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Genesis 33:12-20

12 Then Esau said, “Let us take our journey and go, and I will go before you.” 13 But he said to him, “My lord knows that the children are frail and that the flocks and herds which are nursing are a care to me. And if they are driven hard one day, all the flocks will die. 14 “Please let my lord pass on before his servant, and I will proceed at my leisure, according to the pace of the cattle that are before me and according to the pace of the children, until I come to my lord at Seir.”

15 Esau said, “Please let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But he said, “1What need is there? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.” 16 So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir. 17 Jacob journeyed to 2Succoth, and built for himself a house and made booths for his livestock; therefore the place is named Succoth.

18 Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city. 19 He bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. 20 Then he erected there an altar and called it 3El-Elohe-Israel.

It is likely here that Jacob was remembering the blessing of his father at this point. He knew that Esau was to be subject to him, and that if they were together in one place that things could become very unsettled between Esau and himself. Besides that, he didn’t want to push his children and livestock too hard, so it became a convenient excuse to avoid the conflict that would result from his stolen blessing.

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Genesis 33:1-11

1 Then Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. 2 He put the maids and their children in front, and Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3 But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

4 Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. 5 He lifted his eyes and saw the women and the children, and said, “Who are these with you?” So he said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” 6 Then the maids came near with their children, and they bowed down. 7 Leah likewise came near with her children, and they bowed down; and afterward Joseph came near with Rachel, and they bowed down. 8 And he said, “What do you mean by all this company which I have met?” And he said, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.” 9 But Esau said, “I have plenty, my brother; let what you have be your own.” 10 Jacob said, “No, please, if now I have found favor in your sight, then take my present from my hand, for I see your face as one sees the face of God, and you have received me favorably. 11 “Please take my gift which has been brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me and because I have plenty.” Thus he urged him and he took it.

After lining up the women and children, he then went out in front of them to meet Esau, so that they would not be harmed if he could help it. He knew the value of family, and even though he didn’t expect a warm welcome from Esau, I’m sure he hoped that Esau knew the value of family as well. Esau’s reception of Jacob shows that even after all sorts of wrongs, time can heal wounds, and family should not be separated, or allow those wrongs to keep them apart.

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Genesis 32:24-32

24 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but 3Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” 29Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob named the place 4Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” 31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh. 32 Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip.

Jacob was persistent. That, and he knew the value of a blessing, especially one from an angel of God. He would not give up this fight until he received something from the angel. He doesn’t get quite what he expects, but he gets something valuable. A new name. Jacob meant ‘heal-grabber’ and that fit Jacob his whole life. But God had other plans for him, to be a mighty man, one who could even strive with God. So he named him Israel, and the nation was born. The Bible says that the prayers of a righteous man ‘avail much’, but the prayers of the persistent will never go unheard.

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Genesis 32:13-23



13 So he spent the night there. Then he selected from what he had with him a present for his brother Esau: 14two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty milking camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 He delivered theminto the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Pass on before me, and put a space between droves.” 17 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?’ 18 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.'” 19 Then he commanded also the second and the third, and all those who followed the droves, saying, “After this manner you shall speak to Esau when you find him; 20 and you shall say, `Behold, your servant Jacob also is behind us.'” For he said, “I will appease him with the present that goes before me. Then afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will accept me.” 21 So the present passed on before him, while he himself spent that night in the camp.

22 Now he arose that same night and took his two wives and his two maids and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream. And he sent across whatever he had.

The two brothers are getting closer yet, and Jacob comes up with a plan. He takes from his flocks some of everything, and sends it on ahead as a present, hoping he can bribe his brother. After all that, he sends his family and the rest of his belongings across the stream, and stays behind for the night. He is really struggling with fear here. He’s already forgotten the promise of God that he himself had just claimed. He should know from his father and grandfather, that he can trust God to take care of him. Instead he tries to take matters into his own hands, and if it works (which he isn’t confident about), it will be a costly solution to the problem. God’s solutions may cost us something, but not as much as if we try to do things on our own. Trust God. Make that your plan.

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Genesis 32:1-12

1 Now as Jacob went on his way, the angels of God met him. 2 Jacob said when he saw them, “This is God’s1camp.” So he named that place 2Mahanaim.

3 Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 He also commanded them saying, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: `Thus says your servant Jacob, “I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed until now; 5 I have oxen and donkeys and flocks and male and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight.”‘”

6 The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and furthermore he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” 7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and the herds and the camels, into two companies; 8 for he said, “If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the company which is left will escape.”

9 Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who said to me, `Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies. 11 “Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children. 12 “For You said, `I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.'”

Jacob is a little freaked out here. He knew God would protect him from Laban, since Laban had done nothing but cheat him for twenty years. But when it came to Esau, Jacob was the one who had done the cheating, and he wasn’t quite sure that God would protect him from Esau’s revenge. Jacob forgot a couple things, and even though he is talking to God in the later verses, he’s actually reminding himself of what God promised: to prosper him, and protect him. God needs no reminders, but it never hurts to remind ourselves of what God has promised, so that we can place all our trust in Him.

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Genesis 31:43-55

43 Then Laban replied to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, and the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these my daughters or to their children whom they have borne? 44 “So now come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.” 45 Then Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46 Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” So they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47 Now Laban called it2Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob called it 3Galeed. 48 Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me this day.” Therefore it was named Galeed, 49 and 4Mizpah, for he said, “May the LORD watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. 50 “If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.” 51 Laban said to Jacob, “Behold this heap and behold the pillar which I have set between you and me. 52 “This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass by this heap to you for harm, and you will not pass by this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. 53 “The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac. 54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his kinsmen to the meal; and they ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain. 55 Early in the morning Laban arose, and kissed his sons and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his place.

The arrogance of Laban is amazing here. After all that we saw yesterday, Laban still lays a claim to everything around them, but he knows he cannot take any of it, because of what God had told him. Then, after Jacob sets up a pillar, and has his kinsmen set up a heap of stones (verses 45-46), then Laban (in verse 51) even takes credit for that too. He can’t break himself of the pattern. Anything Jacob has done, he takes credit for, and anything which Jacob has laid claim to, Laban calls his own. In this, God kept Jacob, and Jacob held his own, and did not break the covenant that they were in the middle of making. God gave Jacob the strength to see that it wasn’t worth fighting for, but that God would fight his battles for him. He will fight our battles too, if we only let Him.

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Genesis 31:33-42

33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two maids, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel’s saddle, and she sat on them. And Laban felt through all the tent but did not findthem. 35 She said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is upon me.” So he searched but did not find the household idols.

36 Then Jacob became angry and contended with Laban; and Jacob said to Laban, “What is my transgression? What is my sin that you have hotly pursued me? 37 “Though you have felt through all my goods, what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsmen and your kinsmen, that they may decide between us two. 38 “These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks. 39 “That which was torn of beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it myself. You required it of my hand whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40Thus I was: by day the heat consumed me and the frost by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41 “These twenty years I have been in your house; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flock, and you changed my wages ten times. 42 “If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, so He rendered judgment last night.”

Here we see a bit more of the conflict that existed between Jacob and Laban, and why Jacob was in so much haste to leave as he did. He worked for twenty years, and after all that time, Laban still treated Jacob as a stranger. He constantly changed Jacob’s wages, and never trusted him in the case of losses, or theft. Any of those, Jacob had to bear from his own flocks. In all of that, Jacob did prosper, but not because of Laban, but because the Lord was with him. We see the results of his trust in God, and we’ll see the end result of this confrontation in the next day or so.

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Genesis 31:22-32

22 When it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled, 23 then he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him a distance of seven days’ journey, and he overtook him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night and said to him, “Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad.”

25 Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsmen camped in the hill country of Gilead. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done by deceiving me and carrying away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27 “Why did you flee secretly and deceive me, and did not tell me so that I might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with timbrel and with lyre; 28 and did not allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Now you have done foolishly. 29 “It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, `Be careful not to speak either good or bad to Jacob.’30 “Now you have indeed gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house; but why did you steal my gods?” 31 Then Jacob replied to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32 “The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our kinsmen point out what is yours among my belongings and take it for yourself.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.

It is interesting that God doesn’t just tell Laban not to harm Jacob, or not to say anything bad. God also requires of him that he say nothing good either, so Laban is walking a fine line here. God knew very well that Laban would have tried to bribe Jacob to stay, and may have even forced Jacob to stay had he just asked to leave. Jacob had already tried to leave once, and been convinced to stay for the reward of flocks, which is just what had caused the most recent contention between them. So God wanted to protect Jacob from harm, and also from the temptation of returning for more pay and thus abandoning the will of God. So also does God protect us, not just from harm, but from temptations that we cannot handle.

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Genesis 31:14-21

14 Rachel and Leah said to him, “Do we still have any portion or inheritance in our father’s house? 15 “Are we not reckoned by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and has also entirely consumed our purchase price. 16 “Surely all the wealth which God has taken away from our father belongs to us and our children; now then, do whatever God has said to you.”

17 Then Jacob arose and put his children and his wives upon camels; 18 and he drove away all his livestock and all his property which he had gathered, his acquired livestock which he had gathered in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. 19 When Laban had gone to shear his flock, then Rachel stole the household idols that were her father’s. 20 And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was fleeing. 21 So he fled with all that he had; and he arose and crossed the Euphrates River, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.

The contempt of Laban was so heavy towards Jacob, that even his wives felt it. They felt like they were foreigners, while they were actually family. So instead of telling Laban they were leaving, they fled while he was shearing his sheep. It probably was not the wisest way to leave Laban, even though he was doing what God had asked. What really would come back to haunt him, was that Rachel had stolen her father’s household idols. It seems she still wanted a little bit of her old religion to fall back on. Her lack of trust in God would become a thorn in her husband’s side.

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Genesis 31:1-13

1 Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth.” 2 Jacob saw the 1attitude of Laban, and behold, it was not friendly toward him as formerly. 3 Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” 4 So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to his flock in the field, 5 and said to them, “I see your father’s attitude, that it is not friendly toward me as formerly, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 “You know that I have served your father with all my strength. 7 “Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, God did not allow him to hurt me. 8 “If he spoke thus, `The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock brought forth speckled; and if he spoke thus, `The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock brought forth striped. 9 “Thus God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me. 10 “And it came about at the time when the flock were mating that I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which were mating were striped, speckled, and mottled. 11 “Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, `Jacob,’ and I said, `Here I am.’ 12 “He said, `Lift up now your eyes and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 `I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.'”

Naturally, Laban isn’t happy about what’s going on. He’s tried to gain the edge over Jacob several times, and God always turns it against him. Not only that, but Laban’s sons are also complaining about it at this point. So God calls upon Jacob to return to his homeland, and fulfill his vow. Sometimes, when conflict comes, it’s just time to move on. Don’t worry God will take care of you in the process, and it may not be the most fun process, but when you’re following God, you can’t go wrong.