Genesis 32 (ESV)
Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 And when Jacob saw them he said, “This is God’s camp!” So he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, 4 instructing them, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob, ‘I have sojourned with Laban and stayed until now. 5 I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants. I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may find favor in your sight.’”
6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” 7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, 8 thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left will escape.”
9 And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. 11 Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. 12 But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude’” . . . Continue Reading
Walking with a Limp
Jacob had reason to be fearful of returning to the land of Canaan (Genesis 31:18) even though the Lord said he would be with him (Genesis 31:3). Jacob has just been chased down and confronted by Laban, had great wealth and was going back to where his brother Esau would be.
It’s interesting that Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to Esau his brother while he stayed back. He had good reason. Back in Genesis 27:36, Esau said, “For he [Jacob] has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” In Genesis 27:41 we read, “Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, ‘The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.'” Jacob knew how his brother felt because Rebekah, his mother, told him and was the one who instructed him to leave and go to her brother Laban.
When Jacob’s messengers returned to Jacob and told him that Esau was coming to meet him (with four hundred men), he was greatly afraid and distressed. In fear of being attacked, he splits everyone up into two camps hoping that one of the camps would survive (Genesis 32:7-8).
Then in Genesis 32:10, Jacob turns to God in humility and says, “I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant” and also in faith, “Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children” (Genesis 32:11).
Not only does Jacob see himself as unworthy of God’s love and faithfulness, he also knows God has the power to deliver him. He even “reminds God” that He said, “I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude” (Genesis 32:12).
The chapter continues with Jacob making “presents” for Esau, planning how to approach him, instructing his group what to say when they see him, hoping the gifts appease him and save their lives, sending them off to meet Easu and now Jacob, alone, wrestles with God and doesn’t let go until God blesses him.
With a new name (Israel) and a new limp, Jacob passes Penuel to meet Esau.
Thank you for reading my daily online journal today. Far from commentaries these are just my initial thoughts after reflecting on what I’ve read from a chapter in God’s Word each morning. This not only helps me apply what I’ve read because I’m reflecting and sharing instead of only reading but it also allows me to encourage others to prayerfully consider doing the same.
In His Care,