Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Genesis: Chapter 33

Psalm 133 says how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell in unity--what a joy that these twins reconciled.  The heart attitudes of both have undergone an amazing transformation.  Jacob is no longer the usurper; he shows respect to his brother and offers a generous gift.  Esau is no longer meditating on the murder of his brother and offers to be his protector.  God directs hearts--Jacob's own heart had been touched and in two close confrontations, he had seen God work in the hearts of others:  first, Laban's heart and now Esau's. 

I had always felt badly for Leah as I read this chapter.  I assumed Jacob put Rachel in the rear for protection but one commentator proposes that this, too, was an issue of respect.  Leah was the first wife; the children were older--it was proper to introduce them in this order.  I like that interpretation--Jacob showing respect for not only his brother, but for Leah and her children!

The parting of Jacob and Esau is sweeter than that of Jacob and Laban.  Jacob portrays a fine father-figure and cares for the needs of his household.  His primary concern was for his family but he also did not want to burden his brother.  Jacob truly has been transformed to an other-centered person!  Like his grandfather, Abraham, Jacob makes no presumptions about his inheritance of the Promised Land.  He purchases a piece of land to settle upon--not expecting to have a place without cost.  He shows respect for the property of others!  A final joy to note:  Jacob includes an altar with his tent--just as Abraham had always done and just as we must.    Wherever we are, we must purpose to worship the One who gives us all!

But God's timing is not always ours and as we will see in the next chapter, this seems not to have been the place God desired for Jacob's household to settle and grow!

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