Genesis 32 sure was a powerful chapter. Imagine knowing that the person you wronged when you were younger is now coming towards you to supposedly seek revenge not by himself but with 400 others! You already know that all this was your fault and now you’re a wanted man so Jacob needed time alone with God. He decides to go alone on a walk…all of a sudden in the darkness of the night, as he’s praying, a strong hand touches his shoulder and boom! That guilty conscience reacts and he begins a struggle with his assailant…you know the rest. When you encounter Jesus you no longer remain the same…but is your character changed instantaneously? Read on…
Then Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with his 400 men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and his two servant wives. 2 He put the servant wives and their children at the front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3 Then Jacob went on ahead. As he approached his brother, he bowed to the ground seven times before him. 4 Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept.
5 Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, “Who are these people with you?”
“These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,” Jacob replied. 6 Then the servant wives came forward with their children and bowed before him. 7 Next came Leah with her children, and they bowed before him. Finally, Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed before him.
8 “And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?” Esau asked.
Jacob replied, “They are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship.”
9 “My brother, I have plenty,” Esau answered. “Keep what you have for yourself.”
10 But Jacob insisted, “No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God! 11 Please take this gift I have brought you, for God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau finally accepted the gift.
12 “Well,” Esau said, “let’s be going. I will lead the way.”
13 But Jacob replied, “You can see, my lord, that some of the children are very young, and the flocks and herds have their young, too. If they are driven too hard, even for one day, all the animals could die. 14 Please, my lord, go ahead of your servant. We will follow slowly, at a pace that is comfortable for the livestock and the children. I will meet you at Seir.”
15 “All right,” Esau said, “but at least let me assign some of my men to guide and protect you.”
Jacob responded, “That’s not necessary. It’s enough that you’ve received me warmly, my lord!”
16 So Esau turned around and started back to Seir that same day. 17 Jacob, on the other hand, traveled on to Succoth. There he built himself a house and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place was named Succoth (which means “shelters”).
18 Later, having traveled all the way from Paddan-aram, Jacob arrived safely at the town of Shechem, in the land of Canaan. There he set up camp outside the town. 19 Jacob bought the plot of land where he camped from the family of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for 100 pieces of silver.[a] 20 And there he built an altar and named it El-Elohe-Israel.[b]
Imagine what that encounter must have been like. Jacob is a crippled man. He can only move very slowly and painfully. Esau, with his 400 brave soldiers, sees him afar and immediately runs to his long-lost, wandering, brother. Even Esau’s soldiers must have been touched at the scene, although big, tough, strong men “don’t cry” or so they say. Jacob had learned an important lesson. He saw how insecure all trust in human power was, that his only help must come from The One whom he had sinned against. Although for the rest of his life Jacob would have the reminder that he had ‘experienced’ Jesus ,and his forgiving power which leads to unshakable confidence upon the Rock, he still had old tendencies. Did you notice that he promised to meet up with Esau in Seir and instead he goes the opposite way? Yeah, some of our old tendencies die hard. So, we learn this key element of Christianity: we do not attempt to heal ourselves and then go to the hospital. We must first go to the hospital (Jesus) to find healing and restoration (sanctification). God accepts us the way we are, but he loves us too much to leave us just as we are. We need to be changed.
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Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.