A story that began with Jacob’s flight now ends with his return home. And not just return but, Jacob is able to build a house for himself in the promise land and an altar to worship the Lord. This is possible because God answered Jacob’s prayer and turned Esau’s heart such that he was eager to be reconciled with his brother. In changing Esau’s heart, God fulfilled his promise to Jacob and brought him safely back to the land promised to his grandfather Abraham.
In our text today, Jacob is confronted with the reality of what awaits him when he meets his brother Esau again for the first time in twenty years. However, unlike the Jacob we have read about previously, he seems to be understanding the tough lessons of his life and learning dependence upon the Lord. Today, we want to look at what dependence upon God looks like, and how we might apply this same level of dependence upon Him in our lives today.
Having endured 20 years of mistreatment, God calls Jacob and his family back to the promise land and finally he is able to separate himself from his cheating, deceitful father-in-law, Laban. Against all odds, Jacob has prospered and persevered under Laban only because of God’s sustaining grace. And although Laban will make one last attempt to control Jacob’s destiny, God remains a defender and sustainer of Jacob and his family. Similarly today, God keeps, defends and perseveres those in Christ until the end.
Religious practices are good and appropriate when they are practiced for the right reasons. Today, we will study a strange story of deceit and revenge, coupled with Jacob’s strange attempt to manipulate the natural order of events. We will look at his actions and try to understand if we sometimes do similar things in trying to manage life’s outcomes.