There will come a time in our lives when the Lord asks us to give up something we think we can't live without. But it's in doing so that we draw closer to Him.
All right. What a blessing to be able to share this time with all of you. If you’re joining us for the first time or you’re new to our church community, I’m Pastor Terry. I’m the lead Pastor here at Cornerstone Church in San Francisco. You know, our theme for the past few months. And the theme that’s carrying us into this summer, this time of transition is the theme of Surrender and what it means really to trust God.
To, to yield, to open ourselves up so that he can help us. We often hear the phrase, let go, and let God. It has to do with loosening our grip and allowing the Lord to, as we surrender, show us the way forward. You know, today we’re going to watch a man. We’re going to learn about the life of a man, who is really struggling to let go of the one thing he feels he cannot lose.
And maybe, maybe some of us can relate to that every now and then, you know, God will, will challenge us to trust Him in ways that challenge our fears and far from, this is what I found, far from being disasters those those times can actually be times of unique spiritual growth in our life. A time of expansion.
Those places of insecurity when we’re forced to surrender to the Lord in ways that we didn’t think we were going to have to do those places, oftentimes create, um, movement inside of our lives, a development, uh, an expansion, and really they become opportunities for deepening. And so I’ve learned that even though there are some things I don’t want to have to deal with.
That frequently, they become those fearful places. When we are in, from the places over invited to exercise faith into, they become opportunities for tremendous growth and a deeper relationship with the Lord. And so Father, I just ask that You would bless this word, and, um, you know, work this truth into our hearts right now, use this word to, to strengthen and to, to enlarge our trust base.
Yeah, and remind us that when it comes to Your kingdom, we are at our strongest when we’re most surrendered. So we just commit this time to You in Jesus name. So building off of what we shared last week. We’re gonna pick back up and I’m just going to do this as quick as possible. I’m not going to try to go back over everything that we shared last week, but I do want to use it as a quick reset.
And what I want us to watch is how Joseph’s aged father, Jacob wrestles with letting his youngest son Benjamin go. That was Joseph’s little brother. And I’m just going to read these verses fairly quickly to get us to where I want it to take us here. But it says in Genesis 42, that when they came to Jacob, their father in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them saying the man, the Lord of the land spoke roughly to us and took us to be spies of the land.
That was their way of saying he just seemed to have an odd against this. Maybe because we were outsiders, we don’t know foreigners, but he was, he was unusually harsh, very suspicious. But we said to him, verse 31, we’re honest men. We have never been spies. We are 12 brothers, sons of our father. One is no more, talking about Joseph.
And the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan, Benjamin. And then the man, this Lord of the land said to us, “By this, I shall know that you are honest men, the men that you say you are, leave one of your brothers with me that would be Simeon and take grain for the famine of your households.
Um, and go your way. And then bring your youngest brother to me. And then I shall know that you are not spies, but honest men, and I will deliver your brother to you and you shall trade in the land.” So again, Simeon was kept, they were allowed to return home with the food they had purchased. Verse 35 and as they emptied their sacks, behold, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack.
And when they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were afraid. Jacob says, what’s going on? You paid him, right? Yes. We paid him. Then why do each of you have your money in your bags? Do you know what’s going to happen now? We’re going to be accused of theft and verse 36, Jacob, their father said to them, you have,
you have bereaved me of my children. Joseph is no more. He assumed he was dead. Simeon is no more. He just made the assumption that he was, he was already gone. And even though he was in a prison waiting to be freed, and now you would take Benjamin and then, talked about this last week. Jacob explains all this has come against me.
We ever felt that way? One problem after another is piling up on us. You know, sometimes, and maybe we’re in a place like this right now, but sometimes what happens when we are frustrated or we feel hemmed in and we feel like we’re just getting overwhelmed with one hit after another and we’re afraid we feel like we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place when every move looks bad in these moments.
It’s so easy to get our eyes off the Lord. Isn’t it? It really is. And to turn, a lot of times what happens and then we turn on one another and then we start to be blame and we become reckless with our words. And I’ve known that, I’ve known that and that can happen. You know, speaking of reckless, Ruben, uh, true to form speaks, uh, incredibly foolish words.
And it’s not the Ruben’s reaction, as we mentioned last week, is not the type of reaction you want in a time of crisis. No, look what he said, verse 37, then Ruben said to his father will kill my two sons. If I did not bring it back to you. He’s talking about Benjamin, who the Egyptian overseer had required to see as a sign of the validity of what they said they were.
And Ruben says, “Kill my two sons, if I do not bring him to you. Put it, put him Benjamin in my hands, I will bring them back to you.” And I see Jacob incredulous shaking his head in disbelief. Oh yeah. That’ll solve everything. I’ll kill my two grandsons shaking his head. He says this, but he said, my son shall not go down with you.
And this is where we pick up for his brother is dead. He’s talking about Joseph and he, and he Benjamin is the only one left. That’s the, he’s the last connection with the wife of my youth. Uh, the love of my life. If harm should come to him on this journey that you are to make, ah, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol to the place of the departed and time passes.
And we read the next chapter verse one, “Now the famine was severe in the land. And when they had eaten the grain that they had brought from Egypt.” So they used up all the food that they had purchased, even though they had technically all the money that still with them, but they were, it had been put mysteriously back in their bags, but after they were done having eaten the grain they, that they had bought from Egypt, their father said to them, okay, you know, we’re out of food.
It’s time to go back and buy us some more. Right? Buy us a little food. And if I can put it this way, and I think you can, you can, you can understand what I’m about to say here, because it. There will always come a time when the food runs out. And what I mean by that is there will always come a time when we will have to face things that we are trying to avoid. Unaddressed and unresolved fear.
It’s like a, a boomerang. It willreturn. It will return again. I have found that some things that we tuck away, like I dunno, unforgiveness and unresolved anger, those things revisit us. And that’s why Jesus talked about how important it was for us to go and to resolve before we continue on with worship, because what this think of this way, what is undealt with and repressed will frequently possess us.
What is undealt with and repressed will frequently possess us more than we know. And remember the Scriptures teach us that a root of bitterness corrupts that is affects many. It inevitably makes its way through the cracks of our life, seeps back up onto the surface of life, especially when the heat is on.
And what is there comes up into the surface. And one more thing we should probably add to that. Because God loves us loved ones. He usually doesn’t let us off the hook, just tucking things away that he wants us to deal with. Right? He wants us to live. Listen to me. All of all of us need to hear this. He wants us to live a whole and healthy life that is capable
of passing down blessing sharing his goodness. And so when we say we love Him, when we ask His name to be called over our lives, and I think that’s what baptism does when we accept Jesus. And then we’re baptized, we’re accepting His name over our lives. We are saying, I identify myself firstly, as Your son or firstly, as Your daughter, I’m,
I’m finding my truest identity in You, not in my gender or sexuality, not in my, my ethnicity, not in my nationality, not in all the things that, that, people want us to be identified by our socioeconomic status or our career, our titles, our education, educational accomplishments, all these things that, that, you know, we could use as a way of identifying ourselves that the Lord always says that once you’ve come to know me, your first identity is as a beloved son or a beloved daughter.
Right? That’s who you are. That and once we see that, that is the critical piece. Then we understand that the Lord is going to keep working on us and He’s going to work for our wellbeing. He’s going to seek to shape us all the days of our lives so that we can become the best version that He has created us to be for
we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus, and someday as the promise of Jesus that we’ve been given on the basis of His life and resurrection. The purchase price being the cross. The gift overflowing out of the empty tomb, a promise yet to come. And I know it’s not Easter time, but it’s worth rejoicing every now and then in the resurrection of Christ, because it means that this world is not simply all there is for us.
And there will come an ultimate time of . Shaping and becoming more of what we were created to be in Christ. But in the meantime, between now and then the Lord is working on us, shaping us, carving things, helping us, as we surrender to Him to become more conformed into the likeness of His son, Jesus. You know, and the Bible reminds us in Hebrews 12, that the one whom the Lord loves He chastens and disciplines.
In fact, we’ll put this verse up from the ESV and have you forgotten, look at this, the exhortation that addresses you as sons. My son do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord nor be weary when reproved by Him for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and chastises every son whom He receives. I really liked the way the message translation paraphrase puts it.
It’s great. It’s kind of gritty, but it makes it, I don’t know, even come alive a little bit more and every now and then it just hits perfect. This is what, how the Message translation, um, captures these verses. Have you forgotten how good parents treat your children and that God regards you as His children?
My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline. But don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child He loves that He disciplines. The child He embraces. He also corrects. Every good parent understands this. In Jacob’s case, his struggle was an unhealthy attachment. That’s what I’m going to call it. It was an attachment that was fear-based.
And I’m talking about the attachment he had to Benjamin and there were reasons for that fear. And a lot of it was connected to the things that had happened. In other words, there were real reasons for his fear. Then again, I think a lot of us can relate to that. And yet this fear bound the man whom God had called to be,
a prince literally given, given him the name Israel, you remember, God gave Jacob a new name, Israel. A prince with God. And it, it was about how God saw him and ultimately what would become and flow out of him. Right? But he would have to learn a lesson and it’s the same lesson that you and I every now and then, on the journey of life,
will probably need to learn as well in some different way, but we too will be called to places where we need to let our Benjamin go. The thing that we think we cannot lose, uh, the fear that keeps us tightly clutching almost suffocating, and God would say to us, I want to teach you how to surrender that to Me so that you may live more freely in the provision that I have for you.
Look what it says in verse 3, but Judah said to him, so the other brother, Judah chimes in. Reuben’s just irrational offer to try to get Jacob to let Benjamin go was essentially rejected. Judas sees this, and he says to him did Jacob, you know, father, the, the man, look at this the man solemnly warned us saying you shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.
Right? If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. We will. But if you will not send him, we’re not going down, it makes no sense for the man said to us clearly you shall not see my face. Unless your brother is with you. And Israel, Jacob, said, why, why do you, why do you say, why do you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother?
What was wrong with you guys? What were you thinking? Why do you even mention that you had another brother. Again, blame, right? He’s, he’s upset. He’s frustrated. You can be old. You can be advanced in years and act childish. And I just, I just see Israel here. I see Jacob just going, you know, what, w w why did you even have to tell him in the first place.
What is wrong with you guys? What were you thinking? You shouldn’t have even mentioned that you had a brother, another brother. No, they replied. No, no, no, no. Father, the man, and we don’t know why, but the man questioned us carefully about ourselves and our, our kindred he, he said, is your father still alive?
He asked that question. He asked that question. He said, do you –, he? He said, look, do you have another brother? And, well, what we told him was in answer to those questions. We didn’t — It wasn’t like we were offering this information. He asked us specific questions. How did we know how he was going to respond?
Could we in any way know that I mean, come on. How would we supposed to know that he was going to say, bring your brother down. There’s no way we were just answering his questions. And Judah said to his father, his father, he said to Israel, his father, and I just. The, I, I feel the tone in his words.
Maybe you can too. Father send the boy with me again. He’s, he’s a young man. Send the boy with me and we will arise and go. That we may, we may live and not die both we and you, and also our little ones. Come on. Look, I will pledge. I will be a pledge of his safety from, from my hand. You shall require him.
If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then you, you let me blame that you let me bear that blame forever out. I’m responsible. That was, that was a very reasoned and wise. A soft answer that turned away, uh, wrath and calm. Some of that fear words that were fair and, uh, realistic and honest, sensitive, and look at
how they were given with respect. And Judah’s willingness to take responsibility was a perfect match for the, for where Jacob was in his dilemma. And at that, that did not escape me. Uh, his words were a perfect match for where Jacob was in his dilemma. And that’s what the Bible means when it talks about a word that is fitly framed, like set in place in a proper way at a proper time.
And I think all of us have been on the receiving end of that at some point where the word just fit. It’s what we needed. We didn’t need escalation. We needed something that was honest and respectful, but kind but real. I don’t know. It just, uh, you know, I think we, we, what we’re seeing here is how, how much Jacob was in turmoil, right?
He, he was, he was internally conflicted, very disturbed inside, uh, the, the, this, this older man of many years of, of walking by faith, um, was so torn and afraid to let go. And I was reminded of a verse, just thinking about what Judah did there reminded of what Proverbs 25:15 says that look at this with patience a ruler may be persuaded and a soft tongue will break a bone.
You know, Judah models, a wise approach to a fragile situation. He weighs his words. He speaks in a way that fills Jacob’s insecurity gap. That’s what he does. And by the way, that’s a perfect example of how to manage up. Some of us can use that and put that in our tool chest. But even more than that, even more than that, you know, something that we can implement in the marketplace.
It’s also a great relational principle, isn’t it? Right. I mean, I mean, it really is it, uh, you know, when we speak wisdom, we can fill the insecurity gap in others. And God can use us to help people we love and care for move forward. It’s the healing power of again, of a right word delivered in the right way at the right time.
And then Judah says, Father, look, verse 10. If we had not delayed, the truth is we would have now returned twice. I mean, we’ve already been back and forth a couple of times. Fear makes us delay when God is wanting us to move in faith. And then their father Israel said to them, he finally yields.
If it must be so then do this. Take, okay. Take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags and carry a present down to the man. Right? A little balm, a little honey, some gum, some myrrh, some pistachio nuts, and almonds, just the exquisite, uh, food and spices of the region. And, and by the way, take double money with you.
Carry back with you the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. You know, perhaps it was an oversight, but make sure that you have that money plus the new money to give to him. And then yes.
Take also your brother, take him. Benjamin, you’re going. Arise, go again to this man. All right. And then make God almighty you mercy before the man. And may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, then, I am bereaved. So finally Jacob yields. The stubborn old patriarch, like the Prodigal Son comes to the end of himself, quits fighting God and life, and ah, gives up and let’s go.
Right? I remember something Dwight L. Moody, the great preacher, said he said, “Let God have your life. He can do more with it than you can.” Isn’t that great? Let God have your life, he can do more with it than you can. You know, growing closer to God is not the result of trying harder. It’s the result of surrendering more.
It’s not about trying harder. It’s about surrendering more and notice Jacob’s gift kicks back in because at his best he’s shrewd and he’s clever and he’s, he’s smart and he knows how to do business. And he says, oh, and by the way, if we’re going to do this. Then let’s do it right. Make sure you take the gifts.
It’s like all of a sudden he’s, he’s locked in. And he says make sure you take the gifts, give him presents. The best of our land and double the money. Make sure that he sees it was an honest mistake and yes, you can take Benjamin. Oh may God have mercy on us. God have mercy. Uh, I just looked that phrase if I die,
bereaved in my children, then I’m bereaved. It’s, it’s like, I leave this in His hands now. You know what, what he cannot see or comprehend. Ah, Jacob can’t see it. All he’s been locked into is clutching and holding onto the fear of what he thinks he cannot lose, but what he cannot see or comprehend just like a lot of times we cannot see or comprehend when we’re struggling to surrender and trust.
He can’t see the amazing things that God has in store for him. He really can’t. He just had to let Benjamin go. And I suppose once in a while, maybe once in a lifetime, there will, well, probably one or more than once, but I suspect they will come these pretty significant moments in our lives, is when we’re going to have to let our Benjamin go.
We’re going to have to entrust something to God. That means so much to us. And so much of our, uh, our identity, security, our love is locked into it and we’re afraid. And the Lord is going to ask us to surrender our Benjamin, right? And trust God with that which we actually never really controlled
anyway. Uh, we just thought we did. You know I’ve heard it said that no life, and I just love this, no life is more secure than a life that is surrendered to God. No life is more secure than a life that is surrendered to God. And I need to remind myself of that every now and then. Yes, I do. It’s about trusting the Lord with all of our heart and not leaning into our own understanding.
And so. I’m going to be sharing a little bit more. I actually do have a thought and I have another quote that I want to give you, but, um, we’re gonna, we’re gonna just shift right now into a song. That’s almost a prayer. And I want us to just think about as, as we’re listening to it and engaging it, what it means to surrender.
Lord, so I just asked that you would, you would bless this song as we share it and are reminded of what it means to trust you. And I do ask that you would just speak to us and, you know, build on some of the things that you’ve already been sort of working inside of our heart during these past few minutes together, we share this in Jesus name.