How to Win with Both God and Man

Heroes of Faith:  Jacob

Do you want to win with both God and man?  Find out how in this message from the life of Jacob.


Heroes of Faith: Jacob 

How to Win with Both God and Man

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Feb. 19th



  • Heroes of Faith series where we are learning from lives of our Biblical ancestors to give us insight into issues we all face. The first issues we tackled was “what to do in a world gone mad” where we looked at the life of Noah to find the answer.  For the second issue “how to move forward in your life and in your faith” we looked to the life of Abraham to find the answer.
  • This morning, we are looking to answer the question of “how to win with both God and man” as we look at the life of a man named Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel, where the people of Israel receive their name).
  • The verse that summed up his life is this:


Gen 32:28 NIV

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”


  • So then after reading this about Jacob, we are going to go back and look at four life events from Jacob’s life to find principles from his life that we can apply to our life so we too can win with both God and Man. Also, recognize that it is going to be a struggle, but you can win.
  • Abram – whose name was changed to Abraham – had a son of a promise named Isaac. Isaac and his wife Rebecca had twin boy’s whose names were Esau and Jacob.  These boys did not get along even in the womb (Gen. 25:22).  Rebecca prayed and God told her what was going on inside of her and what was going to happen (two nations that are going to be divided – one will be stronger than the other and the older will serve the younger) – which tells us, that God does know us and He also knows what is going to happen.
  • The boys are battling in the womb, an Esau wins by being born first, but Jacob was still holding on. (being born first was big deal – that son received all the inheritance).  Jacob was not going to beat, and so he kept going after the real prize, to gain what matters most.


Gain what matters most


Gen 25:29-34 ESV

Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.


  • Short term or long term thinking . . . this separates those who do well and those who do not . . .
  • Time orientation
  • What do you really want, and what really matters in the end . . .
  • Jacob also received his father’s blessing . . . this was by trickery . . . but he did go after what he wanted and what he saw that had real value . . .



Gen 27:33 ESV

“Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.”


Persist in love


Gen 29:18-20 ESV

Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.


  • He did what was required from his father-in-law because his love for his daughter . . .
  • Love always requires work, but if you work because you love, the time will pass quickly . . .
  • And then sometimes, you must be willing to go the second mile


21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife . . .  And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” 26 Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27  Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” 28 Jacob did so, . . . and served Laban for another seven years.


  • Are you willing to work before and after marriage for the one you love? He did what he had to, to gain who he loved.


Beat the system


Gen 30:27b-43 ESV

the Lord has blessed me because of you. 28 Name your wages, and I will give it.” 29 Jacob said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you, and how your livestock has fared with me. 30 For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned.


  • So the first question is, is your workplace “blessed” because you are there?
  • Has there been an increase?


But now when shall I provide for my own household also?” 31 He said, “What shall I give you?” Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this for me, I will again pasture your flock and keep it: 32 let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats, and they shall be my wages. . .  Thus the man increased greatly and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.


  • Story of what had happened . . . (this story and the longer story of 20 years of work)
  • He knew what to do . . . work smarter . . . use what is given you in your current position to advance your goals . . . (contacts, experience, etc.)
  • The last event in the life of Jacob we are going to take a look at is his relationship with God culminated in one event, his wrestling with God.


Don’t let God Go


  • (set up the event – he was leaving his father-in-laws family with his family and all he possessed he had them all cross the river . . .


Gen 32:24-32 ESV

And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” . . .


  • When you wrestle with God you wrestle alone . . .
  • God will mark you (and your mark may be a limp – there will be a humbling and a blessing)
  • Do not let God go until he blesses you (his identity was changed . . . and God blessed him)


Questions for the car ride home

  1. Make a list of things in your life that matter the most. What is your plan to go after them?
  2. Have you “gone the second mile” with the one you love?
  3. How can you “beat the system” when it comes your work life?
  4. Where in your spiritual life do you need to wrestle with God and not let go?