The Fear of Esau
Gen 32:1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
Gen 32:2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
God's angels appeared to Jacob and he named the place Mahanaim: "two camps". Jacob had camped and he saw a camp of angels around him. They were with him all along, but not seen. The same is true of you who are a child of God, under his covenant.
Elisha's Servant saw a host of angels
2 Ki 6:15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
2 Ki 6:16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
2 Ki 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
Heirs of salvation, have angels
Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
Children have angels
Mat 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
Strangers may be an angel
Heb 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Angels ministered to Jesus
In time of fasting
Mat 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Mat 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
In time of agony in prayer
Luke 22:41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
Luke 22:43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
Luke 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Some things we must face by faith
Mat 26:52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Mat 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
Mat 26:54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
Jacob must Face Esau
Gen 32:3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.
Gen 32:4 And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:
Gen 32:5 And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.
Twenty years earlier, Esau swore that he would kill his brother. Jacob sends the message that he is not a threat, but the servant of his brother. The heirs of salvation are to serve others. Secondly , he wanted his brother to know that he was not wanting to take anything from him, but that he was returning a wealthy man with animals and servants. He wanted to find grace in his sight, not vengeance.
Compare this to God sending his son to us. God was not seeking vengeance, but to give grace and forgiveness.
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Mat 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Mat 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Gen 32:6 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.
Gen 32:7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;
Jacob reasoned that Esau was seeking vengeance. Based upon this fear, he comes up with this plan.
Gen 32:8 And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.
How many of us live in fear from the past? Or perhaps we fear the unknown? Are we willing to step out in faith. Can we trust the Lord with our life's decisions?
The apostle Paul gave sound advice to Timothy
2 Tim 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
2 Tim 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
2 Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Tim 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
2 Tim 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
2 Tim 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
2 Tim 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
2 Tim 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
2 Tim 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Tim 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
Do we know that we are surrounded by angels and are in a covenant promise of blessings from God, and under his protection? The Holy Spirit gives us boldness and a sound mind when we do what is right, but first we must seek God and not our own flesh.
Gen 32:9 And Jacob said, 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:
Jacob prays in the promises that God gave to him. The LORD had told him to leave Laban and to return to his place in the promise land. He had promised to take care of him.
Gen 32:10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.
Gen 32:11 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.
Jacob humbled himself before God, saying he was unworthy of the LORD's blessings and the LORD had commanded him to return. So he appeals to Him for protection from Esau, to deliver him from this fear and to deliver his family.
Gen 32:12 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.
Again he reminds God of his covenant promise. We are to pray in God's promises to us. We need not be running about in fear, when we have Jesus and the promises of God.
Gen 32:13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother;
Gen 32:14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,
Gen 32:15 Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals.
Gen 32:16 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.
Gen 32:17 And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?
Gen 32:18 Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.
He was sending out a peace offering, hoping to satisfy his brothers anger. Our nation sometimes gives money and valuables, to a hostile country in hopes of appeasing them. Crime thugs ask for "protection" money, this is called extortion; giving money because of fear or threats.
Gen 32:19 And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shallye speak unto Esau, when ye find him.
Gen 32:20 And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.
If Jacob was really trusting God, he would have been at the head of the procession to meet Esau, not the tail.
Some sufferings are real, as Jesus suffered on the cross. Psalms 22 gives us a look at the feelings of anguish he experienced as a man. Remember, Jesus has felt our sufferings that come from evil men. This Psalm was from the heart of David.
Psa 22:6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
Psa 22:7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
Psa 22:8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
Psa 22:9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts.
Psa 22:10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly.
Psa 22:11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
Psa 22:12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
Many suffer and die because of wicked people, avoid them. Trials and temptation are common to all people.
1 Cor 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Trust God for the way out.
Gen 32:21 So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company.
Gen 32:22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.
Gen 32:23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.
He sent his family on, and was left alone to seek God. Families and friends are a comfort, but often we must face our battles by our own faith in God.
Jesus gave a troubled father encouragement
Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
Mark 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Gen 32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
Who was this man? He was from God, some say he was Jesus Christ, come as a man before his birth. The prophet Hosea said he was an angel, (Hosea 12:2-6) for angels often do appear looking as men. He wasn't wrestling to win a match, he was spiritually wrestling, striving, being fervent in spirit.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
He was wrestling in the Spirit, but also in his flesh. Jacob earlier had wrestled in the womb with his brother Esau and had a hold of his heal.
Gen 25:26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.
Gen 32:25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
Jacob's thigh was out of joint and stayed that way, as a memorial of this struggle.
Paul was given a thorn in the flesh that was not removed.
2 Cor 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
2 Cor 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
2 Cor 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Paul and Jacob were weakened so that their strength would be of God, not of the flesh.
The thorn in the flesh was said to be a messenger of satan, to buffet him. One messenger, or angel from satan. A devil was sent to buffet him. The word buffet is used for bad treatment and physical distress. His grace was sufficient. Some things are allowed, so that we will trust God and not the flesh.
Gen 32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
Jacob held on to the man from God in desperation. He knew that God was his salvation and he was in desperate need.
Gen 32:27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
What is your name? Jacob, supplanter, schemer.
Gen 32:28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
Your name is now Israel, A prince, a contender, an overcomer, and a soldier of God. He had overcome his fear and received blessings from God.
Gen 32:29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
The angel was speaking for God, his name was not important, he was a messenger of God.
Gen 32:30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
Peniel, means "facing God"
He saw the angel of God, as Hosea describes the encounter:
Hosea 12:2 The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.
Hosea 12:3 He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God:
Hosea 12:4 Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us;
Hosea 12:5 Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial.
Hosea 12:6 Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.
Gen 32:31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
Gen 32:32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.
This infirmity was honored in their eating traditions. Similar to the Christian partaking symbolically the broken body and blood, in reference to Jesus at the cross. The things of God are spiritual, by faith, not of the flesh.
Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Rom 14:18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
Rom 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Jacob had overcame the darkness of fear, received the blessing and a new name. He limped forward to meet his brother Esau, as a prince and a soldier of God. The angels surrounded him.