Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jacob Counts on Gifts To Win Esau -- Genesis 32:16-18

He delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, "Pass on before me, and put a space between droves." He commanded the one in front, saying, "When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, saying, 'To whom do you belong, and where are you going, and to whom do these animals in front of you belong?' then you shall say, 'These belong to your servant Jacob; it is a present sent to my lord Esau. And behold, he also is behind us.'"

Jacob takes all the animals he has selected for his brother Esau, and gives them to different servants or groups of servants. The donkeys, the camels, the beef cattle, the sheep, and the goats – each grouping of animal was turned over to one key servant. And with it, Jacob gave some specific instructions. The servants were each to take the animals they were responsible for and go ahead of Jacob, but not together. Each type of herd was to be separate from the other and at a certain distance from the one ahead of it and the one behind it. To the servant in charge of the group that would go first, Jacob gave special instructions as to what to say to his brother Esau when he met the travelers and when they enquired about the ownership of the animals. The message was to be simple – “they belong to your servant Jacob but they are a present to our lord Esau from Jacob who will soon be along.”

Was Jacob leaving nothing to chance or was he doing everything humanly possible to ensure that God would honor his efforts and bless him? We do not know what was going through Jacob’s mind as he took these actions. I have discovered that there are two basic types of reactions that people have when it comes to God intervening in their lives for their good or for a required change.

The first type says “if God wants…then He will…make it happen or do so and so.” These are the individuals that rely not on God for wisdom, encouragement, and strengthen to pursue the opportunities afforded them in life, but really want Him to do all the work for them in bringing things about, including often their own physical protection. You know the kind of philosophy I am talking about. The issue could range anywhere from where one serves or works to how one feels about living in general or taking risks in life. To put it another way, God does not only have to provide the opportunity but He has to literally also get them the job or prevent them from drowning after a boat accident in the middle of the lake while not wearing a life jacket.

The second type says “thank you God for this and other opportunities; I will pursue all of them as long as you keep opening doors and stop pursing ones when you close all of its doors.” This type of person also says, “God, you know I have taken all the safety precautions as I take this ride, yet my life is indeed in your hands. Thank you.” This is the type of person who is actively involved in improving themselves and/or in keeping safe and alive in order to serve God and his/her fellow men/women.

While I do not know for sure, I would like to think that Jacob was indeed this latter type. But what really matters is what type you and I are. As for Jacob, perhaps the next three verses will give us some insight into his personal approach.

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1 comment:

  1. ...who but only God knew what was going on Jacob's head at any time or any phase of Jacob's life (if Jacob himself even knew)...Jacob was rather an unpredictable sort...this being due to his personality or where he was at on his road to maturity...I get the idea that he "worked things" to "what was in it for him", or, how things would affect him. People of "camp #1"...general immaturity..."camp #2" (sometimes through "the school of hard knocks") maturity