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Bible 101 Lesson 6A

Jim Parker

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Bible 101 Lesson 6
Gen 32:1-32 So Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp.”
And he called the name of that place Mahanaim.

Here is a sign from God to Jacob that God is protecting him. The host of the angels of God was revealed to him as being near to him. This should give him courage and assurance that God was doing what He said HE would back at Gen 31:3:

Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.”

But does it give him courage and assurance that God will be with him?

Gen 32:3-5
Jacob sent messengers to his brother Esau to tell him that Jacob was returning and was hoping that he “May find grace in your sight.” He wanted to “test the waters to see if Esau was still angry and if Esau still wanted to kill him for stealing his blessing.

The messengers came back but they do not have anything reassuring to say. In fact, what they told him struck fear into his heart.

Gen 32:6-8 Then the messengers returned to Jacob, saying,
“We came to your brother Esau, and he also is coming to meet you,
and four hundred men are with him.” So Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed;
and he divided the people that
were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels,
into two companies.
And he said, “If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it,
then the other company which is left will escape.”

So Jacob trusts the Lord enough to continue on his journey back to his family but he “hedged his bet.” In case things didn’t work like he hoped they would, he divided his company so that, if the worst happens, he won’t loose everything.

Jacob reminded God of His promises. (Just in case God had forgotten.) Jacob was in the process of learning to trust God. He hadn’t gotten to the place of full trust in the Lord but he hadn’t turned around and run away from his brother either. He intended to proceed according to God’s promise but just wanted to be reassured that God would keep His promises.

Gen 32:9-12 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,
lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children.
For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea,
which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ ”

Lets take a look at that prayer.
O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac

God is the God of his father and grandfather. Notice Jacob did not say “MY God.”

the LORD who said to me, ‘Return to your country
and to your family, and I will deal well with you

Jacob called the God of his fathers “the LORD who said to me” as if he wasn’t quite sure of his relationship with the God of his fathers, but he pointed out that he is doing what the LORD said to do to make sure the LORD knew he was being obedient and trusting Him. He was doing what the LORD told him to do and was telling the LORD that now it was time for Him to do what He said HE would do. (We have a deal her, right LORD?)

Jacob sounds a lot like how I feel when I pray to the LORD asking Him to make sure He remembers to do what He promised to do.
I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies
and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant

He did not have any illusions about what kind of person he is. He knew that he lied to his own father and cheated and stole from his brother and that he dealt cunningly with Laban.

for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff,
and now I have become two companies.

He started with nothing and now is wealthy because of God’s blessings on him.

Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau;
for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children.

He admitted his fear of his brother. who is bringing four hundred men with him. and his helplessness to defend himself and his family from his brother’s wrath.

He sought God’s protection since he was helpless to defend himself, his wives and his children. Then he reminded the LORD of His promise. (Just to make sure God didn’t forget)

FOR YOU SAID, ‘I will surely treat you well,
and make your descendants as the sand of the sea,
which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ ”
 
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