We got a new chandelier over the holidays and FINALLY got it hung this weekend…and well, you have to do SOMETHING with the box…I used the chandelier box and an old carseat box that I was sure we could use one day—and now it’s officially been used as a pirate ship! Complete with a looking tower and a sail! And just for fun–I really need your opinion on what came in our original box—does our new chandelier need shades??? I could go either way…
Richard said it makes him feel like we live in a gothic castle…and I disagree. I wanted something rustic, but I’m thinking without shades–maybe he’s right. OK–back to pirates—today’s reading is ANOTHER GREAT one…and the big question here–is what do you do when you face those bad pirates in your life? Or rather…when you hit trouble…what do you do?
We start off the chapter with God’s grace–His sending angels to ENCOURAGE Jacob with His DIVINE PROTECTION. When you stay in God’s Word and in prayer–He will always equip you for what is ahead. Get that?! When God designs you for trials, He prepares you by great comforts. He sent angels to welcome Jacob, remind him he is on the right path AND that he will be with him on this journey. COMFORT. I’m sure that felt AMAZING to see angels…to be reminded the Lord is with Him. And Jacob would have this encounter to CLING to during the trials ahead…and in this reading friends—they are coming.
Immediately after this, Jacob sends word to Esau that he is coming. Jacob gets word that Esau got the message…and he’s making warlike preparations at his coming. At first, Jacob is filled with fear. BUT–remember the angels Jacob? Remember God speaking to you Jacob? And what does Jacob do in response???
Yes–that’s right. Jacob hit his knees. And his prayer is a BEAUTIFUL model for how we should pray in moments of fear. He declares who the Lord is–reminds the Lord and himself of the Lord’s promises, humbles himself declaring his unworthyness and NEED for the Lord, confesses his fear and confidently claims the Lord’s promise. Good stuff Jacob. I love seeing Jacob walking with the Lord here!
Jacob then has a grand plan to send gifts in seperated groups in hopes to win Esau over with gifts…or at least soften his heart and keep him from wanting to kill Jacob. Then–we have what may seem in verses 24-32 just like a random story of a man coming to wrestle Jacob. I had to pull out some research and commentary help on this one. This man is actually an angel–and this is a nightlong wrestle struggle is an emblem of the true spirit of prayer. There is no act that requires more unceasing pushing, urging…non-ending holding than wrestling. Have you had a prayer need lately that you LONGED for? And have you tossed up a quick prayer for it and something about it just didn’t seem right…or fitting? God is showing us here how to pray. He wants us to be on our KNEES…when danger comes…to hit our knees before Him and WRESTLE our cause! He wants us to plead our case…declare His promises and STAND UP with power of the Holy Spirit and TRUST HIM in the morning! AMEN!?
And that…was just chapter 32! Aren’t you glad you are reading this year. The Word is so powerful isn’t it?!
And what happend after all this wrestling? Esau finally sees Jacob–he runs to him, he embraces him, he kisses him…and they BOTH wept. Thank you Jesus! We are reminded of your power and your love! GOD HAS THE HEARTS OF ALL MEN AND CAN TURN AND CHANGE THEM HOW HE PLEASES! DID YOU READ THAT?! READ IT AGAIN! GOD HAS THE HEARTS OF ALLLLLLL MEN AND CAN TURN AND CHANGE THEM HOW HE PLEASES! Never underestimate the power of PRAYER!
And now get this: When a man’s ways please the Lord—He will make a way! He will make a way where even his enemies are at peace with him!
Finally in chapter 33, Jacob does not completely follow Esau. I’m sure this saddened Esau, but Jacob was being obedient to where the Lord was calling him to go. It was also wise of Jacob to not go with Esau and to be influenced by him and his rule. He resisted the temptation to be a pleaser and to go the easy route, and instead he was obedient to go where the Lord was calling him to go.
This is our dramatic chapter of today’s reading. Just warning you if you haven’t read already. Dinah, Jacob and Leah’s daughter, decides her curiosity can wait no more. She just HAS to go into the other town and see what kind of clothes the other women wear…what they people do there…what it looks like…and even to be seen. It was unwise for her to go without protection to an unknown place. And sadly, she is seized and raped by Shechem (Hamor’s son). Shechem falls in love with Dinah and tells Hamor he wants her for his wife. So…ole Hamor takes off to make a deal with Jacob.
Hamor proposes they share their sons, daughters, land and livestock–and Jacob’s sons agree if everyone in the town will get circumcized. This was all part of their plot as they were already so angered by Dinah being taken advantage of. So…while they were all still healing from their circumcisions (ouch!)–Simeon and Levi hit the town up and slaughter all the men AND led their children and wives away as slaves. They were angered and wanted justice—only this wasn’t the way to get it. They let their anger overtake them…and they tried to hide behind it righteously by saying it was for a good cause. Let us never manipulate religion or “making things right” for our own desires. Oh that the Lord would give us soft hearts that will be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…and also quick to forgive!
Our story today ends with Jacob’s sadness and anger over Levi and Simeon’s sin. They must now leave–and Jacob asks all his people to cleanse themselves and get rid of their idols. Better late than never—but oh how I wish Jacob had called his family to this earlier. Don’t wait for problems to come up before you evaluate your home and have to make changes after something devestating happens. Ask the Lord now to bring more of Himself into your home NOW—and to show you what you need out. It amazed me how the Lord caused a terror of the Lord to fall on the people of the town so they could pass without harm. Again…the Lord can do anything to make a way even when their seems to be no way–and for Jacob at the time…he probably felt that they didn’t have a chance.
God speaks and tells them another one of His names on their journey EL-SHADDAI “God-Almighty”. I love this. I’m sure so many of their family were amazed that no one bothered them as they went through the town…and God let them in on a little more of Himself…El-Shaddai.
Lastly, we end on Rachel giving birth to her second son. And sadly, she is dying in labor. She gives him the name Ben-oni (son of my sorrow), which I’m sure she felt at the time. I know Jacob felt that too. But instead of giving the boy a name where he would always have to remember that his birth caused sorrow (I’m so thankful Jacob changed it!), he gave him the name Benjamin “son of my right hand”. So thankful with the Lord we also are given a new life and a new name!
Pirate Frank and Andrea