Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Thursday - Genesis 32 - Survival

Verses 1 and 2 might appear to be disjointed from the rest of the chapter, but they're not. Jacob was about to have a couple of grand encounters (with God and then with Esau, his estranged twin brother). It was fitting that, before those two meetings, he would first meet a host of angels... the same angels (from his dream at Bethel two decades earlier) that he had seen climbing up and down a ladder to heaven. An appearance of the ministers of God surely must have had a sobering effect on Jacob... a timely emotional upshot.
Jacob was nervous. He didn't know what would happen when he met Esau again. So, he began to prepare.
He sent messengers ahead to say that he was coming and to request a gracious reception from Esau... and perhaps to return word to him again concerning Esau's station and disposition. The messengers reported that Esau was coming with 400 men. That must have been rather disconcerting.  So, he split his caravan into two groups in order to preserve at least some of his family in case the reception proved to be violent. Jacob was scared, so he prayed.
But, he wasn't done preparing. Jacob sent a second group of emissaries to Esau, this time with a gift of 550 choice farm animals to give him. And, he had them strung out so that Esau would encounter one gift after another on the way to their rendezvous. Obviously, he was hoping to appease his brother with gifts (Genesis 32:20).

So while everyone and everything that Jacob was responsible for was lined up between him and his brother, Jacob spent the night wrestling with "a man." This was no ordinary man. Like the voice in the garden with Adam, like Enoch's hiking partner, like Noah's project manager, like Abraham’s visitors, like Isaac's apparition... Jacob was blessed with a theophany. He wrestled with God (Genesis 32:30). During the match he demanded a blessing from God... and, he got a new name, a permanently sore hip and a blessing (Genesis 32:28).

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