Sermon for Lenten Midweek 2 – March 3, 2021

+ Lenten Midweek 2 – March 3, 2021 +

Genesis 28:10-17

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“Jacob the Heel Comes Home”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

When we name our children we tend to name them after people we know and love, or names that have a good sound to them, or names that have a particular meaning.

 

When people are named in the Old Testament, it is often a description – and at times a prophecy – about something the child will do, something that is typical of who they are.

 

Take for example Jacob and Esau. As Rebekah gave birth to two in boys, the second child was born grabbing his older brother’s heel. So he received the name Jacob, which basically means “heel”.

 

And with a name like that, you might think that Jacob the heel would be destined to be doormat, walked over by all those around him. Quite the opposite is true, however. As it turned out, this heel grabbing boy, Jacob, made a regular habit of walking over others, but always in a sneaky sort of way. The most infamous example is when he duped his father into giving him the blessing that belonged to his firstborn brother, Esau.

 

Such trickery, as you might expect, turned out to be Jacob’s Achilles’ heel. His deception nearly planted him six feet under when Esau discovered his brother’s deceptive shenanigans. To save his own skin, Jacob turned his heels and headed for the hills, exiled from the Promised Land.

 

Jacob ran as far as Bethel, where he rested, weary from his escape, and where God came to him with a word of promise that could not be grabbed, only given by grace. “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac…in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed…I am with you and will keep you wherever you go.”

 

With God’s promise ringing in his ears, he put one foot in front of the other and headed home.

 

We have that in common with Jacob. As the Lord was with Jacob, so he is with you. The Lord – Immanuel. God with us. He walks with us. The Lord spoke his promise to Jacob delivers his promise to you. And nothing can take that Word from you. It doesn’t matter how many zeroes are behind your paycheck or what kind of roof is over your head, the truth is in the blink of an eye it could all be gone. We could have as little, or even less, than Jacob had in his exile. And then what would we have? Still everything. For whether the world or life or death or present or future – all are yours and you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s

 

Only problem is, we don’t always live like we believe our Lord’s promise, do we? We fear poverty and homelessness and loss of things in this world more than we fear God, don’t we? We would explode with greater joy if we won the lottery than we ever display over God’s free gift of forgiveness, wouldn’t we? We find more comfort in our plans for the future than God’s promise to help and support us in every physical need, don’t we?

 

It’s true what Jesus said, where our treasure is, there our heart is also.

 

And yet, what does our Heavenly Father do? What did he do for deceitful Jacob? Did he give him what he deserved? Does he give us what we deserve? No. He is gracious. God not only promises to feed you, clothe you, protect you, and walk with you through thick and thin. He has proven time and time again that he will. What God promises, he will do.

 

Jacob left home with no more worldly goods than he could carry on his back. He worked as a shepherd for his uncle, laboring for more than twenty years. All the while God was busy keeping his promise to make a great nation and bless all families of the earth through the offspring of Jacob. Over those twenty years God blessed exiled Jacob. The man who arrived at his uncle’s house empty handed had more than a thousand hands could hold: 11 sons, huge flocks and herds of sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys.

 

And so the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob does for you. He gives you a family, clothing on your backs, shoes on your feet, food on the table, a roof over your head, money in the bank – and much, much more. More than we need, or deserve. And if he knows the hairs on our heads, does he not know all our needs? And will he not provide all that we need? Indeed he has. He does. He will. For you are his beloved child or promise, just as Jacob was.

 

And just as he brought Jacob home from exile, so he does for you. As he brought back Adam and Eve back to paradise in the sacrifice of himself; as he brought Abraham and Sarah out of Egypt and back to Canaan; so after blessing Jacob through twenty years of exile, he prepared the way for this lost son to step foot in the Promised Land once more.

 

Our Lord, however, was not done blessing Jacob the Heel. God met Jacob at the river, wrestled with him all night, and then, as the sun rose, gave him a new name, Israel. No more was he known as the Heel, but as the one who strives with God, for he had striven with God and with men, and prevailed. He then crossed the river to meet his brother, to discover that Esau’s anger had disappeared. And there they embraced in forgiveness and peace. Jacob’s exile had ended. God had brought him home again.

 

And so the God of Israel was for you. Into a world where men sell their birthright for a bowl of lentil soup; into a world where sons dupe old, blind fathers; into a world where brothers hate brothers, where Cains murder Abels and Esaus plan vengeance against Jacobs; into a world where sinners like us covet and worship the creation rather than the Creator; into this messed up, fallen world, the promised Seed, the Son of the Father came down.

 

Jesus came down in love to join us in our exile, to walk in the shoes of all Jacobs, and to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He came to soak up all the hatred that Cain has for Abel, Esau has for Jacob, and that we have for those who have hurt us. He came to take into himself our love of money, our false trusts, our betrayals. In mercy, he came into our exile, made all of our evils his own, and hung in our place on the cross. Jesus became Jacob the deceiver, Esau the hater, us the sinner and paid for all of it with his blood. With his own blessed heel he squashed the devil under foot on the cross.

 

And now he brings you here, to your home, the land of Canaan, the Church. In the river of your Baptism, he changed your name, baptized, beloved, saint, child of God, part of God’s family, the new Israel. And he places in your hand not a bowl of soup to buy a birthright, but puts his body into your hand and to your lips his own flesh and blood – the flesh and blood of the firstborn – that you might receive his inheritance. The richness and grace of our loving Father. In Jesus, we are welcomed home from exile into the promised land of God’s grace.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

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Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

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Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
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By appointment only June and July

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Address
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Milton, WA 98354
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