Holding on to God

Let me begin my sermon today by reading part of the story of Jacob, – a few verses from Genesis chapter 32: verses 24-30

(24) And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

(25) And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

(26) And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said,

I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

(27) And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

(28) And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

(29) And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.

(30) And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved.

Here in these verses we find Jacob fleeing from his brother Esau whom he had cheated out of his “birthright” (Gen 27) and now he is living in constant fear for his life and the lives of his family. He is as we might say “up against it” or “between a rock and a hard place” – and in this time of crisis, this time of trouble, God shows up. This is not unusual for God has promised us that he is indeed a “very present help in time of trouble” Psalm 46:1

Instead of allowing ourselves those feelings of abandonment when trouble comes, feeling that God is neglecting us, or has forsaken us, we should be expecting God to show up in our troubles, for that’s what he has promised us.

My Sermon today entitled “Holding on to God” is about those who have had a determination to hold on to God in their crisis and not let go until the blessing comes. Most of us will bring our problems and pains to God, and instead of then holding on to God, we hold on to the problem, and refuse to let IT go, which prevents God from dealing with it.

We need to learn to Hold On to God, and to Let Go of the Problem instead of doing things the wrong way around?

Let us take time today to see how God stepped into the Crisis Situations in which many of his Children passed, and let me say at the outset, that most of our problems are tests, – tests of faith!

Turn First of all to the Book of the Exodus in chapter 14:

reading v13-16

(13) “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

(14) The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

(15) And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

(16) But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea”.

Here The Children of Israel had escaped from the grip of slavery under the Egyptian Pharaoh and were heading towards the Red

Sea. Believing that they were free at last, they soon discovered to their horror, that the armies of Egypt followed them in hot pursuit. Before them lay the prospect of a watery gave, while behind them lay the prospect of re-capture to slavery, if not certain death. There was no way forward and no way back … such was their dilemma. Have you ever been there?

God always knows when His children are in trouble, and God has plans, no problems … there is no panic in Heaven!

So what does Moses the man of God, say?

v13 “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

The LORD shall fight for you…”

Now you all know the end of the story how God parted the sea, how it miraculously banked up and the people walked over on dry ground to the other side, and how that the pursuing Egyptians were all drowned as the sea returned back in on them; Horses, Chariots and All – they did indeed see

them no more for ever!

Once they had given up the fight themselves and allowed the Lord to fight for them, then the Battle was as good as won, for nothing beats God and nothing is bigger than God. Oh that we might speedily learn to let God fight for us. Remember that On the other side of your TEST there will be your TESTIMONY!



BUT you must like Jacob, like Israel HOLD ON TO HIM.

Is there something beating you today, – something bigger than you that is distracting you, disturbing you, distressing you and maybe even destroying you? Is it, that you can see no way forward and no way backwards? Is there an impossibility looming on your horizon, the solution to which you just cannot find? Do you sometimes cry yourself you sleep because there is no-one out there who can help you, or can support you in your time of trouble and trial? Do you sometimes feel that you have been abandoned by God, forsaken by your friends and forgotten by your family? If so, then my message today is just for you.

Remember God has no problems, just plans.

Turn now if you will to the Book of the Prophet Daniel,

in the 3rd chapter at verses 23-25:- where we read …

(23) “And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

(24) Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spoke, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

(25) He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of

the fourth is like the Son of God”.

Most of us have been familiar with this story from our Childhood and our Sunday School days, and many will remember that the reason why Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace was because they refused to worship the King Nebuchadnezzar or his idols, choosing instead to worship Jehovah, to worship God.

No doubt, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would clearly have been frightened while facing the prospect of death in that hot furnace. Some suggest otherwise, but after all they were human, they were flesh and I recon they were apprehensive to say the least. Yet in spite of the prospect of being roasted alive they held on to their faith – and held on to their God, who in the end, did not let them down nor fail. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were clearly visible in those flames, but the only thing that was burning on them was the cords that tied them up. Not even their coats or tunics were scorched or singed, not even the smell of smoke remained when they were pulled out.

For you see, God came and stood with them in their time of trouble, and God comes to stand present with all of his children in their times of trouble, test and trial. You may not see him, and you may not even feel him present, but he is there nevertheless. Listen to what he promises to us – His redeemed ones in Isaiah 43 v1-3

“Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour”

On the other side of your MESS you will have a MESSAGE!


THE UNEXPECTED, THE UNIMAGINED, THE UNTHINKABLE & THE UNNATURAL (Super-natural) … BUT you must like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,

you must HOLD ON TO HIM.

We turn now for another example to the story of Joseph as we read from Genesis Chapter 39 at verse 1 … it says …

And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. (and down to verse 12)

And (Potiphars wife) caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out. And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord (her husband) came home. And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me: And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out. And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.

But the LORD was with Joseph, …”

Here we see Jacobs favourite son Joseph having been sold by his brothers into slavery in Egypt, and they having faked his death to conceal his whereabouts from his Father, Joseph ends up in a Prison cell for having done right instead of wrong. Have you ever found yourself hated for doing the right thing? Have you ever found yourself imprisoned in a set of circumstances through no fault of your own? This is exactly the trouble in which Joseph finds himself. But we read … “The Lord was with Joseph” and in that prison which you may well be experiencing today, God is with you too!

This was not the first time Joseph had found himself surrounded by walls with no way out. In the previous chapters in Chapter 37:22 we find Josephs brothers throwing him into a pit, or into a well, … yet in both the pit and in the prison, God was with him, it was a test – for God had a plan in it all. The pit and the prison were on Gods road to the palace, and Joseph had to pass through the first to get to the last. God has a “palace” experience for you too, but first of all there may well be a pit and a prison en-route, through which you may have to pass on your way. Yet, On the Other side of your TRIAL there will be your TRIUMPH!



For even the very best of Gods Sons and Daughters – His Children face testing times. Indeed one might say that our whole lives are a schoolroom of tests for the life to come.

I heard a while ago about a Pastor whose young son developed a very painful and irritable skin condition. The skin on his whole body became like crepe paper and was very sensitive to bright light and sunshine, so much so that the child had to remain virtually indoors and in dark or dimly lit surroundings. Obviously the Pastor prayed for him, and in faith laid hands on the boy, believing God for his healing. Miraculously the child did show some improvement and towards nightfall his skin was strengthening and losing its inflamed colour. His father, anxiously prayed for a complete recovery, as most of us would, and popped in and out of his room throughout the night to keep an eye on his boy, but by morning the terrible condition had returned. Tearfully and prayerfully the Pastor closed himself away in his study and spent most of the next day pleading with God for a lasting miracle. But what this Pastor had failed to understand was that Gods miracles are lasting, as long as we hold on to Him, and let go of the problem and pain. Most of us hold on to the problems and let go of God.

So he prayed for the boys healing again and again he laid hands on him by faith for a lasting miracle. As on the previous day, the boy improved towards nightfall, and his father put him to bed. During the night, the Pastor awoke, and remembering his boy, jumped out of bed to go and check on him, when suddenly the Lord asked him, “are you wanting to manage this crisis, or wanting me to manage it?”. Reluctantly the Pastor got back into his bed, and resolved to leave the problem in Gods hands entirely. He soon went back to sleep, but awoke a short time later with the impression that the boy had kicked off his blanket and was cold. Again, he got up and was heading for the

Childs bedroom, when under the conviction of the previous encounter with God, he remembered that the child was in Gods hands, so (this time) speaking to the angels the Pastor instructed them to fix the boys blankets if indeed they were off the bed; and he went back to sleep. In the morning the child ran to his Daddy with a completely restored and healed body, and has never had that skin problem again. When we hand our problems to God, we must learn to let the problems go,

and hold on to God.


THE UNEXPECTED, THE UNIMAGINED, THE UNTHINKABLE & THE UNNATURAL (Super-natural) … BUT you must like every other Believer who has walked this way before you,



I have come to the conclusion that the whole of our lives here are spent in the school-room of God. When I was at school I hated those days of tests, I was always ill prepared for the tests and even the planning and preparation for the tests stressed me out.

But tests are the only way that a school can measure the pupils progress. When God allows us tests in life, it is also to measure our progress, and to bring us from the place of being children, to being sons and daughters – mature enough to take on the Fathers Business. So remember that whatever you are going through, today, – it is only a test!

If you are being tested today that’s an indication that you have passed a previous test and are ready to step up to a higher level of faith. God does not test us at the same level over and over, and he will never test us beyond that which we are able.

The Devil knows that as long as he can get us to hold on to our problems, our pains, our pressures and our prisons, he can keep us locked up in those troubles for ever. We must learn to let them go, and leave them with God, but Don’t let Him Go.

Never let Him Go. No matter how hard it gets, even if you feel yourself in the flames, HOLD ON TO GOD, He will not fail.

God Bless you … Amen.