Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Genesis 33 "Jacob and Esau Reunion"

Genesis 33:1 "And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked and behold Esau came and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah and unto Rachel and unto the two handmaids."

Picture the scene. Jacob has sent everyone across the brook and remained alone. Then he prayed, perhaps all night. Although Jacob has been afraid, he appears to be calm in this scene. He lines up his wives and children then walks toward Esau bowing seven times as he approaches. Esau on the other hand RAN to meet Jacob. v4 "And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him and they wept." We do not know Esau's story while Jacob was gone. No doubt there had been much talk of Jacob and rumors of his life in Laban's house. It seems the Lord has also worked in Esau's life as well for he is now anxious to see his brother and there is no hint of hate in him. The next thing Esau does is admire Jacob's family. v5 "And he lifted up his eyes and saw the women and the children and said, Who are these with thee?" To which Jacob replied "The children which God hath graciously given thy servant." There is that word grace again. Jacob acknowledges that he received the children through the unmerited favor of God. Then one by one the wives and children pass before Esau.

Next Esau ask about the gifts sent by Jacob. v8 "What meanest thou by all this drove which I met?" Jacob then explains that he was trying to win favor with Esau. Esau replies that it is unnecessary and that he has enough. It's like we would say 'you keep your stuff, I have plenty already. Jacob insist that Esau take them because that he too is blessed. v11 "Take I pray thee my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him and he took it."

I noticed two things in particular with these two men. They both had learned about the grace of God and they both had enough.

Verse 12 through 14 is a touching passage for it shows the concern the men had for their children. Esau was ready to take off home with Jacob following but Jacob pointed out that the children and the flock could not keep up with a fast pace without them being harmed so they both agreed that Esau would go on ahead and Jacob would follow at a slower pace the children could handle.

Verse 16 through 20 has Esau returned to Seir and Jacob settling in the area of Shechem. There Jacob purchased a spot of land for an hundred pieces of money and erected an altar.

Chapter 33 is one of the most tender chapters we have run across. It shows the result of two men who have learned to trust in the grace of God and to forgive each other. Oh that we could live by that chapter in these days. We would do well to remember that by the clock of eternity, we not not far removed from the sons of Noah.

Proverbs 25:4 "Take away the dross from the silver and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer."

Least we forget let us try to remember some of the branches of peoples:

Abraham left Haran to sojourn in Canaan and had a son named Issac who had two sons named Jacob and Esau.
Laban is Abraham's nephew back in Syria and fathered Leah and Rachel. He is also the brother of Rebekah who was Issac's wife. Laban stayed in Haran which was a city named after Abraham's brother who died before Terah his father.
Lot, the son of Haran, fathered the Moabites and Ammonites by his daughters after Sodom and Gomarrah were destroyed by God for their wickedness.
Ishmael is the son of Abraham and Hagar, an Egyptian, the handmaid of Sarah. He became an archer and a man of the wilderness.
Chaldees are those back in Ur where Abraham came from when he was called Abram.
Canaanites are the people who lived in Canaan when Abraham arrived. Canaan was the fourth son of Ham, one of Noah's son's. For a reminder of the dispersion after the flood read Chapter 10 of Genesis.
Egypt is the 'bread basket' of the area during this time. It was common for people to go there during times of famine or dry spells. Thanks to the Nile River.

So in the midst of all these peoples, Jacob is named Israel and we are another step closer to the forming of a nation. It is a world of false gods as evidenced by Rachel's theft of Laban's gods which he chased seven days to get back. Digs in Ur show they had a lot of statues to various gods and one to the unknown god. We know about Egypt and their Pharaoh worship during this time and all the statues we have seen from the tombs. But like a lady carrying a child the promise of God is carried in the budding nation of Israel and protected as a mother would protect a child. Israel (Jacob) has received the blessing and the promise but round about is Ishmael who attended his father's funeral and so is still around. Esau who once hated his brother has just welcomed him home. Israel has been blessed and is a strong force but they are also surrounded by descendants of the same blood and I believe at this point stand on the boundries as protectors.

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