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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

January 11, 2021

Daily Reading: Genesis 32-34


Genesis 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 is being obedient to the Lord. Twice in Genesis 31 God told him to return to the land of his own country and of his kindred. Yet, in the process of returning, Jacob’s messengers, which he had sent to Esau, returned to tell him that his brother was coming his way with four hundred men with him. Jacob became scared, greatly so. Perhaps he was remembering that way back in Genesis 27 Esau had pledged to kill him. This was over 20 years ago, but the fear raged. In fact the Bible says: Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed.


What is a person to do when they are obeying God’s will, yet fear grips them? It happens all the time. Remember the disciples in the boat with the raging sea? They were in God’s will; Jesus was even with them, yet in God’s will they were afraid for their lives. If you ever find yourself in this situation, consider the actions of Jacob.


First, he foresaw the trouble and did his best to assuage his brother’s anger. He decided to strategically place his family, goods, and servants to minimize any damage. Also, Jacob prepared substantial gifts for Esau. After all, Proverbs 21:14 says, A gift in secret pacifieth anger… I know, I know, Solomon had not written Proverbs when this took place, but the truth of the statement is ageless. Anyway, Jacob made a plan, then he worked as though it was all up to him.


Second, he prayed. He may have worked like it was all up to him, but he prayed like it was all up to God. Verses 9-12 contain his prayer. 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: 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.


He confessed that he was in God’s will Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred; he humbled himself I am not worthy; he made clear his request Deliver me; and he rehearsed God’s promise to him I will surely do thee good.


When he met his brother, all was good. They embraced, wept, and even kissed. Was the fear for nothing? Many may say yes, I have a different take on the matter. It is based on Proverbs 28:14. Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief. Fear moves us to action and drives us to our knees. But that is a thought for another day.


Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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