THE RECONCILIATION OF JACOB AND ESAU

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    [Genesis:33:1-20]; [Genesis:35:1-20].

    Lesson No.: 
    26
    Class: 
    Junior
    Memory Verse: 

    "There hath not failed one word of all His good promise"  (I Kings 8:56).

    Notes: 

    The Joy of Reconciliation
    The moment of reconciliation between Jacob and Esau had come. Jacob had been dreading this day for more than twenty years -- until that night on the banks of the brook Jabbok when he prevailed with God and received the assurance that he would meet his brother in peace. He left the scene of that conflict with a physical limp, but with a new name and a witness that as a prince he had power with God.

    Jacob set his family in order for their advance, then he went ahead of all of them and bowed himself seven times before Esau. There were none of the characteristics left of the former self seeking, arrogant Jacob. He came to Esau asking mercy and offering love; and Esau's heart was touched, and they wept as they embraced. The past hatreds and jealousies were forgotten, and they were at peace.

    "When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him" (Proverbs:16:7). Jacob's life after he met God at Bethel, the first time, had been conformed to His divine will, and now he was enjoying the blessings of complete reconciliation.

    Esau was surprised to see all the women and children in Jacob's family, and asked who they were. Jacob answered that they belonged to him, graciously given to him by God.(Jacob now had eleven sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, and Joseph. Benjamin was born a little later. From these twelve sons of Jacob we have the twelve tribes of Israel.)

    Esau's Acceptance of Jacob's Gifts
    Esau then wanted to know why Jacob had sent the gifts of cattle to him. Jacob answered that he wanted to find favour in the eyes of his brother, and hoped the gifts would please him. Esau said he had plenty of his own, and at first refused to accept them. When Jacob insisted, he finally consented. It was the custom at that time for a man to show his forgiveness by accepting a present from the one who had wronged him. If Esau had not accepted Jacob's gift, Jacob would have had no assurance that he was forgiven. By Esau's consenting to take the present, he bound himself to be a friend.

    Esau offered to help Jacob move his family home, but it was difficult to travel with the women, small children, and huge flocks and herds. If they became too tired they would die. So Jacob told Esau to go ahead, and he would follow at a more leisured pace, in keeping with the strength of his company.

    Jacob's Thanks to God
    Jacob did not immediately head for his father's house, but turned toward Succoth, and then to Shalem where he bought some land, which was later used as a burying ground for Joseph and given to his children for an inheritance.

    As soon as Jacob settled in any place, he built an altar unto God. This place was no exception. He did not feel that having gained victories with God and man he could now neglect his spiritual life. God said to the Children of Israel at one time: "When thou shalt have eaten and be full; then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt" (Deuteronomy:6:11,12).

    When we go through hard places we feel that we have to lean upon the Lord, but we must be careful that when we have triumphed we do not become "at ease in Zion" and let the enemy of our souls draw us away from God. Jacob rejoiced in the victories he had won, and honoured God for His tender mercies. He called the altar, El elohe Israel, which meant God the God of Israel, signifying that he claimed his new name, and offered himself afresh to God. Here he worshiped the only true God in the midst of a sinful people.

    Questions: 

    1. Why did Jacob bring gifts unto Esau?
    2. At first, did Esau want to accept Jacob's gifts?
    3. Does the 4th verse show us that all was forgiven?
    4. God had brought Jacob back home in peace. Do you remember the place where God promised He would do this?
    5. Does God ever fail to keep His promise?