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Growing Spiritually Through Crises     Gen. 32:6-12, 24-31     March 16, 2008

If we grow spiritually, we will grow in grace. Have you heard the expression, "more of us are growing in grease than grace?" This lesson points out some unusual opportunities through which a person could grow spiritually. Some of these kinds of experiences don't make sense until we go through them. When we look back, we can see how God caused us to grow through such happenings in our lives. Yes! We can avail ourselves for Growing Spiritually Through Crises.

1. Grow Spiritually Through The . . Wisdom God Gave. 32:6-8

A. Wisdom To . . Probe The Possibilities Of Battle. 32:6
6 Then the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, "We came to your brother Esau, and he also is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him."

B. Wisdom To . . Prepare For The Possibility Of Battle. 32:7-8
7 So Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with
him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies.  8 And he said, "If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the other company which is left will escape."

        God given wisdom will lead us to probe the possibilities before us whether they be dangerous or advantageous. I think it is good to regularly asked God for wisdom (James 1:5). Then in crises situations God may have already given us the ability to deal with the situation. Not only can we receive wisdom to probe, but to prepare for any battles we may face; Jacob certainly did.

2. Grow Spiritually Through The . . Warranty God Gave. 32:9-12

A. Jacob's . . Reminding God Of The Warranty. 32:9
9 Then Jacob said,"O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, 'Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you':

B. Jacob's . . Restraint Concerning The Warranty. 32:10
10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies.

C. Jacob's . . Request From The Warranty. 32:11-12
11 Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children. 12 For You said, 'I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.'"

        When we receive a promise from God and claim it as our own we can hold it as a warranty from the Lord. Jacob held onto the Lord's promise and reminded Him of it. Of course He does not need to be reminded but it reassured Jacob to do it. Jacob made his request with a humbling restraint and graciously acknowledged the past mercy of God while seeking additional mercies. Jacob specifically requested the Lord to deliver he and his family. All of us need to regularly asked God for the deliverance only He can give. I asked Him many times to build a hedge around my family like He built around Job.

3. Grow Spiritually Through The . . Wrestling Matches OF life. 32:24-31

A. Grow Through . . Prevailing In Life's Wrestling Matches.. 32:24-26a
24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, "Let Me go, for the day breaks."

B. Grow Through . . Petitioning In Life's Wrestling Matches.. 32:26b-29
". . . But he said,"I will not let You go unless You bless me!" 27 So He said to him, "What is your name?" He said, "Jacob." 28 And He said,"Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed." 29 Then Jacob asked, saying,
"Tell me Your name, I pray." And He said,"Why is it that you ask about My name?"
And He blessed him there.

C. Grow Through . . Penuel Experiences In Life's Wrestling Matches.. 32:30-31
30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: "For I have seen God face to face, and
my life is preserved." 31 Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he
limped on his hip. NKJV

        How can the Bible say if you see the Lord you will die, and Jacob lived? The prophet Hosea tells us this was, The Angel Of The Lord, which is a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hosea 12:4). In this wrestling match Jacob prevailed. Bible Teacher Ronnie Dunn used to say, "folks this was a fixed fight." A man fighting with the Lord and prevailing makes us appreciate the humor of that thought. Does God allow us to prevail in some battles only if we refuse to let go until we get a blessing? Too many of us give up before we receive a blessing. In the midst of this wrestling event Jacob petitioned the Lord for a blessing, and in his first request God blessed Him just like he asked. Then Jacob asked another petition but God did not answer. Most of the time we will learn from the "no, or silent," answers of God as well as His, "yes," answers. Perhaps you do not call your times of unusual blessings, Penuel experiences (The face of God). If they were special blessings from the Lord, they were Penuel experiences, and they helped us in Growing Spiritually Through Crises. Amen? Amen!