my life with these scars?”
28. “Well,” they say, “these scars are the consequences of your disobedience.
29. These scars have nothing to do with our lack of grace in forgiving you.
30. Let these scars be a reminder of our act of forgiveness.
31. In fact, let these scars be a reminder of our unconditional love for you.”
32. My listening friend, did you get the picture here?
33. Today, there are many people who confuse the grace of God with their deep scars.
34. There are many people who doubt the grace of God simply because of the normal long-term consequences of their past sins.
35. God says, “I have forgiven you.
36. I have covered you with My grace.
37. I don’t count your sin against you;
38. but no one can do anything about the scars.
39. Let these scars remind you of My grace and not your failure;”
40. and, today, my listening friends, we’re going to see this picture very clearly in Jacob’s life.
41. Jacob moved from Bethel, where we saw him alone with God;
42. he moved from Bethel, where he received the grace of God;
43. he moved from Bethel, where he received a vision from God;
44. and, now, he reaches his destination—his uncle’s home—
45. the home of his mother's brother, Laban, in the town of Haran;
46. and it is in Haran that Jacob will come face-to-face with the consequences of his deception.
47. It is in Haran where Jacob will come face-to-face with the scars of his deeds.
48. Here, Jacob will come face-to-face with the biblical principle of sowing and reaping.
49. When Jacob gets to Haran, he has an encounter with a beautiful girl.
50. This girl turns out to be his cousin, Rachel,
51. and Jacob falls head over heels in love with Rachel.
52. He even tries to show off and exhibit superhuman strength by rolling the stone from the well to water her sheep.
53. Jacob loved Rachel at first sight, and he was willing to do whatever it took to marry her.
54. Now, my listening friend, I don’t want you to miss what happens next.
55. Jacob wants Rachel very badly. He was willing to go to any length to marry her;
56. but his tricky Uncle Laban, the girl’s father, knew of Jacob’s desire;
57. and he wanted to milk the situation for all that he could get out of it.
58. It was customary back then for visitors to be entertained for only three or four days—no more;
59. but Jacob had been in Laban’s house now for about a month, and no doubt working hard for his uncle.
60. In Genesis, Chapter 29, verse 15, you see Laban subtly and manipulatively says to Jacob, in effect, “Just because you are my nephew, it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t pay you something.”
61. Jacob said, “I would be willing to work for seven years to have the privilege of marrying your daughter, Rachel.”
62. Jacob was probably hoping that her father would say, “Oh, no. One year would be fine...”
63. but tricky Uncle Laban took advantage of Jacob’s generosity.
64. Listen to verse 20 of Chapter 29.
65. “The seven years seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.”
66. Rachel had an older sister, Leah.
67. She was, to state it clearly and literally, an albino;
68. so, in the night of the wedding, after Jacob’s seven years of hard labor,
69. the father sends Leah, Rachel’s older sister, to the wedding tent, instead of Rachel.
70. She must have dressed like Rachel and she must have smelled like Rachel.
71. She must have had Rachel’s build, but she was not Rachel;
72. so, on the morning after, Jacob saw what happened, and he became very angry;
73. and he goes out to do battle with his uncle, now his father-in-law.
74. Listen to verse 25. It’s a very important verse.
75. “Jacob said, ‘Why have you deceived me?’”
76. Wow! Here are the scars.
77. The deceiver is now being deceived;
78. and, sadly, this is not the last time that Jacob will be a victim of deception.
79. He deceived his blind father.
80. Now, he is deceived by his uncle into marrying a blind woman whom he had not loved.
81. Jacob managed to marry the love of his life, Rachel, seven days later;
82. but he had to work seven more years for her.
83. My listening friend, I want you to see with me at least three ironies here.
84. Irony number one—
85. Esau was supposed to serve Jacob, but now Jacob serves Laban.
86. Irony number two—
87. by getting Leah first, then Rachel, Jacob must have felt what Esau felt when he was deceived.
88. Irony number three—
89. he was deceived by Rachel’s father, just as he deceived his own father.
90. The deceiver was deceived.
91. He was reaping what he sowed.
92. My listening friend, listen carefully to what I’m going to tell you.
93. The law of sowing and reaping is as sure as the sun and the moon are in Heaven.
94. There are at least three things about biblical sowing and reaping that I want to tell you about here.
95. First, whatever you sow, you will reap.
96. Paul said, “Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what a man sows.”
97. If you sow wheat, you will reap wheat.
98. If you sow cotton, you will harvest cotton.
99. Nobody ever planted wheat and got cotton;
1. and, my friend, if you want friendship, you sow friendship.
2. If you want love, you sow love.
3. If you want peace, you become a peacemaker.
4. Secondly, the portion with which you sow will be the same portion that you reap.
5. You cannot just sow sparingly and expect an abundant harvest.
6. In Luke, Chapter 6, verse 38, Jesus said,
7. “Give, and it will be given to you… For the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
8. In 2 Corinthians, Chapter 9, verse 6, Paul said,
9. “…whoever sows generously will also reap generously;”
10. and the third thing about sowing and reaping is this:
11. no matter how long it takes, no matter how long the delay, no matter how many crop failures you may have, if you sow, you will eventually reap.
12. Have you prayed for something for so long and you haven’t received the harvest yet?
13. Keep on planting and keep on praying. The harvest will come.
14. Have you been faithful and generous and self-giving, but you have not seen an abundant harvest yet?
15. Keep on planting. The harvest will come.
16. Just as sowing and reaping in Jacob’s case worked in the negative, sowing and reaping will also work in the positive as well;
17. so, when you sow in abundance, you receive in abundance;
18. so, my listening friend, let me ask you this, as I’m about to conclude.
19. Do you have scars from the past?
20. Don’t fret over them.
21. If the grace of God rules in your life,
22. if you have experienced the forgiveness of God in your life,
23. do not let the scars pull you down.
24. Let the scars remind you of the grace of God.
25. Let them remind you of the mercy and the forgiveness of God;
26. and don’t ever forget that God can write His straight purpose with a crooked pencil.
27. God can take a bent and twisted instrument and use it powerfully.
28. God’s grace is more powerful than your scars.
29. God’s grace can polish the roughest of diamonds.
30. God’s grace calls out to the unworthy.
31. God’s grace loves the unlovable.
32. God’s grace uses the unusable.
33. God’s grace will turn your scars into stars.
34. You can let your scars pull you down and depress you, or, you can use them as a reminder of the wonderful grace of God.
35. The choice is yours.
36. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.