Summary: Jacob Meets Esau. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: email@example.com)
Reading: Genesis chapter 33 verses 1-20.
• The Victorian artist James Whistler;
• Showed scant respect for the hierarchy of any profession.
• When his poodle fell ill with a throat infection,
• The artist immediately sent for the country’s leading ear, nose, and throat specialist,
• When Sir Morell Mackenzie was shown his patient, he was not amused!
• But he conducted a thorough examination, wrote out a prescription, and left with his fee.
• The next day Sir Morell Mackenzie sent the artist James Whistler a message;
• In it he asked him to call on him without delay.
• Fearing some development in the poodle’s condition,
• The artist James Whistler hurried to the doctor’s house.
• “So good of you to come, Mr. Whistler,” said Mackenzie as his visitor was shown in.
• “I wanted to see you about having my front door painted.”
• Well Sir Morell Mackenzie got his revenge;
• And made his point effectively!
• Revenge or reconciliation, which one will dominate our Bible passage this evening?
• Hang on in there to find out!
SO FAR IN THESE FEW CHAPTERS OF GENESIS:
• Jacob has been reconciled to Laban (chapter 27 verse 41).
• Laban was twice Jacob’s father-in-law who badly tricked him.
• Jacob has also been reconciled to God (chapter 32 verses 22-32).
• And as a result he had been given a new name; ‘Israel’.
• The question that needs answering in this chapter is;
• Will there be a third reconciling i.e. Jacob and Esau?
• If it isn’t a reconciliation;
• Then as sure as ‘eggs are eggs’ it was going to be a bloodbath?
• For anyone who might not know, Jacob and Esau are brothers:
• But the last time the two brothers met, they fell out with each other.
• The row was because Jacob tricked his brother older brother Esau,
• The deception meant that he (Jacob the younger) and not Esau, got the family blessing.
• When Esau realised he had been made to look a fool and he had missed the blessing.
• It was too late.
• As a result of this deception Jacob had to quickly leave his home and land.
• Because Esau was determined to kill him.
When we pick up the story in genesis chapter 33:
• Twenty years have passed by;
• And Jacob has been commanded by God (chapter 31 verse 13) to return back to his home.
• That of course prevents Jacob with a big problem;
• The unsettled dispute with his brother Esau who still lives there.
• Jacob may want to be reconciled to his brother Esau.
• But as far as he knows Esau certainly doesn’t want to be reconciled to him?
• And as Esau was both a fighter and a killer,
• Jacob is naturally worried & scared that some fighting & killing might be coming his way!
One New Year’s Eve at London’s Garrick Club,
• British dramatist Frederick Lonsdale;
• Was asked by Symour Hicks to reconcile with a fellow member.
• The two had quarrelled in the past and never restored their friendship.
• “You must,” Hicks said to Lonsdale.
• “It is very unkind to be unfriendly at such a time.
• Go over now and wish him a happy New Year.”
• So Lonsdale crossed the room and spoke to his enemy.
• “I wish you a happy New Year,” he said, “but only one.”
• It takes two willing parties for reconciliation to take place;
• Jacob was willing but Esau is an unknown ‘number’ in this equation.
• When we pick up the story in chapter 32 (last week) and chapter 33;
• Jacob is a worried, an anxious man:
Quote: Navy Law:
“If you can keep your head when all about you others are losing theirs,
may be you just don’t understand the situation”.
• Jacob is a worried, an anxious man all he can think of is, “What will Esau do to me?”
• Despite the promises of God (it will be alright) Jacob is a troubled man!
There is a story told about a construction worker.
• This construction worker was employed on a high-rise building project,
• Which required him and others to work after dark.
• He was busy on the edge of one of the walls which was many stories high,
• When he suddenly lost his balance and fell.
• As he fell over the edge,
• He managed to grab the edge of the wall with his fingertips.
• Desperately he hung on hoping that somebody would discover his perilous situation.
• He was in total darkness, just about hanging on to the wall, and crying out loud for help,