Home at Last
Genesis 32 and 33; Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 195-198
We serve God when we share His blessings with others.
“God has been gracious to me and I have all I need” (Genesis 33:11).
Henrique offered Andy half of his sandwich. Earlier that morning, Andy had laughed at the way Henrique had pronounced a certain word. Henrique’s feelings had been hurt, but he wanted to show Andy that he forgave him and still wanted them to be friends. Sharing is a way to show someone how we feel about them. In the story today, Jacob shared with Esau.
Jacob was returning to his homeland. God had told him to. But he was a little nervous. Jacob remembered how he had tricked Esau into selling him his birthright. He remembered how he had tricked their father into giving him the special blessing that should have been Esau’s. Would Esau still be angry with him?
Jacob turned to God for help. And God sent angels to be with him.
Jacob sent messengers to greet Esau. “This is what you are to say to my master Esau,” he directed. “Your servant Jacob says . . .” and then he told them the rest of the message. He also told them that they were to call Esau “my lord Esau.” This would tell Esau that Jacob did not claim any inheritance.
But the messengers returned with frightening news. Esau was approaching with 400 men! Would Esau attack? Jacob wondered. Again, Jacob turned to God. Then Jacob sent Esau a message and many animals as gifts. He directed his messenger to say, ”Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.”
That night Jacob sent his family and all his possessions across a stream called Jabbok. But he stayed behind by himself, and there he met God. All night he wrestled with an angel. Then he begged for a blessing and received it.
The next day Jacob saw Esau and his 400 men coming! Quickly Jacob divided his family. He put the children with their mothers. Then he went to the front of the group. While still a long way from Esau, Jacob bowed low to the ground. Then he walked on and bowed again. Jacob did this seven times, until they were very close.
But when Esau saw Jacob, he ran to him. He threw his arms around him! And they both began to cry! Jacob must have felt such relief!
After a little while Esau asked, “Who are all of these people with you?”
“This is the family God has given me!” Jacob told him.
After the introductions, Esau asked, “What about all that you sent before you? What does that mean?”
Jacob replied, “These are my presents to you, my brother. I want you to know that I need your mercy and forgiveness.”
“I already have plenty, Jacob. Keep what is yours,” Esau responded graciously.
But Jacob said, “No, please! Accept these gifts! It will show me that you have truly forgiven me! God has been good to me and I have all I need!” Esau finally accepted the gifts. Then he said, “Let’s be on our way. I’ll travel with you!”
“Thank you, Esau!” Jacob replied gratefully. “But we really need to travel much slower than you do. We have so many children and young animals.”
“Then let me leave some of my men with you,” Esau responded.
“No, thank you,” said Jacob. “I only want to please you, my master.” Esau left then and went on ahead. Jacob, with his large family and flocks, followed slowly. Finally they reached Shechem in the land of Canaan, Jacob’s homeland. There Jacob purchased land. After 20 years he would finally have a home, a place for his family and his flocks.
Even though he was anxious to reach Canaan, Jacob put his family’s needs first. When we truly serve others, we will be considerate of their needs too.