“Jacob went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.” Genesis 33:3-4 (NIV)
AFTER stealing his brother Esau’s blessing, Jacob had to flee because Esau had vowed to kill him! Jacob avoided Esau for fourteen years before returning to his homeland. He brought with him two wives, eleven children, and hundreds of servants and cattle. He went out to confront an oncoming band that included his dreaded brother and four hundred men. Jacob sent gifts in advance to pacify Esau. When the brothers finally met, Esau surprised Jacob by gladly embracing him.
Have you ever been like Jacob? When have you made your own anxious and elaborate peace offerings when approaching the Lord after a failure—promising to do better, to pray more, to work harder as if these were a prerequisite to forgiveness? I am often surprised to discover that all my attempts to appease God were unnecessary; the punishment I feared had already been inflicted on Jesus Christ. The only offering I can bring is humility and faith in the mercy of God.
“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?” Romans 8:38-39 (The Message)
PRAYER: Lord, too often I’m anxious. Too often I lack faith in your promises. Too often I fear punishment and I make every effort to appease you. Through this study of Jacob and the example of how you worked in and through his life, let me be surprised to discover that you are ready to embrace and welcome me into your story. Amen.