January 12, 2010

Forgiveness and Hugs

Genesis 32:1 through Genesis 35:27

Jacob went on his way and the angels of God met him. I really would like to have been there for this!! “Camp of God” Love that name!

Now remember, the last time Jacob saw Esau, Esau was ready to wring his neck. Quite literally. So Jacob send messengers ahead of him to ‘soften him up’. Jacob is afraid Esau is going to attack and so he divides his people. He prays and tells God how unworthy he is of His kindness and faithfulness (aren’t we all?) and begins to send gifts to Esau ahead of himself and instructs his servants what to say.

Jacob wrestles with a man all night. The man blesses him and renames him Israel. Jacob declares that he has seen God face to face and yet lived. He names the place Peniel (which means face of God)

Jacob meets Esau…not quite the greeting I would have expected? A big hug fest. Esau’s heart was softened in all those years toward his brother. Instead of trying to deceive each other, they are accommodating. What a difference! Can you imagine? Did they think about all the years they missed? Did they look upon each other’s children and wished they knew them? Did the wives hold their breath as they saw the men approach each other? Did they speak of Isaac and Rebekah with tenderness ? Imagine Jacob’s big sigh of relief! Such a good ending to a potential vey bad situation! Remember this story the next time you want to hold a grudge against your brother and sister, be it in your natural family or God’s family.

Dinah—a sister violated. Revenge taken. Such a sad sad story. Emotions and passions running wild with no regard for God or others.

Jacob returns to Bethel and built an altar. He tells his family to get rid of the foreign gods. They bury them (now wondering what ‘gods’ I need to bury!)

God protects them as they travel. Once again God re-affirms Jacob’s name change to Israel and re-iterates the promises He gave to Abraham and Isaac.

Jacob’s beloved Rachel dies in childbirth and is buried and verse 25 says “Jacob came home to his father Isaac”.

Anyone have some thoughts on these verses? One thing that has always puzzled me is the whole wrestling thing. Was it God? If so, how did Jacob see him face to face and live? If it was God , why couldn’t he overcome Jacob? because you know, He is God…the whole All-Powerful thing.

Any insights? Pretty Please?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting Bible study. I always thought that the 'man' Jacob wrestled with was Jesus. There are several other times that it seems God was personified in the Old Testament. Some scholars have suggested that it was an archangel - but that doesn't make sense in light of Jacob's declaration that he had seen the face of God. I like the mystery of it.
    The story is a great reminder to walk daily in grace and forgiveness.


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