Learning to Lean

Hebrews 11:21; Genesis 32

Adrian Rogers

Sermon Overview

Scripture Passage: Hebrews 11:21; Genesis 32

Hebrews 11:21 says, “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.”

Many of us think self-sufficiency is a virtue, but truthfully, it is a vice. After deceiving his father to obtain his brother Esau’s birthright, Jacob was on the run for his life. God used this moment to cause Jacob to cease depending upon his own schemes. Jacob’s story reveals three principles to remember as we learn to lean on God.

First, God will protect us, but He will not pamper us.

In Genesis 32, Esau was pursuing Jacob with a vengeance. God appointed angels to protect Jacob on his journey, but Jacob needed to learn that his flattery and strategy would not work.

Second, God will hurt us, but He will not harm us.

Adrian Rogers explains, “God brought Jacob to realize that his only hope was God: not his scheming, but his surrendering; not his bargaining, but his begging.” As He loved Jacob, God loves us too much to leave us self-sufficient.

Genesis 32:24-25 says, “Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 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.”

Finally, God will break us, but He desires to bless us.

Genesis 32:27-28 says, “So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” 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.”

God gave Jacob a new name: no longer was Jacob a schemer or conniver; when he learned to lean on God, he became a prince, Israel.

Following this encounter, Jacob was left with a limp. All his life, Jacob leaned upon his staff—but he was stronger with a limp than he ever would have been on his own two feet.

Adrian Rogers says, “Men throw broken things away, but God never uses anything until He first breaks it.”

Apply it to your life

Failure doesn’t need to be final; if you’ll judge yourself, you won’t have to be judged. Lean on the Lord Jesus Christ; it is your worship by faith that really matters.