by Kelly DavisBrokenness Key to Blessing
The key to blessing is brokenness through humility and self-denial, Pastor Hayes Wicker, of First Baptist Church, Naples, Fla., told students at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary's spring convocation.
Wicker found his message in the wrestling match between God and Jacob found in Genesis 32, highlighting verse 26: "And He said, ‘Let Me go, for the day breaks.' But he said, ‘I will not let you go until you bless me!'" During this wrestling match, Wicker said, God broke Jacob of his self-centeredness and granted him blessing.
"In this picture of Jacob's wrestling match, we see an encounter with a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ; a theophany," Wicker said. "God brought Jacob to a place of great encounter with truth."
"I believe all of us are in a wrestling match today," he said. "It may not be with intellectual issues concerning inerrancy or in the area of apologetics, [but] during your seminary experience, every one of [you] will wrestle with God."
"I believe the only time you and I are strong is when we have met God face to face and have been broken so we might be blessed," Wicker said. "Coming to a place of blessing is invariably found in the stocks of suffering."
Wicker then cited five ways God uses brokenness to bring about blessing:
First, brokenness allows failure so that success may be found, he said. "Jacob the wrestler had been a phony all of his life. He was the star of his own stage. He was strutting and not walking humbly with his God. He had always come out on top, and now he is wrestling in the shadows and cannot win.
"There will be a time when your world will be literally exploded," Wicker said, "and it is then that God picks up the pieces. God allows failure to bring brokenness, but brokenness crucifies self so the spirit might win."
Second, coming to a place of brokenness means crucifying self so that Christ may live in us, Wicker said. Noting that "Jacob's name meant ‘heel-catcher,' which was the idea of grabbing and self-centeredness," he added: "The real problem in churches today and the real problem in your life and my life is self. It is self that insists [on] its own way. Self-conceit, self-sufficiency, self-way, self-will.... It is only when we are crucified to self that Jesus can live in us."
Third, brokenness brings desperation so that faith might be supreme, Wicker said. "Jacob wrestled with God until God dislocated his thigh. Jacob was broken at the source of his strength, Wicker said, so that he could no longer fight but cling." And, Wicker added, "God will touch you at the source of your strength."
Fourth, brokenness confesses need, so that change might be real, Wicker said. "God began to break him and change him. Brokenness confesses who you really are." When Jacob was transformed through brokenness, God then changed his name from "heel-snatcher" to "Israel," meaning "the Lord rules."
Finally, brokenness results in service so that God might be glorified, Wicker said. "In Genesis 32:20, we see the culmination of Jacob's conniving to appease Esau by buying him off with gifts. It wasn't real service. But we look in chapter 33 and we see Jacob changed."
"Brokenness always leads to service, and service always leads to blessing others. "Not manipulation, but ministry. Not self-glorification, but blessing for others and the glory of God," Wicker said.
"If you are going to bear fruit, you must be buried. The cross must come before the crown. Burial must come before resurrection...planting before fruit bearing.
"I believe God is calling us today to a fresh brokenness that issues in fresh service," the speaker concluded.