Monday after the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany of our Lord
Posted on February 4, 2019 byunder
Scripture: Genesis 33:1-20 (NKJV)
33:1 Now Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and there, Esau was coming, and with him were four hundred men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two maidservants. 2 And he put the maidservants and their children in front, Leah and her children behind, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3 Then he crossed over before them and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
4 But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. 5 And he lifted his eyes and saw the women and children, and said, “Who are these with you?”
So he said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.”
6 Then the maidservants came near, they and their children, and bowed down. 7 And Leah also came near with her children, and they bowed down. Afterward Joseph and Rachel came near, and they bowed down.
8 Then Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company which I met?”
And he said, “These are to find favor in the sight of my lord.”
9 But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.”
10 And Jacob said, “No, please, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present from my hand, inasmuch as I have seen your face as though I had seen the face of God, and you were pleased with me. 11 Please, take my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” So he urged him, and he took it.
12 Then Esau said, “Let us take our journey; let us go, and I will go before you.”
13 But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are weak, and the flocks and herds which are nursing are with me. And if the men should drive them hard one day, all the flock will die. 14 Please let my lord go on ahead before his servant. I will lead on slowly at a pace which the livestock that go before me, and the children, are able to endure, until I come to my lord in Seir.”
15 And Esau said, “Now let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.”
But he said, “What need is there? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.”
16 So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir. 17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, built himself a house, and made booths for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.
18 Then Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan Aram; and he pitched his tent before the city. 19 And he bought the parcel of land, where he had pitched his tent, from the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. 20 Then he erected an altar there and called it El Elohe Israel.
In the General Prayer of the Divine Service we pray, “May it please Thee also to turn the hearts of our enemies and adversaries that they may cease their enmity and be inclined to walk with us in meekness and in peace.” We can try to wrestle with God, but as He showed with Jacob, He is always in control of the match. We can also try to wrestle with the devil and others that want to overcome us with wickedness, but in the end only the Lord can bring victory to the conflict. Jacob was afraid that Esau was coming to destroy him out of hatred over past events. But it was not force or wrestling that brought the brothers a peaceful meeting, it was God’s grace.
Jacob prayed that the Lord would deliver him from the hand of Esau, and he tried to deal shrewdly with the situation, but it was God’s grace that preserved Jacob and his family. In spite of both Jacob’s and Esau’s sins, things were made to work together for the sake of God’s bigger picture of establishing the promised Savior of Israel.
We are sometimes hated for our sins, and other times we are hated for our faithfulness. Like Jacob, we are called to pray and act with wisdom and love. But our wrestling or efforts to manipulate the situation do not bring peace or victory; only the truth of Jesus Christ our Lord can do that.
We pray: Almighty God, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright, grant to us such strength and protection as may support us in all dangers and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.