Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 15

This entry is part 15 of 39 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap Part 14: A joyous event of children begins, and Jacob is blessed with 12 children from 4 different women. Jacob struggles through all of his uncle’s deceit and God instruct him to depart. Jacob is free from the bondage of Laban his uncle. He takes his family and all his possessions and leaves to return to his homeland.

Part 15: Jacob’s return to the land of Canaan wasn’t going to be an easy road to take. If you remember over twenty years prior, he tricked his father into giving him Esau’s blessing. He would need to face his brother once he arrived in the land. Jacob was very hesitant, not knowing how his brother would react. Jacob decides to send messengers to go and speak with Esau and try to patch things up between them. “And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed” (Genesis 32:6-7).

What was the best thing to do in this situation? What might you have done? Some would arm their servants and fight to the death, some would beg for mercy and become slaves. What actions would you take when faced with death or slavery? What would you think to do if you had 4 wives and 12 children? We see what type of man Jacob is when he faces this adversity. He turns to God in prayer! His prayer is: “O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude” (vs 9-12).

Although Jacob feared the worst from his brother and was literally scared to death of his situation, he trusted God. After much maneuvering and planning, the two children of Isaac finally meet face to face. “And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept” (Genesis 33:1-4). I am pretty sure this isn’t the welcome Jacob expected. He was quite certain that he and his family might become slaves, or worse.

What can we learn from the actions of Jacob? What should we do in life’s difficulties? How can we succeed when others have failed? We must turn toward God with all of our needs weather big or small. We must love as he intends. We must have faith. We must trust in his plan even when we stand to lose all, even our lives. We must earnestly seek the will of God for our lives.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:10). “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (Psalm 13:5). “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3). “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

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