Friday, March 11, 2011

Genesis 32:29 NASB

"And He blessed him there."

After prospering under his time with his uncle, Laban, Jacob begins a new venture.  God has blessed him with family and means, and now, with the leading and promise of the LORD who said (Genesis 31:3),  "Return to the land of your fathers...and I will be with you," Jacob gathers his family, packs up and heads back to Canaan.  But there's a huge problem.  Jacob knows he's heading back toward his brother Esau and, the last he remembered, Esau wanted to kill him for what Jacob had done to him.  There's nothing more volatile than the bitterness of a brother offended.  The possibility of this encounter scared Jacob to death. And sure enough, as soon as Esau learned that Jacob was coming back, he came his way with 400 men.  "Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed..." (Genesis 32:7).  Seeking to somehow appease Esau, Jacob sends droves of livestock on ahead as gifts, hoping that when they finally met, Esau would accept him.  Sending his family on ahead of him as well, the writer says, "Then Jacob was left alone..." (32:24).  This is usually where God has to get us when He wants to do a great work in us.  And that night, God worked Jacob over, but only to bless him:  "And He blessed him there," (32:29).  So significant was this moment that God changed Jacob's name to Israel and Jacob called the place Peniel (The face of God), "for he said, 'I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved," (32:30).  God doesn't "work us over" to harm us, but rather, if we'll let Him, to bless us--to get us to that place where we surrender all to Him, with deep, deep submission that knows we have been spared from the follies of self-rule.  We no longer run the show, but now God holds the reigns of our heart. Jacob had come face to face with himself, face to face with His God, and now he must come face to face with his brother.  This is sometimes the most difficult of all God wants to do in us, but we cannot escape our responsibility to our brother no matter how difficult.  No one can promise peace in these encounters, but it is important to pursue peace, whether we win it or not.  Jacob was fortunate, and how we wish these moments would always turn out like it did between Jacob and Esau (33:4), where "Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept," but we can know that we did the right thing and keep peace with God.  Is there an Esau in your life that you need to go to?  First, make sure you have come face to face with yourself and with your God.  Begin with what is in you, and then you'll be better prepared to deal with what is in them.  Remember, in all that is required of us, God said, "I will be with you."  And that's a promise!  Step out on it with confidence.

No comments:

Post a Comment