Written For Our Instruction, Pt. 2
Study Guide, March 11, 2018
Pastor Clay Olsen
If I were to ask you what one of the most remarkable products we use all the time is, we would no doubt think of our electronics: smart phones, smart televisions, smart watches, smart alecks, and so on. But one of the most amazing products ever made is the humble automobile tire. After the invention of the wheel itself, the rubber tire that goes around it is really one of the most remarkable inventions, as well as being one of the main things that keeps our world moving. A man named ‘Charles Goodyear’ invented vulcanized rubber in 1844. And, get this, for the first 25 years of the car all tires were white. Yeah, zinc oxide was added to the rubber for strength, but it had a side effect of making bright white tires. Later on they added carbon black, which was a waste product of the petroleum industry, in order to add longevity to the tire, but it changed the color to black. Although, the modern tire is now made up of over 200 different materials, including metals and oils. But if any of you buy ‘Goodyear’ tires, you can thank Charles for that.
And a couple other names you might know come from the fact that in 1888 John Dunlop invented air-filled tires, but mainly for bicycles. It took another fellow to use them on automobiles; a guy named Andre Michelin. Yeah, these tires are named after real people.
But back to the tire itself. Think again about this product that most people rarely think about. Did you know that while you are traveling down the road at 60 miles per hour your tires are rotating at 750 revolutions per minute? And let’s say it’s a hot summer day of 90 degrees outside. So while you enjoy the A/C inside your car, your tires are experiencing temperatures of up to 50 degrees higher than the actual temperature. So not only are they going around 750 revolutions per minute, but now they are doing this at around 140 degrees, all the while enduring a beating from rolling over cracks and holes and all sorts of debris on the road.
So what’s the best way to thank your faithful tires? Keep them properly inflated. Did you know that at least a fourth of all the cars driving around you have under-inflated tires, which lead to accidents at the worst, and just increased tire wear and gasoline waste otherwise. The Department of Transportation estimates that 5 million gallons of fuel a day are wasted due to low tire pressure. That’s more than 2 billion gallons per year. So check your tire-pressure at least once a month. Now, many cars after 2008 have tire pressure monitoring systems, but the warning light doesn’t come on until the tire is already 25 percent under-inflated. So a manual tire gauge check is the best. And don’t go by the number on the tire. That’s the maximum. You don’t want to fill it to the maximum. Use the number on the door plate of the driver’s side. Remember, in warm temperature air pressure increases when you’re driving, so you don’t want to start with the maximum. And fill your tires when the tires are cold, or not in use for at least three hours. Also, realize that weather can affect your tire pressure. For every 10 degrees F, tire pressure will adjust by 1 pound (psi). For example, if the outside air temperature increases 10 degrees, the tire pressure will increase by 1 pound. And if the air temperature falls 10 degrees, the tire pressure will decrease by 1 pound (psi). So that’s why we need to regularly check them.
Now, you might be thinking: Why is Pastor talking so much about tires? Well, not only do we like to give practical living helps to the Chapel Family, but this is just another example of the fact that we all need instructions for how to do life, about basically everything! And if we need instructions about not only the basic things in life then it reinforces the fact that we all need instructions about the things that are of the utmost importance in life; instructions on how to better understand, follow, and serve our very Creator and Redeemer.
Again, The Apostle Paul reminded us that the things that were written in the New Testament about those people that we read about in the Old Testament were written for our instruction. We are to learn how to live by how they lived and to also learn what they learned about how to live in relationship to God and others. And so we need to look into the life of another person who had a lot to learn and a lot to teach us. His name was Jacob. And even though we have read a lot about Jacob from maybe our child-hood, there is always more to learn and glean from this remarkable follower of God.
Apparently my Mother used to read a lot about Jacob to my oldest brother when he was little because she said when she would start to read about him at night my brother would say: “Jacob, Jacob, Jacob…every night it’s Jacob!” I’ll have to ask him about that again the next time I talk to him.
We talked about Jacob at our Men’s Retreat. So the question is: What are some things that Jacob can teach us or instruct us on how to better know and serve our God and others? Well, for starters: We learn some things about human nature, like with his early encounter with Esau. Gen 25:27-34- “As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoorsman, but Jacob had a quiet temperament, preferring to stay at home. Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob. One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”)“All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.” “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?” But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.” NLT
Several lessons spill out of this passage about stew. That sounds messy, doesn’t it? But One is this: Isn’t it amazing what people will exchange for stew? Think about Esau here: Esau was willing to exchange his future birthright to satisfy his temporary appetite. The birthright generally was a provision that came with special authority in family decisions, along with a double portion of the family inheritance, and special blessings and privileges passed on by the Father. So as is evident, the birthright was a great honor, and something to be thankful for, but especially, something to be patient for, because the birthright was not for the here and now, but for the here-after, or the future. But when your appetite is for the pleasures of the now instead of the blessings of the future; well, then you’re likely to exchange most anything for stew.
Be careful about you crave. If you don’t learn to crave the things that God’s stewards are supposed to become for God and do for God more than you crave the things found in this world’s stew, then you will always be focused on living for the here and now instead of investing your life for the here-after; or the forever-after. Or, be careful about what you hunger for, for if you go with your natural appetites you will just find yourself hungering for more of the here and now. But if you will go with your spiritual appetites you will find yourself hungering for more for more of the things of the ‘here-after’. You’ll develop a hunger for Heaven, as well as being more satisfied on Earth. Remember Jesus words about finding true happiness and also both present and future reward? Matt 5:6- “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” 6:33- “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” NASU
We each have a birthright to be thankful for, but to also be patient for. Jesus told us that He has plans for us to participate in reigning with Him in the coming Kingdom and to enjoy great portions of the family inheritance, and that special blessings and privileges are available. But these kingdom blessings are reserved for His children who seek first His kingdom and His righteousness as they live in the here and now. God doesn’t want any of His children to forfeit any of their kingdom inheritance or privileges because of exchanging them for the temporal things of this world.
So here’s a question: What is the stew in your life around you? Well, that could be any number of things in this world around us. And the thing is, they may be all good things in and of themselves. Like there was nothing bad about the stew that Jacob made and that Esau craved. I love stew, don’t you? There are good things in stew. The issue was not the stew. The issue is that there is something far more important in life than stew, and that is – stewardship. Both Jacob and Esau knew a lot about stew, but neither of them knew much about ‘stewardship’. Again, There is something more important in life than whatever it is that is ‘stew to you’, and that is, your than ‘stewardship to God’.
How odd, that even as early on as the family of Isaac and Rebekah and Jacob and Esau that this great purpose for mankind had already been forgotten: the ‘stewardship’ of man under the ‘sovereignty of God’. Here you have Jacob conniving and deceiving his brother about his birthright and you have Esau sacrificing his future rights on the altar of his immediate appetites, and neither one of them thinking about their personal accountability to God. They were just making it up as they went along without any thought of God’s plans for their lives.
Think about it: Most people around us are still paying more attention to the stew for their lives than to their stewardship in their lives. Most people are still making up their lives like a batch of stew instead of realizing that God has already made up a plan for them that includes who they are to become and what they are to do. Mark it down: ‘stewardship’ is God’s design for our lives. And ‘stewardship’ means that God has already made up the plan for you and for me on who we are to be and what we are to do. And certainly God has included a lot of liberty on lots of choices for us. But as far as the character we are to build and the commandments we are to keep, as well as many of the service assignments we are to do…well, God already has a plan in mind for each of us. And our part is to now yield to His Lordship and be His ‘steward’ in looking to God for how we go about using our time, and our talents, and our treasures, knowing that God is the sole Owner of it all and we are His stewards of it all.
In fact, it took a wrestling match with God for Jacob to learn about being God’s steward. Remember that? Now remember, a ‘Steward’ is ‘a God ruled man’ or ‘a God ruled woman’. Jacob was not yet a God ruled man, but he was about to become one. Gen 32:24-32- “Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh. Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip.” NASU
Did you know that this prohibition against eating the sinew of the hip or area along the sciatic nerve of the hip is still practiced in the Jewish world? It’s not part of the Mosaic Law or anything, but it has been the custom ever since this event of Jacob that kosher eating does not permit this part of the hip in an animal to be eaten. Isn’t it interesting how meticulous some traditions are kept and how ignored other great revelations are; like the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in being the world’s Messiah?
But as for Jacob, well he really did want the blessing of the Lord on his life. We need to commend him for this. But in becoming a God ruled man there are first things first. Before we can become what God intends us to be we have to face ourselves and admit what we are in ourselves. That’s why the Lord asked him, “What is your name?” Do you remember the last time that Jacob was asked that question? It was his father, Isaac, who asked him “Who are you, my son?” and Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn”. Uh oh! Remember, even Jacob’s name meant ‘deceiver’. You know that part about “…be sure, your sin will find you out…”? Yeah, it does every time. It’s like the Lord was saying to Jacob… “So, son…let’s go over this again. Left to yourself, who are you really?” Once a person admits who they are in and of themselves, then they can become who they were meant to be in and by the grace of God and power of God ruling in their life.
These two things are required for any person to become a faithful and useful and blessed servant of the Lord God. You have to know who you are left to yourself, or in and of yourself ruling in your life; and you then have to know who you are meant to be and can be in and by the grace of God and power of God ruling in your life. Only then can you reach the place where like Paul said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” 1 Cor 15:10 NASU, and, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13 NKJV
Remember something: Knowing who you are in Christ precedes understanding what you are supposed to do as a Christian. Until a believer comes to understand their identity in Christ they will always be confused about their purposes as a Christian.
And we will pause this study right there and let you ponder that more and more in order to discover the joy of understanding that more and more and the blessings that come from living that out more and more.
(Automobile tire information gleaned from sites: edmonds.com; caranddriver.com; etc.)