Being Forgiven

KEY VERSE: “Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand; for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thy wart pleased with me.” —Genesis 33:10


JACOB HAD SERVED Laban, his father-in-law, faithfully for about twenty years, (Gen. 31:38) when the Lord said unto him, “Return to the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.” (vs. 3) Jacob was prospering in Padanaram, but he considered the promises of God to be of much greater value than earthly riches. He discussed the move with his two wives, Rachel and Leah, and they indicated their willingness to return to Canaan with him.

Fearing to tell his father-in-law he was leaving, Jacob took his wives, his children, and all his earthly possessions and slipped quietly away. Laban pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him. He said to Jacob, “You have done a foolish thing. I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me “not to say anything to Jacob either good or bad.”—Gen. 31:17-29, NIV

After they separated on peaceful terms. “Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God’s host.” (Gen. 32:1,2) Now encouraged but still fearful, Jacob sent couriers ahead to his brother, Esau, instructing them to say to him, “I have sent messengers to inform you of my coming.” Returning to Jacob after delivering the message they reported that Esau was coming to meet him accompanied by four hundred men. Jacob imagined the worst.

Prompted by fear, and thinking to save at least part of his possessions, he divided the people who were with him and his flocks into two companies, thinking that some might have a better chance for escape. All the intervening years of divine protection and blessing were not sufficient to assure Jacob that the Lord would be with him. Having done all he could do, he prayed earnestly to God.

When “Jacob looked up there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; … and Jacob went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept and … Jacob said, To see your face is like seeing the face of God now that you have received me favorably.” (Gen. 33:1-10, NIV) Esau displayed no anger, nor did he so much as refer to what had occurred twenty years before.

All of this was in the Lord’s providence. Surely Jacob’s earnest prayer played a vital part in this kindly, forgiving reception. Quite possibly the ‘angels of God’ may have given him detailed instructions as to how to prepare Esau for this meeting. This might well have been the Lord’s way of answering Jacob’s prayer for deliverance from the hand of Easu.

Esau inquired why the herds of cattle and sheep had been sent on ahead, and when Jacob explained that they were sent as gifts, he protested against accepting them, explaining that he already had all he needed. However, Jacob finally persuaded his brother that he should accept the gifts. Had Jacob not waited on the Lord in faith, he might well have met with quite a different reception from Esau. The two brothers had no mutual interests of sufficient importance to keep them together. So after their friendly meeting, Jacob continued on peacefully into Canaan.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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