And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked,
and behold, Esau was coming,
and four hundred men with him.
The moment of truth was here for Jacob. Would Esau take his revenge and secure his birthright? Or would God be true to his promise?
First, Jacob showed humility, repentance, to Esau. He bowed himself to the ground seven times, each time getting nearer, and nearer, to his brother.
And then the surprise – Esau “ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.”
Continuing in humility, and probably fear and unbelief, Jacob introduced his family to Esau, calling himself Esau’s servant. He insisted Esau keep the gifts he sent before him, and Esau responded by wanting to escort Jacob and his caravan back to the homeland (Seir).
But fear still must have had hold on Jacob. He refused the escort, making excuses about the strength of his children and flocks. And after Esau left, Jacob didn’t go to his homeland where Esau was, but settled in a place nearby (Shechem), keeping a safe distance just in case Esau changed his mind. The years of distrust ran deep.
Jacob came close to facing his fears, but he couldn’t let go. Wrestling with God miraculously put him face-to-face with his brother, seeing God’s deliverance in the moment. But Jacob must have had doubts that God’s grace would continue. He believed God in the moment, but not for the moments ahead.
How often do I trust God, only to see his miracles? I’m grateful, but then seconds later, I’m taking control again, doing what “makes sense” to me, doing what is comfortable for me. I forget how big God is, and what he wants to do in my life.
Sometimes I am like Jacob, stopping short of all God wants to bless me with…