It has been about 20 years since Jacob has seen his brother Esau, the last time they were together we read in Genesis 27:14
“Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”
Esau has an army of 400 men with him. Jacob, scared to death, sends ahead a fortune in gifts to pacify Esau. Take note that Jacob says he is coming behind. If the camp is attached, Jacob has no intention of going! In 32:21 it states
So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp.
Jacob wrestles with God
That night Jacob wrestles with God who has taken on flesh. Until this point Jacob has referred to God as “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac…But does not refer to him as HIS God. Part of our walk with the Lord is confession. We must confess we are a sinner, we require a blessing: a promise of a covenant (Jesus on the Cross) to seal that God is MY GOD, not just your God. In Genesis 32:26-27 Jacob confesses who he is in God’s eyes
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
I am Jacob! “I am a deceiver, a heel grabber, a sinner”. Jacob becomes a new creation with a destiny! Just like Abraham and Sarah, he is given a new name: Israel “Struggles with God”.
25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.
Not only will his walk never be the same (pun intended), but God will make it so that Jacob cannot flee or run from Him anymore (like he always has). But like all of us at the beginning of our walk, we are still infants in Christ and our “trust” has not developed yet. (I am still working on it 😞). We will see this “lack of trust” as Jacob (Israel) goes to meet Esau…
He still has a fear of Esau, and lines up his family in the least loved to most loved just in case they are attacked (chapter 33):
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. He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.
But wait….did you see it!! God has changed him: “He himself went ahead and bowed down to the ground…” He received new courage. He went from fear “staying behind” to courage “went on ahead”. Insert smiley face with heart eyes! Time has healed all wounds for Esau.
I think it is fair to say that very few people have read the parts of the Bible “in-between” the stories that pastors talk about at church. So when I say:
- “you know the part where Noah gets drunk and naked…” or
- “Lot’s daughters have sex with their dad to get pregnant” or
- “Rachel says she has her period so her dad doesn’t find the hidden idols she is sitting on”
people think I am kidding! Who needs Netflix when you have the Bible! Chapter 33 is one of those stories people think I am kidding when I say:
- “One of Jacob’s daughters gets raped and 2 brothers concoct a plan to have them circumcised and on the third day when the pain in their…is at it’s worst they can pounce on them and kill them!!”.
You can’t make this stuff up!!
Jacob’s sons (but not Jacob himself) are furious when their sister Dinah is violated by a prince in Shechem. This horrible man now wants her to be his. Jacob does nothing!.
Look at who Dinah’s biological brothers are: Simeon and Levi (take notes on your Genealogy). They are ringleaders on a vengeful attack. They lie and say: “Sure you can have her and we can ignore all the rules about intermarrying if you circumcise ALL your men. The men say “Let’s snip! It’s a “win-win” situation! Our ruler gets the girl and we will share in their livestock and wealth” (The Shechamites thought they would gain wealth, and the Hebrews through they would gain wealth. Lots of deception. Hmmm, I wonder of the boys learned this from Jacob?).
Well, the story turns out in a “lose-lose” situation. Just when the pain was at its highest from the circumcision, Simeon and Levi lead an attack on them. They kill ALL the men! THEN plunder the land! What was Jacob’s reaction? read the end of Chapter 34. SMH!!
Taking notes will help when we get to Chapter 49 and land is distributed to the 12 tribes or why the Covenant gets passed to Judah.
(Handwrite it or edit your PDF….it’s all the same.)😁