Worship Service 6 August 2017
Delivered By
Pastor Will Bearden and Laverne Wiginton Accompanist
Delivered On
August 6, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Central Passage
Genesis 32:22-31
Jacob Wrestles With God

Scripture Readings 

Genesis 32:22-31;

Psalm 17:1-7, 15;

Romans 9:1-5;

Matthew 14:13-21

Genesis 32:22-31                         New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Jacob Wrestles With God

22 That night Jacob got up. He took his two wives, his two female servants and his 11 sons and sent them across the Jabbok River. 23 After they had crossed the stream, he sent over everything he owned. 24 So Jacob was left alone. A man wrestled with him until morning. 25 The man saw that he couldn’t win. So he touched the inside of Jacob’s hip. As Jacob wrestled with the man, Jacob’s hip was twisted. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go. It is morning.”

But Jacob replied, “I won’t 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 not be Jacob anymore. Instead, it will be Israel. You have wrestled with God and with people. And you have won.”

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

But he replied, “Why do you want to know my name?” Then he blessed Jacob there.

30 So Jacob named the place Peniel. He said, “I saw God face to face. But I’m still alive!”

31 The sun rose above Jacob as he passed by Peniel. He was limping because of his hip.


Psalm 17

A prayer of David.

Lord, hear me, because I ask for what is right.
    Listen to my cry for help.
Hear my prayer.
    It doesn’t come from lips that tell lies.
When you hand down your sentence, may it be in my favor.
    May your eyes see what is right.

Look deep down into my heart.
    Study me carefully at night and test me.
    You won’t find anything wrong.
I have planned nothing evil.
    My mouth has not said sinful things.
Though evil people tried to pay me to do wrong,
    I have not done what they wanted.
Instead I have done what you commanded.
My steps have stayed on your paths.
    My feet have not slipped.

My God, I call out to you because you will answer me.
    Listen to me. Hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of your great love.
    By using your great power,
    you save those who go to you for safety from their enemies.

Psalm 17:15                                      New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

15 You will show that I am right; I will enjoy your blessing.
    When I wake up, I will be satisfied because I will see you.

Romans 9:1-5                                   New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Paul Mourns for Israel

9 I speak the truth in Christ. I am not lying. My mind tells me that what I say is true. It is guided by the Holy Spirit. My heart is full of sorrow. My sadness never ends. I am so concerned about my people, who are members of my own race. I am ready to be cursed, if that would help them. I am even willing to be separated from Christ. They are the people of Israel. They have been adopted as God’s children. God’s glory belongs to them. So do the covenants. They received the law. They were taught to worship in the temple. They were given the promises. The founders of our nation belong to them. The Messiah comes from their family line. He is God over all. May he always be praised! Amen.

Matthew 14:13-21                                New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

13 Jesus heard what had happened to John. He wanted to be alone. So he went in a boat to a quiet place. The crowds heard about this. They followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus came ashore, he saw a large crowd. He felt deep concern for them. He healed their sick people.

15 When it was almost evening, the disciples came to him. “There is nothing here,” they said. “It’s already getting late. Send the crowds away. They can go and buy some food in the villages.”

16 Jesus replied, “They don’t need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

17 “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 Then Jesus directed the people to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up to heaven and gave thanks. He broke the loaves into pieces. Then he gave them to the disciples. And the disciples gave them to the people. 20 All of them ate and were satisfied. The disciples picked up 12 baskets of leftover pieces. 21 The number of men who ate was about 5,000. Women and children also ate.

Pastor's Summary of Genesis 32:22-31

After serving Laban for many years, Jacob has decided to return home to Canaan. He has outwitted Laban into giving him the best of his flocks, and has departed with his wives and entrourage without saying farewell. This has angered Laban, who has marched after Jacob, but (thanks to God's intervention), they have come to an amicable agreement.

In ancient folklore, struggles between humans and mysterious beings are common. Such beings, sometimes divine, often guard river crossings, and are only effective at night. The being is usually forced to reveal something of himself. This is such a story-but much more. Jabbock is little more than a stream, but it runs in a deep, mysterious gorge. The supernatural event can have no witnesses ("Jacob was left alone", v. 24.) The struggle appears to be with " a man", but in v. 26, Jacob probably recognizes him as God: he seeks his blessing. This is confirmed in v. 28: "you have striven with God". Jacob's life has been a struggle, from his birth on. He does not win a complete victory: his "hip was put out of joint" (v. 25). In v. 30, "Peniel" means face of God. We read in earlier chapters that God promised to preserve Jacob's life; here (v. 30) his "life is preserved".

This story was handed down orally for many generations, and recorded by an author of Genesis much later. To this authoir, what really mattered was what it said about Israel, the nation: Jacob struggle with God, and he is given a new name ("Isreal, v. 28.) This change signifies a new era in Jacob's life; it gives meaning to his future life; he now has a mission. Jacob is no longer just cunning: he is now divinely commissioned Israel: he is father of God's chosen people. Just as he struggle with God, so does the nation. It too is protected by God, and God's people have a role in the path to salvation.