Control Issues

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11.28-30).  Jesus’ burden is light.  So, when our burden is heavy, we make it that way.

We need to understand how needy and dependent we are.  But at the same time, we must look at our dependence upon God as a great privilege.  The reason it is a great privilege is that we are confident in Him.

The great struggle for Jacob in Genesis 30 is the struggle to control all the variables.  He needs to come to the end of his resources and trust in the LORD with all his heart.  Do you trust in the LORD with all your heart?  Too many of us simply add the Lord Jesus to our pantheon of lesser gods.  We do not trust Him like we should.  We view Him as insufficient to meet our needs.  Our actions, words, and thoughts betray us.  But how heavy the burden of life becomes!  This self-imposed burden simply proves that we cannot find relief outside of Christ.  If we lack wisdom, let us ask of God.  He has it to give.  He makes us discerning in our decision-making.  Do we lack strength to carry out what He gives us the wisdom to do?  God has power to give.  The adversity may be great, the hardship beyond our strength, but nothing is beyond the power of the Lord.  We need not struggle.  God has said to cast all our care upon Him because He cares for us.  Moved with compassion, His truth and faithfulness will see us through.  All that we struggle with, God will use to drive us to dependence.  “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37.5).  “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1.12).

Jacob struggled with superstition.  He leaned upon his own understanding.  If there is some explanation to the strangeness of his actions to multiply his flock in Genesis 30, it matters little.  He still is not looking for direction from the Lord.  We must learn that we cannot lean upon our own understanding for anything.  We must think within the confines of our dependence upon God’s Word.  We too often place our confidence in our ability to think our way out of situations in life.

Almost certainly, someone is thinking right now, “Well, aren’t we supposed to think and reason?”  To which I answer, “Absolutely!”  But you are finite.  Do you know why God has allowed what He has allowed in your life?  If God has thrown up a wall in front of you, do you suppose He wants you to turn in a different direction?  We fear doing so because we think that we might not get what we want in life.  But aren’t we supposed to get what God wants?  We learn from Jacob’s life and Jacob’s struggle.  If we get what we want, it often hinders and hurts our progress with God.  God overrules this because He loves us.  Jeremiah wrote, “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10.23).

We devise our plans, but not by the Spirit of God.  We add sin to sin.  We don’t ask God for advice.  We look to the world for strength.  We trust in the shadow of the world.  The world’s strength will bring about our shame.  Our trust in the world will be what humiliates us (Isaiah 30.1-3).  We must not make flesh our strength.  We must not allow our hearts to depart from the LORD (Jeremiah 17.5).

Does Jacob acknowledge God in all of his ways?  Read Genesis 30.37 to the end of our passage.  I don’t see him acknowledging God in what he is doing.  We must acknowledge God in all of our ways …all without exception.  God allows one kingdom to fall and another to rise, but all the while He acknowledges the sparrow that falls from the sky today.  We have a way of judging some things as not significant enough for us to consult God.  But nothing is insignificant to God when it has to do with our well-being.  We are His children after all.

God is directing Jacob’s path.  Eventually Jacob will cease struggling and be at peace with God.  The LORD shall direct our paths as well.  He will do so through the Spirit and the Word.  He will also do so through circumstances and other people.

The Spirit and the Word

Pray for God to open the eyes of your understanding.  Then you will not call good evil and evil good.  You will not mistake darkness for light and light for darkness.  “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30.21).  The Holy Spirit works primarily through the Word, but not exclu
sively through the Word.  The Holy Spirit may give us a strong impression.  He may move us in a way to deter us from evil and guide us toward good.  John writes that the anointing of the Holy Spirit abides in us, and we d
o not need that anyone teach us (see 1 John 2.26).  However, the Holy Spirit never moves contrary to His Word.

Circumstance and People
Jacob missed an opportunity to go to God for what was needed, namely separation from Laban.  He misses opportunity after opportunity because he is a supplanter and a deceiver.  On the other hand, David was very angry with a man named Nabal.  The man had behaved quite foolishly in light of the protection David extended to him.  He set out to kill Nabal only to be hindered by his wife, Abigail.  God moved in such a way that David’s wrath was turned and he did not seek vengeance.  God directs us by hindering us through circumstances and through people.  All the while He keeps us on the way toward glory.

Don’t become passive and lazy in your walk with God.  I’m not saying that you will not have to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling and do so at great personal sacrifice and suffering.  Confidence and diligence are companions.  Do not presume upon the grace of God.  Soon Jacob will meet up with Esau, his brother.  He worked hard at trying to make sure his brother wouldn’t make good on an earlier threat against Jacob.  But will Jacob depend upon the Lord?  Will he commit himself wholly to the Lord.  Genesis 32 indicates that he will.

God will direct us to His will.  But we will also play the hypocrite as Peter did.  We will revile the president as Paul reviled the High Priest.  We are not perfect.  We don’t know it all.  Sometimes we need to be completely humbled to see how blind we’ve become and how deceitful our hearts truly are.  God has wonderful plan for each of us.  We should be thankful for it.  You are fallible.  Your way is far from perfect.  God is infallible and His way is always perfect.  So, let God have your control issues.

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