Today’s Story: Genesis 32:3-21.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you are in a store, you are ready to go through the check out line, and you run into THAT person? It is the person to whom you did something or about whom you said something that hurt them. You have been avoiding that person for a long time. You know they know and you hoped you’d never have to face them. Now, that person is standing between you and the check out line.
What do you do?
That sick feeling you have in your stomach at that moment is probably what Jacob felt like in today’s story. He hurt his brother Esau by stealing his blessing. Jacob fled for his life to a foreign country with nothing. Now, it is years later. He has become wealthy, he has a family, and God told him to return home and live out the family promise.
There’s one small problem. When Esau heard that Jacob was coming, he gathered 400 fighting men at the edge of the river as a “welcome” party. That can’t be a good sign, can it?
Jacob was faced with a dilemma that we often face in life. We have been told of God’s promise to grow the Kingdom of Heaven in, with, and through us. Yet, we also know that we have done some less-than-noble things in our lives. If we are honest with our own failings and come clean, then the consequences may wipe out all our possessions, and possibly get us arrested or killed (metaphorically, socially, or physically). Do we face it, or do we hang out in the produce aisle pretending to inspect fruit until the person, or the threat of confronting the truth, leaves the scene?
We’ll see in our text for the sermon this weekend what Jacob does and how it turns out. For now, ask yourself: Can you handle the truth? Jacob was terrified of this encounter. He tried to hedge his bets by dividing his property (diversify his portfolio) so that, if one got destroyed, the other would escape. He sent peace offerings and gifts ahead of him. In the end, though, he had to face his fears and face the truth and look Esau in the eyes.
What would you do?