This sermon is part of the sermon series "A Messy, Blessed Life". See series.
According to the United States Social Security Administration, Jacob was the number one male baby name for the year 2007. In the Bible the name "Jacob" is popular as well. God is referred to as the "God of Jacob" (or something very close to it) 25 times in the Bible. Countless times the nation of Israel is referred to with titles such as "the house of Jacob" or even just "Jacob."
But why this elevation of Jacob—both yesterday and today? This question becomes even more pronounced, more puzzling, when we look into the life of Jacob in the Bible. So far in our series, we've seen Jacob swindle his brother out of his birthright, take advantage of his blind, bed-ridden father in order to deceptively gain the family blessing, get cheated by his uncle into marrying a woman whom he did not want to marry, and get passed around like a piece of meat between his two wives in a desperate contest over who can have the most children. What's so exceptional about this guy?
Some of you are probably thinking, Yeah, but you've left out all of the good stuff in Jacob's life. Don't forget his great encounters with God or the fact that the children born out of his crazy marriages are none other than the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. Certainly these things count for something! I would say to you, "Yes, they do. But notice the constant here: all of these things are the result solely of the sheer blessing of God on Jacob's life. God blesses Jacob in spite of, not because of, what Jacob has done. The twelve tribes born from Jacob are not the result of fabulous parenting skills. In fact, as you read on, you can observe the blatant favoritism Jacob showers on his youngest sons, Joseph and Benjamin. It is offered at the detriment ...
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