Thursday 23 April
'In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people into two groups and the flocks and herds and camels as well,' Genesis 32:7. Jacob expected the worst when he heard that his brother Esau was coming to meet him with four hundred men. One can hardly blame him. He had treated his brother Esau in the most underhand way and made his escape knowing that his brother hated him and wanted him dead because of what he had done, (27:41).
Thinking himself in danger and that after twenty years his brother still held a grudge, Jacob had a job balancing the promises that God had made with what he was now facing. Consequently, he planned an extraordinary gesture of generosity towards his brother in an attempt to appease him or pacify him. How often have we found ourselves in a similar situation? We know what God has promised us and yet, when threatened and there seems no escape from the looming danger, we put together plans of our own. Oh that we would have faith in a God who can do the impossible, (Luke 1: 37, Matthew 19:26), faith in a God who keeps his promises, faith that isn't controlled by our senses, (2 Kings 6:15-17).
In his absence, God had done something in the heart of Esau. He didn't want his brother Jacob's gifts. Much to Jacob's surprise, he 'ran to meet Jacob and embraced him.' Though Jacob had robbed him of his inheritance, Esau, 'threw his arms around his neck and kissed him.'(33:4). One is reminded of the wonderful father who ran to greet and embrace his returning wayward son who similarly had caused him such grief and anguish, (Luke 15:19). God is the suffering victim of our sin, but in Jesus we see him running to receive and embrace us. Praise God for his abounding love towards such wicked sinners as we!
God bless you all.