What Will It Cost?
Loving Father, open my heart to receive from You today.
Read Genesis 32:1–21
[a]Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of Godmet him. 2 When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is the camp of God!” So he named that place Mahanaim.[b]
3 Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esauin the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 He instructed them: “This is what you are to say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. 5 I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favor in your eyes.’”
6 When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”
7 In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups,[c] and the flocks and herds and camels as well. 8 He thought, “If Esau comes and attacks one group,[d] the group[e] that is left may escape.”
9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”
13 He spent the night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 He put them in the care of his servants, each herd by itself, and said to his servants, “Go ahead of me, and keep some space between the herds.”
17 He instructed the one in the lead: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who do you belong to, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?’18 then you are to say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.’”
19 He also instructed the second, the third and all the others who followed the herds: “You are to say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 20 And be sure to say, ‘Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.’” For he thought, “I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.” 21 So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp.
ReflectBefore you lead today’s passage, ask God to give you a greater insight into his love for you.
Esau is on his way with 400 men to meet Jacob. You can understand why Jacob is fearful. This is his brother Esau whom he has conned out of the family birthright. Jacob has not been in contact with his brother for over a decade, and so he sends this extravagant gift of more than 500 animals to pacify his brother.
Esau deserved the birthright. He was the elder son, but Jacob had taken it from him. In this story, Jacob tries to make amends by making the first move towards his brother.
This chapter gives us a beautiful insight into the Gospel. God deserves our praise. He is God, but we have often put ourselves in the driving seat of our lives. But rather than expecting us to make amends, God has taken the prerogative. He has made the first move by sending his Son as a gift for all humanity.
This story illustrates the scandalous nature of grace. Although we have done wrong, like Jacob, we do not make the first move. God has already made the first move. It’s now just up to us as to how we will respond.
How does God taking the first move challenge us in the way we respond to broken relationships?
O God, thank You for Your love. Teach me how to love others the way that You first loved me.
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