Hope you are all well.
Our Bible reading today is Genesis Chapter 33.
This is what we’ve been working up to. Jacob meets his brother Esau again after 20 years, this is an ancient version of Long Lost Families. If it were a TV mini-series, there would be a lot of emotional music with soaring violins!
Jacob is expecting the worst. He himself leads his entourage from the front, but he places his favourite wife and child, Rachel and Joseph, at the back for maximum protection (vs.2-3).
However, Esau embraces him and kisses him (v.4), the grudge has gone. Esau cannot quite believe how big Jacob’s family is (v.5 – remember he had left Canaan with absolutely nothing), and he is a bit confused about all the gifts Jacob had sent on ahead (v.8 – as per previous chapter). He says he has more than enough already, but because Jacob insists, Esau accepts (v.11).
Esau is expecting Jacob to come back with him to Seir in the far south, but Jacob is never planning to go back that far, Canaan is where he is meant to be. But there is still that deceiving attitude in Jacob that makes it difficult for him to be upfront and honest, and he makes his excuses that are not completely transparent (vs.12-17). We are all a work in progress!
The whole story reminds us that forgiveness and reconciliation with other human beings, and even more with God Himself, is a wonderful thing, a real blessing. We had part of Psalm 32 read in our Sunday service recently which expresses such feelings. We often come expecting the worst, and we are surprised and blessed by mercy and grace. As we read about the embrace between the brothers here, I can’t help be reminded of the embrace between the Father and the son in Jesus’ story of the Prodigal/Lost Son in Luke Chapter 15, which is a picture of all of us who have wandered away but are welcomed home by the Lord.
(And a little PS for those who have been reading John’s Gospel recently, the land bought by Jacob in verse 19 is also probably where he built a well, where Jesus met the Samaritan woman in John Chapter 4.)
In our church address list we pray today for,
– Derek & Joanna