Summary: Jacob Meets Esau. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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;