Saturday, May 10, 2008

Meeting Esau, finding grace - Gen 33

Meeting Esau, finding grace

Gen 33:1 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.
Gen 33:2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.

He put them in the order of importance to him. I am glad that man's ideas of worth are not God's thoughts. He looks upon the heart, not appearances.

Gen 33:3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

Out of respect and submission he bows seven times, perhaps more a formality then a heartfelt submission. Seven is the fulness, so he wanted to do all that would be required of him to gain acceptance from his brother.

Gen 33:4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.

Wow, God had been working in his heart too. Esau had sworn that he would kill Jacob. This was their first meeting after twenty years and Jacob was prepared for the worst. Instead, God blessed them for there was grace and forgiveness, the two important qualities that God expects from us. This is close to the story of the prodigal son.

Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
Luke 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
Luke 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
Luke 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Our Father God loves us and wants us to be restored. We are to give out what we have received: love, grace and forgiveness. This comes when we humble ourselves and trust him. The greater giving grace to the lesser. Jacob actually was the greater in position, having tricked his fatherfor the blessing:

Gen 27:29 Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.

He submitted to his brother in a desire for restoration. Jesus spoke of the greatest, being the servant of all.

Mark 9:35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. These were old testament types of grace and forgiveness, humility and service.

Gen 33:5 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.
Gen 33:6 Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves.
Gen 33:7 And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.
Gen 33:8 And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord.
Gen 33:9 And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.

I believe this was just eastern manners and customs. To refuse a gift and to wait for a response.

1 Tim 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
1 Tim 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Gen 33:10 And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.

Jacob offers again, flattering his brother and exalting him as if he were filled with God. In truth we are to be as one filled with God.

Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Gal 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Gen 33:11 Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.

I have "enough", translates, I have exceeding abundance. The abundant blessings promised through Abraham.

Gen 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Paul gives us the spiritual explanation

Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Eph 2:7 That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Esau agreed to receive the gift. It was the custom to only receive a gift from a friend. Jesus says more about this.

Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Mat 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Mat 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

We can see in this story, how wonderful forgiveness and grace are. We are to be like Jesus, giving grace, doing good even to our enemies.

Gen 33:12 And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.

Esau wants to escort His brother and all his possessions to where he will be.

Gen 33:13 And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.
Gen 33:14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.

Jacob says, no, because the children are young and the flocks and herds have nursing young. We will go at a slower pace, until I come unto my lord unto Seir. Mount Seir was Esau's dwelling place.

Gen 36:8 Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom.

Gen 33:15 And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord.

Esau asked if he could leave some of his servants with him, to help him in his journey. Jacob said, they were not needed, and let me find grace in the sight of my Lord, my brother. Let me have the freedom to go at my own pace. You know often times we use grace as a cloak, to cover up our willful disobedience. Jacob had no intention of following his brother. He lied to him when he said he would come to him on Mount Seir.

Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

There is a very human understanding in this. It is one thing to forgive, but often trust is not regained. Why go with Esau and chance his changing his heart again?

Gen 33:16 So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.

Esau headed south to Mount Seir, not seeking revenge when his brother did not follow.

Gen 33:17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.

Jacob headed north away from Esau. He built a house and booths for his cattle. Succoth means "booths".

Gen 33:18 And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city.

Jewish writers generally understand it of his coming in peace, health, and safety: which [is] in the land of Canaan; to a city of Shechem.

God had told him to return unto the land of his Fathers, so why did he settle in another area?

Gen 31:3 And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.

We get into trouble when we go our own way. Jacob had gained the title, Israel, "God prevails," and now he is off on his own way again. It takes time to get the jacob, "deceiver", title removed. We also are given a new name, Christian, son of God and saint, but we often do things as the old man wants and not God. It takes time for us to conform to our new titles.

Gen 33:19 And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money.

He bought a parcel of land for a hundred shekels. He spread his tents towards the children of Hamor. Shechem's father. Somewhat like Lot, who spread his tents towards Sodom. They would stay there until most of his children were grown.

Gen 33:20 And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel.

The altar was named " the God of Israel ". The God of Abraham, Isaac and now the God of Israel. He is not a false god of the pagan nations. Elijah spoke his name:

1 Ki 18:36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.

The God of the three patriarchs we know as the triune God: One God in three persons: the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

Jacob's daughter Dinah, would come of age in this land of the Hivites. The children of Hamor, meaning "he-ass". There was trouble coming to Dinah. A son of Hamor would live up to his title.

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