Jacob's Trouble

Dear Brethren,

What kind of plans are you making for the future?  In a God-fearing society, people should be able to make long-range ambitious plans that extend for many generations into the future.  Why is it then, that such a large percentage of our people lack a strategy for future development, and subsequently neglect to make long-range plans?  It is because too many people have no hope of a bright future and are living their unpromising lives from day to day - just trying to keep their head above water.  Why are so many things going wrong?  What is the cause of the hopelessness that grips so many lives?

When our country was young there was hope in the air.  Fleeing the bondage of religious persecution and cruel feudal serfdom, our ancestors came to this rich land seeking freedom of faith and ownership of property.  This bountiful territory provided the opportunity for the seemingly endless fulfillment of dreams for those pioneers who possessed the courage to beat back the wilderness and bring it under civilized development.  Looking to God for guidance and thanking Him for the prospect of His bountiful blessings, they soon found themselves to be the recipients of liberty, independence, and freedom from oppression.

The work was back-breaking and the hours endless, but homes and families rose out of the fertile soil.  The family unit, looking to Almighty God, was the foundation of our nation.  Members of families depended upon God and one another for life itself.  As families flourished, communities sprang up and began to provide for the fabric of society and government.  Brave entrepreneurs manufactured goods and provided services, which brought abundant trade and created a thriving economy.

God had promised:  "All these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.  Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.  Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.  Blessed shall be thy basket and thy storehouse."  (Deuteronomy 28:2-5)

It is impossible for people today - even our national leaders and members of the Supreme Court - to believe or understand the degree to which our founding fathers and average citizens looked to God for protection and sustenance.  Those pilgrims believed God when He said:  "I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people."  (Leviticus 26:12)  Who, today, gives God the credit that only He deserves for our national greatness?  "I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land."  (Leviticus 26:6)

After 2,520 years, God had truly blessed the descendents of Abraham, just as He had promised.  "I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:  And, I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."  (Genesis 12:2-3)

I wish that I could say right here, "And they lived happily ever after," but only nursery rhymes end that way.  After we became the greatest power on the earth, we foolishly did as our ancient Israelitish forefathers did, and forgot our God, who made us strong and blessed us.  Not everyone realizes that we have passed the point of no return.  But, we do not have to be passed the point of no return.  God says, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn [repent]  from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  (2Chronicles 7:14)  The trouble is that we won't repent and turn to God.  Since we have rejected our God and will not return to Him, here is what is has begun to befall our nation:

"If ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you." (Leviticus 26:15-17)

We have rejected our God by despising His law and rebelling against His sovereignty.  We are self-satisfied - thinking that we achieved this greatness all by ourselves - without God.  Not only do we not know the source of our tremendous blessings, we have lost our zeal for greatness and have become apathetic, believing that we have a right to the prosperity and abundance in which we find ourselves.

"Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things... Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed."  (Deut 28:47, 61)

Jacob is the grand-son of Abraham through whom all the promises of national greatness were extended.  Because God changed Jacob's name to Israel, he is the father of the 12 tribes of Israel.  In the same way that the children of Jacob (Israel) received God's greatest blessings the world has ever seen, because of our flat-out rejection of God and His ways, we are about to become the recipients of the greatest trouble and tribulation the world has ever witnessed.

"Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble."  (Jeremiah 30:7)


Sermon:  "Jacob's Trouble"