Monday, January 18, 2010

Esau And Jacob Part -- Genesis 33:16-17

So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir. And Jacob journeyed to Succoth; and built for himself a house, and made booths for his livestock, therefore the place is named Succoth.

The reunion was a success. The brothers part on what appears to be very good terms. Esau, traveling south, commences his return to Seir. Jacob and his family, however, at a much slower pace, travel northwards and make their journey to Succoth.

If Jacob ever had sincere plans to go to Seir as he had indicated to his brother and if that visit ever did occur, there is no record of it.

The name Succoth simply means ‘booths’. It was so named after Jacob set up ‘booths’ there for his animals, as well as built a house there for himself and his family. It is very likely that they found some expanse of land that Jacob believed would be great to settle in, had all the needed resources nearby including water and was likely good for livestock grazing. Thus he settled.

So what became of his plan to go ‘home’ to where his parents lived? What became of his promise to Esau to meet him in Seir? We do not know the answer to those questions, but we know that people’s plans do change, just as our plans change. And we never quite make it to where we say we will. We never quite get to do what we promised we would do. Some of us are constantly bothered by our failure to deliver what we indicated we would, and others do not even give it a second’s thought. For some, the knowledge that they said they would do something, and either never have, or worse still, never intend to, is not significant enough to pause even momentarily on the surface of their conscience.

Perhaps we can use our study of this text as a reason for us to stop long enough and think about statements or indications we have given to others, and perhaps even to ourselves, as to what we would do, but never have. Perhaps we can think of what we may have said to our spouse, our children, our parents, our pastor, or our friends – and to this date we have not delivered. I believe God wants me to be credible. Over the years I have consulted large organizations, governments, and non-profits including churches, I have tried my very best to build my reputation on delivering what I have said I would do. And God has blessed that. Some may view my approach to this aspect of life as a bit of an obsession. If so, I think it is a God-honoring one. Unfortunately, my observation is that not many Christians see that as an important characteristic.

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  1. Anonymous18/1/10 17:52

    Since when did keeping a promise become an "obsession"? In my thinking if someone keeps a promise they can be depended upon...a good, solid character trait.

  2. You would think, wouldn't you anonymous? But yet, I have had people say, "oh, forget what you say; they really didn't believe you would do it." Such is the world today. Thanks for writing.