Monday, September 21, 2020

2020.09.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 33:1–17

Read Genesis 33:1–17

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Jacob see in Genesis 33:1? Into what three groups does he divide the wives and the children (Genesis 33:1-2)? Who goes first (Genesis 33:3)? What does he do? But what does Esau do in Genesis 33:4? Then whom does he see, and what does he ask (Genesis 33:5)? How does Jacob describe his children? What do the three groups do in Genesis 33:6-7)? What, then, does Esau ask about in Genesis 33:8? How does Jacob answer? What does Esau say he has in Genesis 33:9? What does he tell Jacob to do? What does Jacob tell Esau to do (Genesis 33:10)? What does he say about seeing Esau’s face? How does this relate to Genesis 32:13–32? What does Jacob tell Esau to do in Genesis 33:11? Why? What does Esau propose in Genesis 33:12? What objection does Jacob make in Genesis 33:13? What suggestion does he make in Genesis 33:14? What promise does he make/imply? What suggestion does Esau make in Genesis 33:15, and how does Jacob respond? Where does Esau go in Genesis 33:16? Where does Jacob go in Genesis 33:17? What does he do there? What does he call it?

Jacob had made many preparations, but the Lord displays His great power and faithfulness in the surprising behavior of Esau. We almost couldn’t have hoped for such a display—murderous-hearted Esau running and embracing and falling on his neck and kissing Jacob? Appearing with the same forgiveness and affection as the father in the parable of the prodigal son (cf. Luke 15:20)?

But this is what God can do, even with an unbeliever. The heart of the king is in God’s hand like water, to direct it however He will (cf. Proverbs 21:1). And so are the hearts of Esau, and anyone who threatens you. What an encouragement this response must have been to Jacob!

Indeed, we hear Jacob say twice (Genesis 33:5Genesis 33:11) that God has dealt graciously with him. Surely, the behavior of Esau confirmed to him the words of the Lord who had blessed him at the end of the previous night’s wrestling. When Esau asks about the various companies of gifts that Jacob had sent, Jacob uses the same word (“favor” in Genesis 33:8Genesis 33:10) to ask Esau to be gracious toward him as God has. 

But Jacob knows that he has the only favor that ultimately matters: God’s graciousness toward him. This is what is behind his statement in verse 10. If it were mere flattery toward Esau, it would be an unthinkable blasphemy after the events of the previous night. Rather, Jacob seeing Esau being favorable toward him is the evidence that God actually has smiled His face upon Jacob this day, just as He had blessed him the previous night.

So, whereas God causes Esau to consider what he has as enough (Genesis 33:9), so that he will be favorable toward Jacob, the Lord does even better for Jacob, who knows that he has all (Genesis 33:11, literally translated, where NKJV says “enough”). Indeed, he has the favor of God Himself, and this is better than either the birthright or the blessing that he had previously stolen from his brother. So, we actually hear him saying, “please, take my blessing (verse 11). What an astonishing turnaround!

For Jacob’s part, the blessing includes peace with Esau, but he needs nothing from Esau. What he needs is to remain in the promised land, and so he reasons with Esau to go on ahead, even though what Jacob ultimately intends to do is to stay in Canaan, where God has called him (cf. Genesis 31:3, Genesis 32:9).

Every believer can now have the same confidence that Jacob did in this passage. Since God has truly committed Himself to our blessing in Christ, we can be sure that we have all things (cf. Romans 8:32). He is able either to give us the favor that we could least hope to obtain from others, or to bless us even through their greatest hostility. But, we know that He works all things for our good. And it is this blessing that enables us to conduct ourselves with humility and generosity even to those who would otherwise have been our greatest enemies!

With whom do you need God to give you favor? In what situation do you most need to remember that God is giving you all things? How do you know that God is doing so?

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace”

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