Jacob Meets Esau
Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. 2 He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. 3 He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.
4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. 5 Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. “Who are these with you?” he asked.
Jacob answered, “They are the children God has graciously given your servant.”
6 Then the female servants and their children approached and bowed down.7 Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down. Last of all came Joseph and Rachel, and they too bowed down.
8 Esau asked, “What’s the meaning of all these flocks and herds I met?”
“To find favor in your eyes, my lord,” he said.
9 But Esau said, “I already have plenty, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself.”
10 “No, please!” said Jacob. “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably. 11 Please accept the present that was brought to you, for God has been gracious to me and I have all I need.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau accepted it.
12 Then Esau said, “Let us be on our way; I’ll accompany you.”
13 But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are tender and that I must care for the ewes and cows that are nursing their young. If they are driven hard just one day, all the animals will die. 14 So let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I move along slowly at the pace of the flocks and herds before me and the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.”
15 Esau said, “Then let me leave some of my men with you.”
“But why do that?” Jacob asked. “Just let me find favor in the eyes of my lord.”
16 So that day Esau started on his way back to Seir. 17 Jacob, however, went to Sukkoth, where he built a place for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is called Sukkoth.[a]
18 After Jacob came from Paddan Aram,[b] he arrived safely at the city of Shechem in Canaan and camped within sight of the city. 19 For a hundred pieces of silver,[c] he bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem,the plot of ground where he pitched his tent. 20 There he set up an altar and called it El Elohe Israel.[d]
Jacob was worried about seeing Esau. It’s been 20 years since he stole that birthright from him and he doesn’t know if Esau is still mad about that. But remember Esau Did not care about the spiritual end of the birthright he was worried about the things he was going to get. And in that 20 years he still got all the ‘things’ and wealth that he wanted. Last time they saw each other Esau was threatening to kill him. Now he’s approaching with 400 men. Nicole said this am, “Jacob thought for sure he’d be going to battle but instead it turns out to be a welcoming party.” Amen! It certainly was a changed life story for Esau.
God had been working in the hearts of both men over the years. The past is the past. Esau was confused and didn’t understand why Jacob wanted to give him all these herds of animals and gifts. Jacob wanted to make amends and this is how he was saying I’m sorry. Esau finally accepts the gifts and in Jacobs eyes that meant he was forgiven.
Jacob was glad to be home but still did not want to be ‘that close’ to his brother so we see at the end of the story they go their separate ways and Jacob settles just outside the city. He was a little fearful and cautious, but by acting in this way he was showing that he was not acting like the new ‘Israel’ he was acting like the old Jacob. It’s hard to break old habits. When we become a new person in Christ it isn’t some magical transformation that makes your life instantly perfect. You have to be willing to let God show you what you need to change and work on and then get to work. Yes, it’s hard. You have to be willing to do what God wants you to do and follow through. Sometimes when you’re breaking old habits it’s a moment by moment thing. Each time that ugly demon rears its head and comes to drag you back to what you used to be, we have to stand up to it. Trusting God COMPLETELY. Pray through it. Walk away from it and then give God all the glory as He gives you the courage and strength you need to get through that moment.
Reunited emotions are sweet but there is always going to be a tiny little bit of doubt in the back of your mind. Have they really changed? Is the situation the same or different? Have they grown or are they really still the same person? You always proceed with caution. Remember the family history is one of deceit and manipulation. Mike D. said this morning, “ today too many people are two-faced so you’re not sure what to expect and remain cautious and are happy for the change when you see it.” The face we want to be and the face we used to be. When we’re stuck in the middle we are not completely trusting God. We have to let him take control. Again it’s hard work and you have to want to change.
so… Life… which game face are you going forward with today?