December 1, 2023

Genesis 32 & 33 (HCSB)
Preparing to Meet Esau

32 Jacob went on his way, and God’s angels met him. 2 When he saw them, Jacob said, “This is God’s camp.” So he called that place Mahanaim. 3 Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 He commanded them, “You are to say to my lord Esau, ‘This is what your servant Jacob says. I have been staying with Laban and have been delayed until now. 5 I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male and female slaves. I have sent this message to inform my lord, in order to seek your favor.’”  6 When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau; he is coming to meet you—and he has 400 men with him.” 7 Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; he divided the people with him into two camps, along with the flocks, cattle, and camels. 8 He thought, “If Esau comes to one camp and attacks it, the remaining one can escape.” 9 Then Jacob said, “God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, ‘Go back to your land and to your family, and I will cause you to prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness You have shown Your servant. Indeed, I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two camps. 11 Please rescue me from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid of him; otherwise, he may come and attack me, the mothers, and their children. 12 You have said, ‘I will cause you to prosper, and I will make your offspring like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’” 13 He spent the night there and took part of what he had brought with him as a gift for his brother Esau: 14 200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 ewes, 20 rams, 15 30 milk camels with their young, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys, and 10 male donkeys. 16 He entrusted them to his slaves as separate herds and said to them, “Go on ahead of me, and leave some distance between the herds.” 17 And he told the first one: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who do you belong to? Where are you going? And whose animals are these ahead of you?’ 18 then tell him, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau. And look, he is behind us.’” 19 He also told the second one, the third, and everyone who was walking behind the animals, “Say the same thing to Esau when you find him. 20 You are also to say, ‘Look, your servant Jacob is right behind us.’” For he thought, “I want to appease Esau with the gift that is going ahead of me. After that, I can face him, and perhaps he will forgive me.” 21 So the gift was sent on ahead of him while he remained in the camp that night. 22 During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female slaves, and his 11 sons, and crossed the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, along with all his possessions.
Jacob Wrestles with God
24 Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the man saw that He could not defeat him, He struck Jacob’s hip socket as they wrestled and dislocated his hip.  26 Then He said to Jacob, “Let Me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me.” 27 “What is your name?” the man asked. “Jacob,” he replied. 28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” He said. “It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked Him, “Please tell me Your name.” But He answered, “Why do you ask My name?” And He blessed him there. 30 Jacob then named the place Peniel, “For I have seen God face to face,” he said, “and I have been delivered.” 31 The sun shone on him as he passed by Penuel—limping because of his hip. 32 That is why, to this day, the Israelites don’t eat the thigh muscle that is at the hip socket: because He struck Jacob’s hip socket at the thigh muscle.
Jacob Meets Esau
33 Now Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming toward him with 400 men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two female slaves. 2 He put the female slaves and their children first, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3 He himself went on ahead and bowed to the ground seven times until he approached his brother. 4 But Esau ran to meet him, hugged him, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. Then they wept. 5 When Esau looked up and saw the women and children, he asked, “Who are these with you?” He answered, “The children God has graciously given your servant.” 6 Then the female slaves and their children approached him and bowed down. 7 Leah and her children also approached and bowed down, and then Joseph and Rachel approached and bowed down. 8 So Esau said, “What do you mean by this whole procession I met?” “To find favor with you, my lord,” he answered. 9 “I have enough, my brother,” Esau replied. “Keep what you have.” 10 But Jacob said, “No, please! If I have found favor with you, take this gift from my hand. For indeed, I have seen your face, and it is like seeing God’s face, since you have accepted me. 11 Please take my present that was brought to you, because God has been gracious to me and I have everything I need.” So Jacob urged him until he accepted.12 Then Esau said, “Let’s move on, and I’ll go ahead of you.”

Becky Jenkins
Our scripture today is about two brothers. The first one owed something to the other, and the second one gave the first one a gift. The story is about Jacob and Esau. As you know, they were twin brothers, the sons of Isaac and Rebekah. These brothers were very different from one another, and as they were growing up, Jacob did some very mean things to Esau. Jacob had to run far away from home and go live with his uncle so that Esau wouldn’t kill him. And Jacob stayed with his uncle for over 20 years. Then, one day, God told him to go back home. So, Jacob took his family and started going back to his family’s home. But, then, Esau heard that Jacob was coming back and he went to meet him with 400 men who all had swords! Jacob was very afraid because he remembered all the bad things he did to Esau, and that Esau wanted to kill him. What do you think Jacob should do? Should he run again? The best thing for Jacob to do is exactly what he did. He apologized to his brother. He sent him sheep and goats and camels and donkeys and cows to say he was sorry for all the wrong things he did. You see, he owed it to Esau to say that he was sorry. Esau saw that his brother was sorry, and then gave him a gift. “But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.” Instead of hurting his brother, Esau hugged him and forgave him. He gave Jacob the gift of his forgiveness. He didn’t have to forgive Jacob. He did it because he wanted to. Who do you owe the gift of forgiveness to?  Can you sincerely give it the way Esau did?  The way God does?


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