1. Hello, listening friends.
2. We welcome you to this broadcast.
3. We are in the midst of a series of messages about the abounding grace of God.
4. We are calling it, “Portrait of Grace.”
5. Today, we are going to be looking at Genesis, Chapter 30, verses 25 to 43;
6. and I want to begin by telling you about a biblical fact of history.
7. Every time in history, when God prospers His people, it is because He wants them to use their prosperity to serve His purpose.
8. When the people of God fled slavery, God caused their former masters to be good to them and give them silver and gold and other things.
10. So that they will be able to build the tabernacle of God.
11. Under the leadership of King David, God prospered His people like never before or since.
13. So that Solomon may build the Lord’s Temple.
14. David alone gave millions of pounds of gold out of his own treasury for that purpose;
15. and, if you look around you today, you will see that God has prospered many of His people.
17. God is not interested in physical temples or tabernacles anymore;
18. but, today, God is prospering His people because He wants them to use their prosperity to prepare for His ultimate dwelling place.
19. You say, “Where is that?”
20. It is in the souls of men and women around the world.
21. If you miss that point, you’ll miss God’s purpose for us.
22. Today, I want to share with you three rules about biblical prosperity, as they are exhibited in the life of Jacob.
23. These are not the rules that will get you rich quick.
24. These are God’s rules.
25. Number one, do not let prosperity be your all-consuming focus.
26. Number two, let hard work be your all-enduring quality.
27. Number three, let your trust in God’s provision be your all-abiding confidence.
28. Let’s look at number one.
29. Do not let prosperity, in itself, be your all-consuming purpose.
30. Jacob was not trying to be wealthy, but he became prosperous.
31. Look at verses 25 and 26 of Genesis, Chapter 30.
32. He said to his father-in-law, “Give me my wives and children, for I now need to return home.”
33. After 14 years of faithful service, he asked for nothing that did not belong to him.
34. He could have said to his father-in-law, “Look, I made you a rich man.
35. God blessed you because of me...”
36. but Jacob was not covetous of Laban’s wealth.
37. I think, had Jacob done something for himself along the way, none of us would have blamed him;
38. but, no, he wanted to be faithful in his trust
39. to God in Bethel, “Whatever You give me, I will give You ten percent back.”
40. He knew that God was the One who would bless him, not his uncle.
41. Jacob consciously devoted himself to God.
42. Jacob believed that he was serving God by serving Laban.
43. There is no denial that his Uncle Laban was mean and tight-fisted.
44. His uncle was a cheat—manipulative, godless, and greedy -
45. and Jacob could have justified gouging this kind of a person;
46. yet, all he asked for were his wives and his children for whom he faithfully served for 14 years.
47. He did not make his own prosperity his all-consuming focus;
48. but he worked hard to enrich his father-in-law;
49. and that is why rewarding hard work and faithfulness is a must on the part of any employer.
50. Rewarding and prospering employees can only further prosper the employer.
51. Why do I say this?
52. Because, even if the boss is insensitive and blind, God is not.
53. When you don’t let prosperity be your all-consuming focus, God is the One who will prosper you.
54. Secondly, let hard work be your all-enduring quality.
55. If anyone had an excuse for not working hard, it would have been Jacob.
56. He could have said, “I will only work for what I’m paid.”
57. He could have said, “Laban owes me, and he owes me a lot.”
58. He could have said, “Laban cheated me, and I am going to take it easy now...”
59. but, after 14 years, Jacob tells Laban, “You know how hard I worked for you...”
60. and Laban, who was an idol-worshipper, admitted that truth.
61. In verse 27 of Chapter 30, even the demons told Laban that he was blessed because of Jacob.
62. You know, my friend, when you work hard,
63. when you work diligently and faithfully,
64. even pagans will testify to your faithfulness;
65. so don’t let prosperity be your all-consuming focus.
66. Let hard work and diligence be your all-enduring quality.
67. Thirdly, let your trust in God’s provision be your all-abiding comfort.
68. Jacob trusted God for his prosperity.
69. Back then, there was no government relief organization.
70. There were no private pension funds;
71. but Jacob had something much better than all of that.
72. Jacob had God;
73. and God does not repay us for our faithfulness with worthless money.
74. God does not bless you based on the state of the economy.
75. God has His own set of criteria by which He blesses you.
76. Laban said to Jacob, “Don’t leave. Name your wages.”
77. Jacob said, “I don’t want anything that I did not work for myself...”
78. and, then, he gave him a plan.
79. “Keep all the spotted and striped animals and give me all the solid-colored animals to take care of; and, if these solid-colored animals produce spotted or striped offspring, they are mine.”
80. Laban thought that Jacob must be stupid.
81. Everyone knows that solid-colored animals don’t produce spotted or striped offspring.
82. Oh, but Laban did not know God’s program for prospering His children;
83. and so they separated the two sets of animals, setting them fifteen miles apart.
84. What did Jacob do?
85. Jacob literally put himself at a disadvantaged position.
86. My listening friend, listen carefully.
87. You don’t have to be a genetic expert to know that solid-colored animals will produce solid-colored offspring;
88. but Jacob trusted in God’s provision, even if the odds were all stacked against him.
89. Jacob trusted in God’s prosperity plan, even when the world thought that he was stupid and illogical.
90. Some of you may be saying, “What about this crazy scheme of partially peeling branches and placing them in front of the animals in heat?”
91. A lot of people have stumbled over this issue.
92. Some have asked, “Was Jacob superstitious?
93. Was Jacob cheating?”
94. Let me give you the bottom-line answer to this.
95. When the people of God were bitten by serpents and were dying from those bites,
96. God said to Moses, “Set up a bronze snake and lift it high in the wilderness;
97. and, when the dying people look at that bronze snake, they will be healed.”
98. Let me ask you a question.
99. Was the healing in the bronze snake?
1. The answer is, “No.”
2. Where was the healing?
3. In the obedience of the people.
4. In a similar way, in obedience, Jacob placed the peeled branches in front of the solid-colored animals in heat
5. and they produced spotted and striped offspring.
6. May I ask you a question?
7. Was the power of producing genetically altered offspring in the peeling of the branches?
8. The answer is, “No.”
9. The power was in Jacob’s obedience,
10. because that was going to be God’s supernatural program to prosper His servant.
11. Because Jacob trusted in God’s provision, God provided for him in the most unusual way.
12. In Matthew, Chapter 6, Jesus said,
13. “Doesn’t God feed the birds and clothe the flowers?
14. How much more valuable you are to God than these.”
15. “Don’t worry about these things,” Jesus is saying.
16. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and these things will be given to you as well.”
17. Listen, my listening friends, as we come to conclusion.
18. God’s grace that saved you from sin,
19. God’s grace that supplied all of your past needs,
20. God’s grace that redeemed you from judgment,
21. is that same grace that wants to prosper you in every way.
22. When you don’t make prosperity to be your all-consuming focus,
23. when you let hard work be your all-enduring quality,
24. when you let your trust in God’s provision become your all-abiding comfort,
25. God’s timing is always perfect.
26. Even though it may have taken 15 years to bless Jacob, as He promised him back in Bethel, God kept His promise.
27. God always keeps His promises.
28. It may take a whole lot longer than you and I want,
29. but He will always, always, always keep His promises.
30. The question is this:
31. are you willing to persevere, or, will you give up too soon?
32. It is my prayer that you, like Jacob, will persevere, working hard to serve the Lord so that He might prosper you.
33. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.