May 5, 2019
preached by Don Willeman
Time of Reflection Quotations
“…man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun…”
~Clifford Geertz (1926-2006), noted American anthropologist
“…humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
~Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), French mathematician and writer
The Bible “presents its truth always in an existential manner. [That means] I cannot afford to sit back and consider it casually, in a detached manner. No, …you cannot afford to do that, because you are in an uncertain world, and your whole life in it is so uncertain…. [The Bible] is…a direct and personal address…. [God] is speaking to us about ourselves—where we are, why we are there, how we ever got there, how we can come from there.”
~Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1980), in a sermon on the book of Genesis
“Whatever else it embraces, true Christian experience must always include a genuine encounter with God.”
~A.W. Tozer (1897-1963), pastor and author
“What we have seen in the last four or five decades is the democratization of God…more deeply than ever before in our country’s history.”
~T.M. Luhrmann, professor of psychological anthropology
“And amid such uncertainty [about our self-identity], we typically turn to the wider world to settle the question of our significance. We seem beholden to affections of others to endure ourselves. Our ‘ego’ or self-conception could be pictured as a leaking balloon, forever requiring the helium of external love to remain inflated, and ever vulnerable to the smallest pinpricks of neglect.”
~Alain de Botton, Swiss-born philosopher and writer
“‘Is God trying to get my attention by making my life harder or something?’ I said. Blowing out smoke between questions, said out loud but mainly meant for God to hear and relent. ‘I mean, does God want me that much?’ As grace would have it, He did.”
~Jackie Hill-Perry, poet and writer
Genesis 31:55-32:24 (ESV)
55 Early in the morning Laban arose and kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned home.
1 Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 And when Jacob saw them he said, “This is God’s camp!” So he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, 4 instructing them, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob, ‘I have sojourned with Laban and stayed until now. 5 I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants. I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may find favor in your sight.’”
6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” 7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, 8 thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left will escape.”
9 And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. 11 Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. 12 But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’”
13 So he stayed there that night, and from what he had with him he took a present for his brother Esau, 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty milking camels and their calves, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 These he handed over to his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Pass on ahead of me and put a space between drove and drove.” 17 He instructed the first, “When Esau my brother meets you and asks you, ‘To whom do you belong? Where are you going? And whose are these ahead of you?’ 18 then you shall say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a present sent to my lord Esau. And moreover, he is behind us.’” 19 He likewise instructed the second and the third and all who followed the droves, “You shall say the same thing to Esau when you find him, 20 and you shall say, ‘Moreover, your servant Jacob is behind us.’” For he thought, “I may appease him with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterward I shall see his face. Perhaps he will accept me.” 21 So the present passed on ahead of him, and he himself stayed that night in the camp.
22 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.