When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups, and the flocks and herds and camels as well. He thought, “If Esau comes and attacks one group, the group that is left may escape.” (Genesis 32:6-8)
One has to wonder if Esau’s intention toward his brother were peaceful, why did he find it necessary to bring four hundred, presumably, armed men with him? Considering that they had not spoken to one another in twenty years, it was logical for Jacob to expect the worst from his brother. The news, in fact, concerned him greatly but, though distressed, Jacob took certain measures to address his problem.
His three-pronged strategy was, first, to pray for the Almighty’s protection. Secondly, he tried to Esau’s anger to good will by him sending gifts (Genesis 32:13-21). As a last resort, he prepared to fight but only after dividing his people and his livestock into two groups.
This episode demonstrates that, when faced with a crisis, we must first turn to God and ask for His guidance and protection. Still, we have the responsibility to respond to situations in a practical and wise manner. For instance, if you knew an economic crisis was looming, it would be wise to take certain practical measures crisis even as we trust God to help us.
Finally, let’s not forget that, sometimes, we must be prepared to fight for those things that God has entrusted to us. We have a duty to defend what is holy and eternal even if the odds seem stacked against us. Esau may be coming with 400 men but we still have to go forward into what God has called us to do. It is in these times that we will realize, only through Him and only because of Him will we overcome.
Blessings and Shalom,