Day 23

Jacob Prepares to Meet Esau

from the reading plan

Genesis 31:1-55, Genesis 32:1-32, Genesis 33:1-20, Hosea 12:3-4

As we saw in our story yesterday, Jacob has been wrapped up in some shady dealings. As he pursued Rachel as his wife, her father Laban tricked him by sending Leah to him instead. This instigated a decades-long game of chess, in which Laban continually took advantage of Jacob and used his own daughters as pawns.

It is worth noting that we are not being taught that having two wives is a commendable practice. Rather, we are given a glimpse of a real story from long ago that highlights the rampant wickedness that had come into the world back in Genesis 3. God never approves of the events in the story; rather, He shows mercy to a group of fallen people even in the midst of brokenness. In light of that, we should acknowledge with Jacob that God showed His boundless grace by protecting Jacob and providing for the women involved from the extent of Laban’s evil ways.

After twenty years of service to Laban, Jacob is rightly concerned about cutting bait. He is clear that he wants to make a deal with Laban and move on with his life. However, when he leaves, he is faced with another complication: his brother Esau, who he tricked a few chapters before (Genesis 25), has the power and resources to destroy him and his family. Jaccob is afraid, so he cries out to God for help, acknowledging God’s goodness to him, and begging for that protection to continue. Much to Jacob’s surprise, God graces him with a brother who is warm and compassionate toward him. Once again, he takes note of how God has dealt with him, and he thanks Him.

Jacob’s story to this point is a repeated reminder of God’s mercy and grace. After sin entered the world in Genesis 3, God could have sent down bolts of lightning and destroyed everything. He could’ve flooded the earth and everyone on it, rather than sparing Noah and his family. And yet over and over again, He deals with His people kindly, meeting them where they are and dragging them out of the mire.

Our Father in heaven always welcomes His prodigal children home and even leaves the porch to run out and meet them (Luke 15:11–32). Through Jesus, we see mercy and grace on ultimate display. In the sending of the Holy Spirit, we are adopted as children and Jesus is warm and compassionate toward us. Like Jacob, may we respond by saying, “I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant” (Genesis 32:10).

Written by Brandon Smith

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