Posts Tagged ‘Esau’

Emails from Moses – Postscript. Image created by Ross Cochrane

Genesis 36 – EMAILS FROM MOSES – Postscript 

To your majesty, King Hadar, 

Recently I have been searching the NET (National Edomite Transcripts) to find references to the history of the kings of Edom. I came across a few letters and e-mails between Jacob and Esau describing the beginnings of the fascinating history of your nation, but it mentions only clan leaders, not the kings.  

With your permission, I was wondering, since we have a common Ancestor in Abraham, if you or your secretaries would be able to help me find out what happened after Esau’s grandchildren died and specifically about the kings of Edom.  

As you know Israel has no kings, but Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were promised by God that kings would come from their descendants. It hasn’t happened yet for Jacob’s descendants, but I understand your nation has had kings for many years. 

Yours ancestrally, 

Moses,  

Servant of God most high, 

___________________oOo_____________________ 

Dear Moses, leader of the hordes of Israel, 

I am not compelled in any way to share anything with you, Moses. You and your God are nothing to us. But since we have a common ancestor in Abraham and Isaac, I will share briefly some the historical information of our great nation.  

In summary, there are 7 kings. Firstly, Bela, Jobab, and Husham.  

Then there’s Hadad (not me). You wouldn’t like this Hadad much. He killed Midian in the field of Moab, son of our common ancestor, Abraham, by his wife Keturah. I understand you have some Midianite connections also.  

Then there’s Samlah, Shaul, Baal-hanan and now I, king Hadad, am king. All kings ruled from different cities in Edom and I rule from the city of Pau. 

Yours historically, 

Hadad, King of Edom, 

___________________oOo_____________________ 

Your Royal Highness, King Hadad, 

Your information has been helpful. Thankyou so much for the list of your kings. This allows me the opportunity to record the family tree of our common ancestors, Abraham and Isaac, through Esau.  

Yes, I had heard of the other King Hadad who killed Midian. His passing was grieved by Abraham and his wife, no doubt, and all the Midianites then and since. I lived in the district of Midian for 40 years after I left Egypt. Jethro, my father-in-law is also a Midianite priest to God most highHis daughter, my wife, is Zipporah.  

I am fascinated by your kings ruling from different cities. I thought each son would rule from their father’s city. I have never heard of this practice. Is there a reason for why this happens? 

Yours with curiosity, 

Moses,  

friend of God. 

___________________oOo_____________________ 

Dear Moses,  

I think you have misunderstood me in thinking that our Edomite kings come from a family dynasty of rulers. This is not so. 

Many years ago, Esau wrote into the very fabric of our society that none of us can presume clan leadership on the basis of birthright or a father’s blessing. Each leader must earn his leadership by power of force and strategy 

There are no favorites in Edomite rulership, no family dynasties, no kings anointed by God in our clans. We fight for the right of the throne and keep it by the power of the sword, knowing that our sons will not be the next kings. 

6 kings have come and gone, all from different families and now I am king. No-one will usurp my kingdom, though there have been those who have tried 

The leaders of clans give their names to their districts. Those leaders are governed by my rulershipSome kings, including me, have had cities of our own but we have no capital cities. They are merely places to live, fortresses, some built into the very rocks of Petra. Edom is a country of narrow canyons and is easily defended.  

By the way, we don’t allow strangers into our lands and, despite our common ancestors, we are not allies. Jacob gave up that right when he stole Esau’s blessing. Esau we have loved and Jacob we have hated. Think twice before planning to travel this way into Canaan.  

Yours militarily, 

Hadad,  

High king of Edom 

___________________oOo_____________________ 

To Your Highness, King Hadad, King of all Edom, 

God has certainly been good to your people, putting you in possession of your land much sooner than us Israelites. Although you have made it clear that you do not regard us as allies, be assured that we are not a threat to your kingdom.  

God has made it clear that to us that you feel threatened by our presence in your territory, so we will be careful not to bother you, for we understand that He has given you all the hill country around Mount Seir as your property, and we do not want even one square foot of your land.  

If we need food to eat or water to drink, we will pay you for it. God has been with us in our journey from Egypt and each step through this great wilderness. We have lacked nothing. We will avoid the road through the Arabah Valley that comes up from Elath and Ezion-geber (Deuteronomy 2:2-8).  

We will bypass your territory because we respect you as the descendants of Esau.  

One day we will see kings over our people. From our descendants, we will see the Messiah, King of all kings. The promise to Abraham that all the nations of the world will be blessed through him will be fulfilled (Genesis 12:1-3). 

You have said that you have hated Jacob and love Esau. Be careful that one day God does not say of you, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” (Malachi 1:2-3) 

Yours respectfully, 

Moses,  

Friend and servant of God most high 

___________________oOo_____________________ 

Dake reminds me that “the rock-hewn city, Petra, later the capital of Edom, was an ancient stronghold. The temples and houses cut in the sides of the mountains surrounding Petra still exist and look freshly made.  

Edom had everything in wealth and power but no real faith in God and only the prospect of judgment to realize (Obadiah 1). In contrast, Israel had little in material wealth and power, but a struggling faith in God and all of God’s promises yet to be realised in the coming Christ.  

Christ followers are invited to live by faith not by sight, (2 Corinthians 5:7) just as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived (Hebrews 11).  

Pastor Ross 

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Genesis 36 – EMAILS TO ESAU – Part 3 

Hi Esau, 

Thanks for all the information about your grandsons. You really have got quite a crowd to lead.  

Tell me, how did you originally come to live in Mt Seir? I’ve heard of an old hillbilly named Seir who pioneered that region and settled there.  

He was still around when we were young. The stories go that he had 7 sons who were prominent clan leaders called the Horites? Dad always told us to keep away from them. They had a reputation of being mercenaries, thugs and thieves. So how did you end up in Seir which you now call Edom? 

Jacob 

___________________oOo_____________________ 

Dear Jacob, 

We ended up in Mt Seir because I have an even greater group of mercenaries, thugs and thieves than Seirs seven sons. We dispossessed them of everything and occupied their land. They were a bunch of cave dwellers, used to living rough, but they were a pretty wiley bunch and good fighters. They weren’t expecting to be routed, but they are actually better off now than they were.  

We took some of their women to be our wives. My wife Oholibamah is the daughter of one of Seir’s sons, Anah. My son Eliphaz has a Horite concubine named Timna. She is the last daughter of Seir. He was pretty old when she was born, but she is still older than Eliphaz. Eliphaz gained some points with the Horites when he married her. 

Esau 

___________________oOo_____________________ 

So do I choose quick results of material gain and power or learn to be patient and believe in the promises of God? Esau’s philosophy: Who needs to depend on God for things when you can take care of it yourself? Pursue the self-centered advantage. Jacobs philosophy: Struggle with obeying God, but learn eventually to patiently wait for His promises to be fulfilled.   

God humbles those like Jacob, while others, like Esau, gain the whole world. … But lose their own soul. 

Pastor Ross 

Genesis 36 – EMAILS TO ESAU – Part 2 

Emails to Esau 2 © Image Created by Ross Cochrane

Dear Jacob, 

Happy birthday to us! 120! Can you believe another decade has past. A lot of water under the bridge and bridges burned (I hope). I hope you have a great day. 

Your homeland sounds fascinating. I guess the name Edom will always remind me of our past also, and if you don’t mind, I won’t inflame enmity by attempting to come. I hope we can still keep in contact, however.  

I can’t say I have particularly represented God very well over the years, yet at significant times in my life, He has spoken clearly to me. I have struggled with Him. But He has always been with me. I am sad to hear you have abandoned faith in Him. I hope it’s not because of me, but I fear I had a lot to do with it, although I cannot take final responsibility for your decisions. 

I am still interested in getting our family tree in order, as I now take over that responsibility from Dad. I have been married for over 40 years. You must have been married for around 80 years, so there must be quite a few children. 

Yours, 

Jacob 

___________________oOo_____________________ 

Jacob, 

Thanks for the Birthday wishes. I had forgotten. You were the only one who remembered.  

Since you don’t look like you are going to stop with this family tree thing, I’ll give you some details. 

Like you, brother, I’m a polygamist. I have three wives:  First is Judith (now known as Aholibamah), the daughter of Beeri, the Hittite, a total heathen in your eyes, brother. And Bashemath (now known as Adah), the daughter of Elon the Hittite (Genesis 36:2). 

Mum and Dad were not too impressed with my choices of wives when I told them (Genesis 26:34), so to appease them, I married my cousin, another Bashemath (now known as Mahalath), the daughter of Ishmael. It didn’t make much difference. She doesn’t believe in your God either (Genesis 28:6-9).  

If you are wondering about the name changes, in Edomite culture we change the names of our women when they are married. 

My family has prospered greatly despite our rejection of God and despite living outside of Canaan. I now have many servants and cattle.  

I have broken free from the yoke, like Dad’s blessing said.  

Since it is only my sons that interest you for your records, you can list 5.  

Adah gave birth to Eliphaz. Eliphaz strangely enough believes in God (a bit of a disappointment really). Probably influenced by his friend Job. I have to admit he’s a good tribal leader, though 

Basemath gave birth to Reuel.  Reuel is also a tribal leader.  

Oholibamah gave birth to JeushJalam, and Korah. They were all born in Canaan (Genesis 36:2-3).  

I didn’t want my kids growing up with all the God talk of my parents. So I moved to Edom some time ago, but like you came back when I heard Dad was dying. I became quite wealthy while I was in Canaan, but I could not call this my home because it is promised to you, so I packed up for good. I have no desire to live in your shadow, Jacob (Genesis 36:6). There’s not enough land to support us both because of all our livestock and possessions anyway. 

Now Dad’s gone I have moved everything to Mt Seir in Edom. You don’t need to worry. I won’t get in your way. 

Esau 

___________________oOo_____________________ 

Dear Esau, 

You and I are very different and so I guess your decision to move was wise. Nevertheless, it seems strange that your sons were born in Canaan only to move out. My sons were born out of Canaan only to move in. You acquired wealth in Canaan only to move to Edom. I acquired wealth in Padan-aram only to move to Canaan. I ran away from you after stealing your blessing. Now you move away from me in order for me to enter into that same blessing. What a strange set of circumstances. 

Tell me. Do you have any grandsons? 

Jacob 

___________________oOo_____________________ 

Jacob, 

Let’s make one thing clear, brother. I didn’t move from Canaan because of my love for you. I moved because I already have a life and own my land, which is more than you can say about Canaan. All you have is a promise and promises don’t mean anything. Get real, Jacob.  

As for Grandsons. Yes, I have 10 grandsons. I am getting old. All of them now are clan leaders of around 1000 families. 

Eliphaz has 5 children. Teman is his eldest son. Teman is a great leader. He already has a district and town named after him in Edom.  

Eliphaz also lives in Teman. Great man of wisdom. Eliphaz the Temanite. Can’t tell him anything. The whole place gives me the creeps. They’re all a lot of philosophers and know-it-alls and all they do is sit around and talk and read. A bit too cerebral for me.  

 Eliphaz has other sons, Omar, ZephoGatam and Kenaz 

I suppose you need to add another son also. Eliphaz took a concubine, just to continue the family tradition, named Timna, a local girl, and they had a son called Amalek (Genesis 36:12). He’s a tough kid. I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him. He’s not well accepted by the rest of the family. So he has moved his clan to the West of Edom. I don’t see him much 

Eliphaz also has a son-in-law, Korah, also a great leader.   

I don’t have time for other details, so here’s a quick rundown. My son Reuelm through my wife Basemath, has 4 sons: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. (Genesis 36:12-13). 

I’m going on a 3 day hunting trip through the mountains so I’ll write to you again when I get time. Might even prepare some red stew when I get back. Pity you aren’t here to cook it.   

Esau. 

___________________oOo_____________________ 

Esau is a very successful, wealthy, powerful man. Famous. The best example of a successful Atheist the world has to offer. Who says God won’t allow Atheists to succeed in life? But at what cost. Alienation from family and constant tension with the world around him. Arrogance with defying God.   

Pastor Ross 

Ancient E-mails to Esau © Image created by Ross Cochrane

Genesis 36 – E-MAILS TO ESAU – Part 1 

Hi Esau, 

It was great that you and I were there when our Dad died. So strange to think we won’t see him or Mum again. I feel a little like an orphan.  

I appreciated spending a bit of time with you after all these years, but I realised that I don’t have any real idea of who is in your family. You spoke of some of your children but I really don’t know much more. I have been compiling our family history and wondered if you would mind letting me know about your side. 

Your brother, 

Jacob (now Israel) 

___________________oOo_____________________ 

Hi Jacob, 

So, you’ve changed your name. Sorry, but you’ll always be Jacob to me (the deceiver). I’m not really into family histories and you might not like my tribe. My parents certainly didn’t. I married Canaanite wives, outside the family of faith. 

I called our tribe the tribe of Edom, partly because of my red skin colour at birth (Genesis 25:25) and partly to never forget the pot of red stew that I exchanged for my birthright. After you stole my blessing from my father, the name Edom fed my desire to kill you if I ever saw you again. But then time got in the way and it didn’t matter anymore. 

Esau  

___________________oOo_____________________ 

Hi Esau, 

I’m glad that we were able to reconcile our differences. You have certainly done well for yourself. I was wondering if I could come and visit you and perhaps further heal old wounds and get this family tree thing in order. 

Jacob 

___________________oOo_____________________ 

Jacob, 

I wouldn’t come here to visit if I were you. It not exactly a safe area for strangers. But it’s your call.  

I call the country where we live Edom, South East of the Dead Sea. It’s a mountainous area, good for hunting and we are starting to build a rock hewn city, unlike any you have ever seen.  

Seriously, I wouldn’t attempt coming here any time soon. You wouldn’t be welcome. My people don’t like strangers. They think I should have killed you when you returned to Canaan. We are an independent people with no need for God. I am building a nation that doesn’t need birthrights or blessings to survive. 

Keep writing, however, brother, and when I have time, I’ll give you a rundown of the black sheep side of the family. Your side of the family tree must be the white goat side. Do you still like wearing goat skins on your arms and neck (just joking Jacob. Relax). 

Esau 

___________________oOo_____________________ 

Esau is the firstborn of twins, a hunter, Isaac’s favorite son. He sells his birthright to Jacob for a pot of red stew, loses his father’s blessing through Jacob’s deception, marries Canaanite women to the displeasure of his parents.

An independent man, Esau hated Jacob for a time but then reconciled after 20 years of being apart. He is proud and rejects God. His success is temporary. 

Genesis 36 invites me to choose long-term commitment to God and His purposes for my life over short-term gain without Him. There will be a cost, but it is the cost of choosing to be patient for the promises of God to be fulfilled.

Pastor Ross 

Genesis 33:1-20 – HOW TO HANDLE THE GREATEST CONFLICT OF ALL

Instructions in Diplomatic Integrity – Epilogue

What a relief. Jacob reunites with Esau without bloodshed. This story shows that bitterness and feelings of revenge are a choice, not a given. Forgiveness and reconciliation, integrity and generosity are also choices we can make.

“Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, “Who are these people with you?”

“These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,” Jacob replied.” Jacob is keen to say that it is God who has blessed him. Maybe he’s also making it clear, “Keep your hands off, Esau!” only in a more subtle way.

The whole family bows before Esau to show their respect. This isn’t saying, “Esau, we are all coming under your authority”, just simply acknowledging, “we are coming into your territory.”

  1. ENSURE THAT AN AGREEMENT IS REACHED

Speckled. Image by Ross Cochrane using Paint.net, FilterForge, and Morguefile.org

Restitution © Image by Ross Cochrane using Paint.net, FilterForge, and Morguefile.org

“And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?” Esau asked. Jacob replied, “They are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship” (Genesis 33:8 NLT).

Jacob makes it quite clear that he is not coming in any way as an act of aggression as he meets Esau. This time he’s not offering a pot of stew. These animals are a means of restitution for his deceit in the past. This is a tangible way to make amends. But there is something else implied that is another hint at what Jacob has been doing.

“My brother, I have plenty,” Esau answered. “Keep what you have for yourself” (Genesis 33:9 NLT). The fact that Esau has 400 men indicates that he has made a life for himself already, perhaps as a mercenary. He obviously has plenty. But Jacob needs some indication from Esau that he has abandoned his claim to his Father’s blessing.

It is important to Jacob that he shows a gesture of reconciliation, not merely mouth the words.

“But Jacob insisted, “No, if I have found favour with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God!” (Genesis 33:10 NLT).

Strange thing to say.

Instead of struggling with Esau, Jacob struggled with God. The struggle with God meant a hip wrenched from its socket, but he did receive God’s blessing.

But why does he describe his meeting with Esau as seeing the face of God? Perhaps he sees it as a blessing. Perhaps the blessing God gave had a specific clause that Esau would not annihilate him and his family. His smile was the face of God in terms of answered prayer. His fight with God substituted for his expected fight with Esau. Perhaps this is the blessing God gave to Jacob.

But I like what the Life Essentials Study Bible says. It suggests that the animals that Jacob gave to Esau amounted to a 10th of all he had, thus being an offering to God and this is why he said: “seeing your face is like seeing the face of God.” “Though it cannot be proven from this text, it would not be surprising if Jacob’s herd totaled 5,500 animals and the 550 he gave Esau represented 10 percent of his total assets, fulfilling his vow (Genesis 28:22).”

I really like this thought. He’s not setting Esau up as God, but fulfilling his vow to God to give a tenth of all he had. He did this by giving this offering of restitution for the blessing stolen from Esau. Perhaps this was the reason he gave his promise back in Genesis 28. Perhaps he always intended his tenth to be given to God in this way.

“Please take this gift I have brought you, for God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau finally accepted the gift” (Genesis 33:11 NLT). 

Esau can see that God has blessed Jacob, so he accepts the gift.

Pastor Warren Wiersbe says “He was made a prince, but he was acting like a pauper” but this seems an unnecessary assumption. No pauper is able to offer such a generous gift. And if anything, God humbled Jacob, not exalted him, in his encounter. Jacob experienced a blessing with a limp, not a crown with a title.

In accepting the gift, the rift between Esau and Jacob is requited. Esau doesn’t say, “I demand my birthright and blessing back” but submits to Jacob’s favour as restitution for the deceptive manner of their taking, in kind.

Living as an alien to God’s promises for over 20 years, Jacob was abused for his labour but also enriched. And he enters the land God promises, injured and blessed.

There is nothing automatic about the blessing of God to Jacob. He didn’t simply inherit it from his father and he certainly didn’t achieve it through deceit. It could only enter his life through consent and grace. There is always a risk when You struggle with God. It is the greatest conflict you will ever face.

Years later, Jesus, descended from the line of Jacob and faced the greatest conflict ever faced by anyone, as He died on a Cross for our sin. The Cross is a crutch for those who realize that they walk with a limp. It is the reconciling plus sign for the human race. We need faith in Christ to take the journey God intends us to travel. It takes us into the promises of God for our lives.

God is not yet through with Jacob. This is a stepping stone to an ongoing journey in receiving all that God has promised, not just a happy ending to a feel-good movie. As we have seen in Jacob’s past, he has a tendency to make short-term choices which cause long-term pain, but through obedience he has arrived in the promised land. But he hasn’t completely arrived in terms of obedience, as he is yet to discover. (But that it for another time).

Pastor Ross

Genesis 33:1-20 – HOW TO HANDLE THE GREATEST CONFLICT OF ALL

Instructions in Diplomatic Integrity – Part 16

Jacob is leading the way concerning this potentially volatile situation with his brother Esau. What happens next is all part of the puzzle of this remarkable story.

“So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and his two servant wives. He put the servant wives and their children at the front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last” (Genesis 33:2 NLT).

Jacob puts those he loves most at the back, so if they have to run, then they’ll have a better chance, perhaps.

I am amazed at how many commentators say Jacob goes back to scheming at this point. He’s not simply going to offer those he loves to front up with Esau first! He has to put his wives and children somewhere. The Bible tells us where. Does that mean he is scheming and not trusting in God? Give him a break. He has more obvious flaws than this.

Scales2.jpg

Objectivity not favouritism © Ross Cochrane

  1. REMAIN OBJECTIVE (Genesis 33:3).

It’s not scheming that is the problem here. It is favouritism. Jacob has a favourite wife and a favourite son. It is fairly obvious to everyone that he is distancing the most loved from danger.

Later, Joseph’s brothers show their dislike for this favouritism and Jacob once more will learn the hard way. He is preparing the ground for a day of discontent. Showing favouritism and a lack of objectivity will inevitably lead to further conflict.

That changes nothing of the fact that Jacob has come a long way concerning his faith. He is going to go meet Esau and 400 men. That’s not exactly a lack of faith. He has obeyed God and has prepared well to get this far.

respect-7

Respect © Ross Cochrane

  1. RESPECT YOUR RIVAL

“Then Jacob went on ahead. As he approached his brother, he bowed to the ground seven times before him” (Genesis 33:3 NLT).

I like this. Jacob doesn’t try to hide behind his family. He goes on ahead of them to meet Esau and his 400.

Why does he bow down seven times? Is this extreme respect? Custom? This is an ancient protocol for meeting a king. Jacob, God’s diplomat, bows down. Apart from showing cultural respect for Esau whose territory he was entering, it is almost worship. I’m sure that as Jacob bowed, he was madly praying that God would stop Esau from killing him. Perhaps it was God he was connecting himself with. Stay with this thought until later because I believe here, we have a hint at what Jacob has probably been doing all along.

Nevertheless, it is confusing. According to the prophetic blessing, Esau, the elder, was meant to serve Jacob, the younger. (Genesis 27:29). His time has obviously not yet come.

Philippians 2:3-4 (NLT) adds some light by saying, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” But this is not the full story. There is something more at stake here.

altar

Reconciliation © Ross Cochrane

  1. MAKE CHOICES TOWARDS RECONCILIATION

“Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept.” 

Hate had obviously dissipated in Esau through the years. The fight with God the previous night was the only fight that Jacob would face that day. It seems it became a substitute for the fight he expected with Esau. Both men have changed.

So here is a culmination unexpected to say the least. Jacob bows in respect rather than deceitful arrogance and Esau embraces him with love rather than expected anger.

What a relief. This story shows that bitterness and feelings of revenge are a choice, not a given. Forgiveness and reconciliation, integrity and generosity are also choices we can make.

No doubt commentators will read this as a sign of weakness in both men. Some, like the famous reformist, John Calvin, suggest that God has forced Esau to be kind towards Jacob, but it is not necessary to take away a person’s will for Esau to respond well to Jacob. A change has taken place in Esau. Even without faith, Esau’s anger had time to dissipate over the years. He is ready to move on.

But it is what is said next that gives us a further hint as to what Jacob has been doing with this encounter all along. What is it? Find out by reading the Epilogue of this Story – Part 17.

Pastor Ross

Genesis 33:1-20 – HOW TO HANDLE THE GREATEST CONFLICT OF ALL

Instructions in Diplomatic Integrity – Part 15

“Then Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with his 400 men” (Genesis 33:1 NLT).

This is a showdown. The gunfight at OK Corral. Jacob has seen a host of angelic warriors and then he has seen God face to face, and but now he must come face to face with Esau. This is tense and who knows, He may soon see God face to face again, depending on the outcome.

One way or another Esau is looking forward to a reunion with his brother, either for vengeance or reconciliation. Ringing in Jacob’s ears is a threat from 20 years earlier by Esau who wanted him dead.

So Jacob doesn’t immediately think that Esau is coming with 400 men to have a party and celebrate their reunion. Would you?

He has prepared well for this standoff, but still, it must have felt like he was bringing a knife to a gunfight. He could do with a bit of angelic assistance right now (Genesis 32:1-2) but he wasn’t about to procrastinate any longer in meeting Esau (Genesis 32:3).

Standoff metal.jpg

No gun, no bullets, just respect and humility. Photo manipulation by Ross Cochrane

Crafted with respect and humility (Genesis 32:4 NLT), Jacob’s message to Esau had focused on a friendly outcome (Genesis 32:5,6 NLT). He had mastered his emotions (Genesis 32:7 NLT) but this would still be a standoff.

Having a personal relationship with God means that you are open to the impossible, which is why he is choosing not to run. Instead, he shows care for all those who were with him (Genesis 32:7-8 NLT); people are always more important than the conflict.

Talking to the only One he could really trust, he prays up a storm (Genesis 32:9 NLT). Prayer is always a good strategy in times of conflict. In prayer, he reminds God of His past faithfulness but in doing so reminds Himself of a bigger picture (Genesis 32:9 NLT). When all we can see are the difficult circumstances, we miss out on seeing God’s purposes. Jacob is real with God, admitting he is not perfect (Genesis 32:10 NLT). Recognising that we have a responsibility in owning our part in the conflict will always test faith and character.

He is specific in his prayer, outlining what he desires to take place (Genesis 32:11-12 NLT). And then, after prayer, he seems to get further revelation. He makes it easy for Esau to come to the table by giving a peace offering rather than give him an itchy trigger finger (Genesis 32:13 NLT) by reaching for his gun. It’s always good to find a way to avoid triggering further conflict. Taking every possibility into account, Jacob anticipates Esau’s questions (Genesis 32:17-20 NLT).

He realises that the stress of conflict can have a big impact on family (Genesis 32:21-23 NLT) and so Jacob seeks to minimise this as much as possible. Family is more important than our personal battles.

Inward battles of character and faith are worth fighting. Jacob will face off with Esau because he is willing to stand for what he believes in (Genesis 32:24 NLT). But he wrestles with God first and discovers that if he is willing to hold on, there will be pain as well as blessing. (Genesis 32:25,26 NLT). Even when things are painful and difficult and overwhelming in the conflict, it’s always too soon to give up. When life strikes a blow that crushes me, am I willing to hold on?

Am I prepared to allow God to confront my past in order to move on into the future with His purposes for my life? Wrestling with God will change me forever as it did with Jacob (Genesis 32:27-28 NLT).

Not all of my questions will be answered but if I am persistent in finding the right outcome, there will be breakthrough and blessing (Genesis 32:29 NLT). Don’t give up on the struggle. Don’t give up because you go through painful times that humble you into the place of complete trust. Hold on to God until the blessing comes. It will demand faith. But it’s worth it.

So often we have to wrestle with God before we can face up to our circumstances. Our struggles spiritually determine our struggles naturally. And much bigger issues are at stake.

I can use my circumstances to move forward (Genesis 32:26 NLT). Are you prepared to keep moving forward with the changes God has made in your life?

The faith journey is not always easy. Like Jacob, all I can do is acknowledge the setbacks and expect the blessings. Both are life-changing experiences that God will use for the journey ahead (Genesis 32:29,30 NLT).

When I have done all that there is to do, what next?

  1. LEAD THE WAY (Genesis 33:3). Lead by example with courage and humility.

“So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and his two servant wives. He put the servant wives and their children at the front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last …

Then Jacob went on ahead.” (Genesis 33:1-3 NLT). What happens as Jacob meets Esau? Find out in the final episode of this series, Part 15, coming soon.

Pastor Ross

Genesis 32:29-32 – HOW TO HANDLE THE GREATEST CONFLICT OF ALL

Instructions in Diplomatic Integrity – Part 14

Jacob is preparing to come face to face with Esau. Along the way, Jacob faces an assailant who turns out to be God Himself who fights with him until dawn and then blesses him? Such experiences along the way are significant. How can I keep moving forward with what I have learned?

  1. ACKNOWLEDGE THE SETBACKS AND THE SUCCESSES

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Success in the Shadow of Failure. © by Ross Cochrane

“Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.”

“The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip.” (Genesis 32:29,30 NLT).

Like Paul, Jacob became strong only when he became weak (2 Corinthians 12:1-10).

As Jacob, he had deceived his father into giving him the blessing. In this fight, he sought the blessing of God. Perhaps spiritual warfare is sometimes struggling with God for a blessing. As Israel; “One who struggled with God”, he will enter the land and into the promises of God as a man with authority and faith, but not without struggle and a limp.

The faith journey is not always easy. I acknowledge the setbacks and blessings. Both are lifechanging experiences that God will use for the journey ahead.

Later, Hosea 12:3-5 (NLT) recalls this event by saying, “Even in the womb, Jacob struggled with his brother; when he became a man, he even fought with God. Yes, he wrestled with the angel and won. He wept and pleaded for a blessing from Him. There at Bethel he met God face to face, and God spoke to him— the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the Lord is His name!” 

In Exodus 33:11 (NLT), “Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” and miracles resulted from his relationship. Gideon had an experience of meeting God face to face and did not die. Daniel, Paul and John had first hand, face to face encounters with God.

Genesis 32:32 says “(Even today the people of Israel don’t eat the tendon near the hip socket because of what happened that night when the man strained the tendon of Jacob’s hip.)”  

Nice touch to end the chapter.

Never the same again, Jacob had a new blessing, a new limp, and a new name. He was spared, delivered, saved, rescued, redeemed. His very survival recognizes the grace of God.

Jacob has faced the greatest conflict of them all. He has come face to face with God. He is yet to come face to face with Esau and his army. He has survived his encounter with God with a dislocated hip. What will his encounter with Esau bring?

Genesis 33:1 (NLT) “Then Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with his 400 men.” What happens next? (Find out by reading Part 15. Coming soon).

Pastor Ross

Genesis 32:26 – HOW TO HANDLE THE GREATEST CONFLICT OF ALL

Instructions in Diplomatic Integrity – Part 13

God appears in human form. He strikes Jacob, as well as blessing him, so that he limps forever after. Jacob recognises this “man” as one who could bless him, and as God. He holds onto God until the blessing comes. It demands faith. (See Parts 1-12). But I also need to …

  1. REALISE THAT THERE MAY BE BIGGER ISSUES AT STAKE

Love this video as an illustration of a Bigger Picture

Jacob could never have known but the blessing he received reached down through the ages and was realised in its fullness through what Christ accomplished for us on the Cross.

So often we have to wrestle with God before we can face up to our circumstances. Our struggles spiritually determine our struggles naturally. Jacob’s struggle was spiritual and natural. And much bigger issues were at stake.

How is it that God becomes a man and struggles with Jacob? We could equally ask, “How does God become a man in the form of Jesus?” We don’t know specific answers but marvel at the miracle we receive by faith.

When God became a man, in the form of Jesus, He struggled with our sin and won the victory. When God became a man and struggles with Jacob, He allowed Jacob the opportunity to win a blessing while barely able to walk away at all. This was a worship experience like nothing experienced before but Jacob must be wondering, “What now, Lord? How can I meet Esau in this broken state?”

  1. USE YOUR PREPARATION IN MOVING FORWARD

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“Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” (Genesis 32:26 NLT). Why is this wrestling champion concerned about the sun rising? He’s not afraid to be seen in the light, is He? Hardly. 1 John 1:5 (NLT) says “God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all.” 

But Jacob refuses to let him go. Does He want to go before the dawn because He wants anonymity? Too late. Jacob knows that He is God and quite capable of releasing Himself from Jacob’s grip. More likely it is something a lot simpler. God wants Jacob to get on with his meeting with Esau. It was important that Jacob meet up with his wives and children and continue on their way to fulfil God’s promises.

Many suggest that since this figure is God Himself, a Theophany, then He wants to use night to veil His appearance to protect Jacob from dying in His presence? Moses had a similar experience.

Moses in Exodus 33:18-23 (NLT) says to God,

“Then show me Your glorious presence.” The Lord replied, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will call out My name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. BUT YOU MAY NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT MY FACE, FOR NO ONE MAY SEE ME AND LIVE.” The Lord continued, “Look, stand near Me on this rock. As My glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand and let you see Me from behind. But My face will not be seen.”  

Sometimes our real conflict is not the natural one but the spiritual one that wages war on our souls. Jacob has been wrestling with God. Have you? Are you prepared to keep moving forward with the changes God has made in your life? How can you do this? (Find out by reading Part 14. Coming Soon).

Pastor Ross

Genesis 32:26-29 – HOW TO HANDLE THE GREATEST CONFLICT OF ALL

Instructions in Diplomatic Integrity – Part 11

Jacob is preparing to come face to face with Esau but along the way, Jacob faces an unknown assailant who fights with him until dawn? Jacob wouldn’t let the man go. Even after his hip is dislocated, Jacob still holds on and, of all things, asks the man for a blessing (See Part’s 1-10).

What sort of blessing is he after? We don’t know.

  1. BE WILLING TO CHANGE

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Be Willing to Change. Key Photo by GaborfromHungary, MorgueFiles

“What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won” (Genesis 32:27-28 NLT).

So this verse finally tells us who it is who has been wrestling with Jacob, and I am surprised that it is God. God in human form is always astonishing, and this is one of the strangest examples of a Theophany in history.  

“What is your name?” God asks. Jacob had to admit that he was Jacob, meaning the supplanter, the deceiver. Years ago, when his father had asked him “Who are you, my son?” Jacob had lied and told him that he was Esau in order to receive the blessing. Now he admits that he is Jacob and receives the blessing that God always intended. He comes before God with honest intention and his name is changed.

This was not a dream because Jacob came away with a physical injury; a limp for the rest of his life, and a name change that established his faith and authority. We are not told directly, but it is inferred that God changed Jacob’s name because Jacob means deceiver, supplanter, and Israel means One who has struggled with God and man. Change of name, change of spiritual authority.

Am I prepared to allow God to confront my past in order to move on into the future with His purposes for my life? Wrestling with God will change me forever.

  1. ACCEPT THAT NOT ALL QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED

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Not all Questions Will Be Answered © by Ross Cochrane

Why would God attack Jacob? We are not told. How does Jacob start to win? We don’t know. Why would God dislocate Jacob’s hip? Does God inflict harm on his servants? This may have been a spiritual struggle but it resulted in a physical injury delivered by God with a striking blow of violence. Why did Jacob ask God for a blessing after being injured? The writer is obviously not interested in answering my questions.

Lord, You do some strange things sometimes. Wrenching a socket out from Jacob’s thigh is not exactly what Jacob would have expected that night. It was certainly not what I expected You would do, especially since he is about to face Esau’s army of 400 men. If he wasn’t humbled before, he is now?

Lord, aren’t You the One who heals us, not cripples us? Yet the Hebrew word ‏נגע‎ naga apparently means an aggressive “strike” designed to harm. The blow that came from Your hand was so violent and disabling. How do I come to a place of blessing when there is so much pain? (Find out in Part 12. Coming Soon.)

Pastor Ross