Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. He instructed them: “This is what you are to say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favor in your eyes.’” (Genesis 32:3-5)
In these verses we see that Jacob’s flight from Esau now comes full circle. Twenty years before he had fled from Canaan to escape Esau’s anger and vengeful plan to kill him (Genesis 27:41). Now, at God’s instruction, he must reenter the land and, in order that he might live in the land, it is inevitable that Jacob must confront Esau.
Many generations later, Jacob’s descendants under the supervision of Joshua, were instructed to enter the land and take possession. For them to do that, they knew they would have to confront their adversaries, including the descendant of Esau as well as the giants and the fortified cities such as Jericho. Many of them had faltered at the prospects of fighting such enemies but there was a generation, inspired by people such as Caleb, who did engage their enemies and prevail.
Looking at this prophetically as well as practically, it seems that sometimes God purposely allows our enemies to block our path, as it were. Not that He allows them to overcome us, necessarily, but He requires that we confront them — not skirt around them — and overcome them. In order to “possess the land” which is, metaphorically to say, to fulfill one’s purpose, requires that we confront the obstacles in our way.
Rarely does God allow us to take the easy path but almost always requires that we walk the difficult and troublesome path, and why? Because that is the only path that leads to life. Moreover, as we confront the Esaus and giants in our life, we grow in our faith as we see God perform miracles on our behalf and, consequently, we trust Him more. Make no mistake, if we are to fulfill our purpose in this life we will have to face down Esau; we will have to engage our enemy but with the promise that, as His people, we can overcome.
Blessings and Shalom,