Jacob is different. “Then Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children…3 But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother,” 33:1-3.
Jacob sees his brother, with four hundred men coming, and there is no mention of great fear or distress. Jacob is different. He has encountered the LORD, and now he himself moves ahead in faith. Quite a different man portrayed than the Jacob we saw only the night before.
Jacob is different, not God. Jacob has personally encountered God, the God of Israel, the God of Grace. God has dealt graciously with him and now Jacob’s understanding and perspective are enlarged. God has graciously given Jacob many gifts; undeniably the greatest is that of faith, faith that has personally seen the God of Israel, the God Who never changes, but changes man.
Consider Him, the God of Israel.
1) The God of Israel Gives Graciously “God has graciously given your servant,” 33:5:
- The God of Israel Gives the Gift of Reconciliation. “Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept… Jacob said…for I see your face as one sees the face of God, and you have received me favorably,” 33:4, 10.
- The God of Israel Gives the Gift of Family. “He lifted his eyes and saw the women and the children, and said, “Who are these with you?” So he said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant,” 33:5.
- The God of Israel Gives the Gift of Plenty. “Please take my gift which has been brought to you… because I have plenty,” 33:11.
2) The God of Israel Deals Graciously “God has dealt graciously with me,” 33:11:
- The God of Israel Deals Gently. “My lord knows that the children are frail and that the flocks and herds which are nursing are a care to me. And if they are driven hard one day, all the flocks will die. 14 Please let my lord pass on before his servant, and I will proceed at my leisure, according to the pace of the cattle that are before me and according to the pace of the children,” 33:13-14.
- The God of Israel Deals Protectively. “Esau said, ‘Please let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But he said, “What need is there?’ ” 33: 15.
- The God of Israel Deals Personally. “Then he erected there an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel,” 33:20, which means “God, the God of Israel”.
How are we to respond to the God of Israel?
1) Let us acknowledge Him, with our very lives as, the One Who never changes, as the Gracious Giver of every good and perfect gift. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow,” (James 1:17).
- Be peacemakers: As His children, we have experienced His grace and forgiveness; let us intentionally extend that to others. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God,” (Matthew 5:9).
- Be grateful, good stewards: As recipients of His great grace and gifts, let us trust that His gifts are best; and may we be grateful, so as to guard what He has entrusted. “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” “…it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy,” (1 Thessalonians 5:18; 1 Corinthians 4:2).
- Be generous: As we have received so much from Him, let us generously give of our time, resources, and lives. “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver,” (2 Corinthians 9:7, NIV).
2) Let us place our lives in His faithful care, convinced He will Deal Graciously with His children. Let us wholeheartedly trust Him and His Word. “Now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are truth, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant,” (2 Samuel 7:28).
- Trust His pace: He alone is sovereign and determines our pace. His timing takes into account our frailty. Trusting His timing allows us to rest and move leisurely in Him. “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven,” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
- Trust His protection: Let us not look to the ways of the world for our security and deliverance, for “what need is there” to turn to anyone but Him? “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God,” (Psalm 20:7 NIV). (Psalm 121 is a tremendous trust builder in this area of protection).
- Trust Him personally: Jacob erected an altar to the God of Israel, his God. He worshiped Him because he had personally encountered Him and had been forever changed. Trust is birthed and strengthened in a personal encounter with the living God through faith. Let us begin by examining our faith: So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12). As the old saying goes, God does not have grandchildren.
- When we are His children, we can personally trust Him with our stuff. He is always working to conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). Let us look to Him in faith, trusting He will use the challenges of life’s circumstances and relationships to change us for His glory. He is faithful and trustworthy! “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit,” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The God of Israel has chosen to graciously give us good gifts and has been infinitely gracious in His dealings with us. May we grow in our gratitude and trust as we consider the great grace lavished upon us by Him, the God of Israel..