I’ve been quietly impressed with Jacob as I’ve reread Genesis lately. Yes, his flaws are obvious, but I hadn’t noticed how much his 20 years under Laban’s regime had moulded him into a man of faith.
Chapter 32 finds Jacob preparing to face Esau after all this time:
9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O LORD, 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 groups.
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.’
It’s just like a sandwich. The filling is a mixture of humble acknowledgement, and a petition born from fear. How can he be a father of nations if a vengeful Esau wipes his family out?
But the bread in the sandwich is WHAT GOD HAS SAID. The prayer is bookended with a reminder of God’s promise and Jacob’s vow at Bethel (Genesis 28).
I’ve had to do this a lot lately. With only two more weeks of work and no guarantee of more, I’ve gone back many times to God’s promise and his faithfulness about providing for me and having so much more to give. The circumstances will not have the last word.
The last word belongs to God. With God’s help, we are constantly invited to stare our circumstances in the eye, and refuse to give in to fear.
I wait with anticipation to discover the next chapter!