Today's Manna

January 23, 2017
A Little Humility Goes a Long Way
by Matt Alvarado
Scripture Reading: Genesis 32-33

When it comes to siblings and reconciliation of any type, it's sometimes hard to find, not because they hate each other, but because, well, they're related, like Jacob and Esau, who had been fighting since birth! In this portion of scripture, Jacob showed humility, which was rare for him prior to this time because humility is the result of a strong relationship with God and total respect for what it means to worship God.

In Genesis 32, the first wave of humility is demonstrated in the message Jacob sent to Esau. As Esau’s brother and one who was promised to be blessed by the Lord, Jacob could have sent a strong, salty message demanding a meeting with his brother. Instead, he refers to his brother as lord and himself as a servant, seeking favor and grace from Esau.

When messengers reported that Esau was headed Jacob's way with 400 men, after dividing his family into two groups as a protective measure, Jacob humbly cried out to God for deliverance based upon God’s promise to bless him. Jacob humbled himself by refusing to prepare for a fight with Esau’s men, choosing instead to send livestock in waves to Esau as a peace offering, showing his desire to reconcile with his brother.

In chapter 33, Jacob finally met his brother, fully expecting to be attacked or hated. Esau instead runs to him, embraces him, kisses him, and is overjoyed to see him! When Esau asked about the gifts, Jacob told Esau they were meant to secure his favor because God had shown him (Jacob) so much favor. Esau finally accepted the gifts and the brothers parted ways, Esau to Mt. Seir and Jacob to Canaan. In yet another act of humility and thankfulness, Jacob built an alter to the Lord and worshipped God for everything He had done.

Overall, reconciliation was achieved and God was glorified through Jacob’s humility. Although Jacob had struggled mightily in his walk with God up to this point, his wrestling match with God led him to finally realize he could not protect himself against Esau or secure God’s blessings through deceit or self-will. He realized he needed to cling to God because he was completely dependent upon God for His blessings. Therefore Jacob, meaning deceiver, confessed to being a deceiver when he told God his name. As a result, Jacob left his encounter with God a new man with a new name, Israel (prince with God), and a new walk (a limp). This signifies that you can't experience God without forever being changed.

May we humble ourselves before God by confessing that we have also tried to secure God’s blessings through our own abilities. Then, let us live according to our new names (Christians) by walking (living) in a way that shows we have been forever changed as a result of our experience with the Lord Jesus Christ.

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