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Summary: Even as Jacob and Esau meet, it seems like Esau is the more righteous of the two brothers. However, it is Jacob whom God has chosen.

Genesis 33 (quickview) 

January 24, 2004

One of the big questions that the book of Genesis has answered has been, "Where do we come from?" For the Israelites sitting around Mount Sinai this has been pretty heady stuff. The creation of the world, the deliverance through the flood and the story of the patriarchs had brought all of human history down to one nation at one point of time. It is easy to understand why the Israelites could get a big head as they saw themselves as God’s chosen people. However, when we look at the history, time and again God keeps bringing them back to earth.

Today the meeting of Jacob and Esau.

1. Jacob prepares to meet Esau 33:1-3

Even now after encountering God, Jacob shows his preferences within his family. He goes to meet Esau first, but he still shows favouritism to Rachel.

2. The reconciliation 33:4-7

Jacob is the trembling, fearful brother. He speaks to his brother as though he were a servant and his brother a great lord.

Esau embraces his brother - meets the family. The whole picture of Esau is one which paints him as being genuinely happy to see his brother. There is no hate. He seems in every aspect to be genuinely pleased for Jacob.

3. The question of the gifts 33:8-11

Jacob is still trying to bribe

4. The offer of help 33:12-17

Again there does not seem to be any hidden motives in Esau’s offer, yet Jacob again uses deceit to avoid going with his brother.

Who comes off as the nice guy in the story?

Esau is painted in a much better light than Jacob. Jacob again comes across as the fearful, weak brother.

Who is the recipient of God’s grace?

Jacob! It is not because he was better than Esau, but because God in His grace had chosen Jacob!


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