Then Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you’: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him.” (Genesis 32:9-11)
Jacob makes two confessions in these verses: he recognized the goodness bestowed upon him by God and confessed to being unworthy of His mercy. Those who strive to live according to God’s standards of righteousness recognize the responsibility that goes with it. As His people we are to be an example to others and it is in that context that we recognize just how easy it is to fall short of God’s standards. Thankfully, we have an advocate with the Father who is willing to forgive us of our shortcomings that we might draw close to Him.
Jewish commentary declares that, “The truly penitent come nearer unto God than even those who have never stumbled or fallen into sin.” The point: true humility is an indicator of those drawing closer to God for true humility will admit to failures and flaws. That brings us to Jacob’s second confession: “I’m afraid of Esau.”
Even though he acknowledged God’s faithfulness to him — to multiply and prosper him to a degree that he had become “two companies” — he also had to admit that he was fearful of his brother, Esau. He had received the message that he was coming with 400 men and must have concluded, logically, that his intentions were not good. This potential threat greatly concerned him, especially for the welfare of his family.
It is interesting that we who know of God’s goodness and faithfulness can so quickly be shaken by what we consider to be bad news. Perhaps its the fear of the unknown that bothers us; sometimes it is fear of the known — knowing what is going to be required of us in order to overcome the obstacle before us. Jacob had the good sense to call upon the LORD for help and so must we. He may not remove the obstacle from our path but if we call upon Him, we can have the assurance that He will walk with us to the battle. He will be with us during the battle and will strengthen us to do what we must to overcome. As Messiah said:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Blessings and Shalom,