Summary: When faced with difficult situations, we need to keep on praying until God blesses.
I. The Problem at Hand (Genesis 32:3-8)
a. Problems get closer and larger (v. 6)
b. Panic sets in (v. 7-8)
II. The Prayer for Help (Genesis 32:9-12)
a. Remember God’s direction (v. 9)
b. Humility displayed (v. 10)
c. Fear’s cries (v. 11)
d. Promise claimed (v. 12)
III. The Preparation for Harmony (Genesis 32:13-23)
a. A Willingness to give up “things” (v. 13-20)
b. Action to back up intentions (v. 21-23)
IV. The Persistence in Hope (Genesis 32:24-32)
a. A struggle for hope (v. 24-25)
b. Never giving up until victorious (v. 26-29)
c. Joy despite scars (v. 30-32)
V. The Provision of the Holy One (Genesis 33:1-20)
a. The welcome (v. 1-4)
b. The effect on the family (v. 5-7)
c. A giving attitude in the face of blessing (v. 8-11)
d. The leading of the Holy One (v. 12-20)
God still answers prayers! The people of God ought to know His power through the many blessings that we have experienced because of prayer. Many years ago, a man once proclaimed that prayer doesn’t change anything except the state of mind of the person praying. In a world and in a nation where people pride themselves on their own self-will, the church is slowly moving away from prayer and its power to change things. Many pulpits and teacher’s lecterns have become a haven for this kind of thinking. “You can do it yourself!” “It’s entirely up to you to determine your fate.” These quotes are killing faith in what God can do if we simply call upon His name. God still hears and answers prayer. The answer may not be in a fashion that we so desire, but in the long term (a phrase that frightens Christians because of unsurety), we benefit more because of His answers. Romans 8:28 reminds the Christian that “…God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” As Christians we are all called according to His purpose. In other words, God will handle it all for our benefit.
In Genesis 32, we find an interesting story of a very blessed Jacob who has found out that his twin brother, Esau, is coming to meet him. Normally, a family gathering is not such a bad ordeal, but we must remember the Jacob and Esau saga. Esau was the oldest and a hard worker. Jacob was a “mama’s boy.” Jacob and found more favor in his mother’s sight, and she worked with him to trick his father, Isaac, into giving him the blessing that Esau rightly deserved. Esau was infuriated with Jacob for stealing what was rightfully his. To add further insult, one day Esau had worked himself very hungry and begged Jacob for food. Jacob bargained with Esau in a time of Esau’s weakness and managed to convince Esau to give up his birthright for the food. To sum things up, Esau had plenty to be fuming about.
Thankfully, we can say that Jacob matured in his righteousness, and God had blessed him through many struggles—in particular the deception of his father-in-law. Now Jacob is journeying onward, and God is preparing yet more blessings on his life. As he is journeying, he is faced with the news that his brother is coming to meet him. Since they didn’t exactly part on great terms, Jacob is fearful of his brother’s wrath. Esau was now a prince (God still blessed him.) and was coming with four hundred men to deal with Jacob, roughly or gently. Now Jacob is faced with a decision—use his own wisdom and face possible death or seek God’s answer.
The interesting note that is overlooked is found in verses one and two. Jacob is now faced with a great trial, and great fear has come upon him. He is so distraught that he is assembling a peace offering for his brother hoping that Esau will not kill him. However, in verses one and two, we find that as Jacob journeyed, he meets the angels of the Lord and rejoices to see their presence. He rejoices in it so much that he even gives the place a name that means “two camps” or “two companies”—God’s camp coinciding with Jacob’s camp. (Just as a note for all Christians, our camp ought to be the same as God’s camp.) The angels were there to comfort him and to remind him of God’s presence and protection before a great trial. God is always present no matter what the struggle or trial may be! Too often we forget that great truth. Dr. Johnny Hunt once said, “The way you confront great trial is with great Truth.” (“The Difference Your Service Makes”) The truth is that God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent! Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). He will supply all your NEED according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19). “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).