Genesis 32: 1 – 21 – Jacob Returns Home – October 21, 2018

Theme: God’s promise to bless transforms its adherents.

 Purpose: Lead members out of blessedness into active blessing.

 There’s the story of the man traveling in the middle of the night who slips off of a unknown and treacherous road and falls 20 feet over the edge.  As he falls, his hands grab for anything that might stop him.  

As the side of the mountain slows him down slightly, his hands manage to grip a ledge and, hanging on for dear life, he hangs in mid-air with his feet dangling below him into the invisible darkness.

 He can’t pull himself up, but he realizes that he can’t hang on forever.  

 Not a man of deep faith, he decides this would be a good time to get help from a Higher Power. 

He calls out into the darkness, “God, if you’re up there, what should I do?”

His heart skips a beat when he hears a thunderous voice responding, “Just let go.”

As his hands get weaker and weaker, he wonders:

·      Did I mis-hear that voice? It couldn’t have said, “let go.”  That would mean certain death.

·      Was God playing a trick on him?

·      Or was God really that cruel?  

But alas!  There were no other options, and if he didn’t act fast, he would let go whether he wanted to or not.

He took a deep breath, kissed his life goodbye, and let go.

To his surprise, his feet immediately stumbled onto a broad, flat, solid piece of ground underneath him; in fact, he had only been hanging a couple of feet off the ground.

 

God had not been cruel; God had been right.

 I think of this story when I read this chapter about Jacob who is seemingly getting worked up for nothing.

 In a mad dash for survival, Jacob employs every ounce of cleverness and craftiness preparing for a brother who he presumes is out to get him.

 He’s too afraid to go talk to his brother so he sends emissaries.

 The emissaries, fed Jacob’s spin on his brother, also assume the worst and never bother to ask Esau about his feelings toward Jacob.

 Building on his presumption, Jacob divides up his estate so that when his brother destroys one, he’ll still have the other to live off of; maybe they can escape unnoticed.

 Jacob the schemer, Jacob the master strategist, Jacob the second guesser puts in place one last line of defense: successive gifts spread apart by miles to gradually wear down Esau’s ire such that by the time he actually meets Jacob, his heart is softened enough to maybe accept Jacob’s groveling apologies for deeds done 20 years ago.

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 Why is Jacob getting worked up for nothing?

 Because this is a scenario based on a 20-year-old relationship!   

 Yes, 20 years ago, Esau was out to kill Jacob. But now?  

 Had Jacob visited his hometown in the last 20 years?  Apparently not.

 Had he ever gotten word about the news back in his hometown?  Again, doesn’t look like it.

 Did he have ANY CLUE whatsoever of how Esau felt about him as a middle-aged man with his own household?  No.

 Jacob was preparing for a battle based on 20-year-old intelligence!