Genesis 33: Dear Esau . . .

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Dear Esau,

I am writing to you from my camp near Shechem and staring up at an altar I just built. I called it “El-Elohe-Israel” which means “Mighty is the God of Israel.” That probably doesn’t make much sense to you right now but if you have a few minutes, I want to tell you why I built it and why I gave it that name.

I have spent the last 20 years on the run because I was afraid of you. I did some pretty messed up stuff to you when we were younger and if I remember right, you wanted to kill me for it. Honestly, I can’t blame you.

But the God of our father and his father told me to come back here,

So I came back.

I was terrified; scared out of my mind that you would greet me with the point of a sword in my gut. What did you want me to think? You brought 400 men with you for crying out loud!

The night before we met I was alone. I just needed some time to be by myself to prepare for what was looking to be my death. I don’t have time to go into the details but that God that father and grandfather followed? I literally fought with him. I know, it sounds weird but I have the limp to prove it. I thought he was trying to kill me

But he BLESSED me.

Then I met you.

You ran to me. You embraced me. You kissed me. I’m pretty sure there were tears.

There wasn’t a trace of anger or bitterness or resentment in your voice. You were excited to meet my family. You didn’t want my gifts but then you took them when I insisted. You wanted to travel with me. And when I wanted to stay back you offered your own people to help out.

And I can’t for the life of me figure out why.

All I know is that it reminds me of God. He was merciful to me. You were merciful to me. Truly, seeing you is like seeing the face of God.

So I built an altar. I want to remember this. I want my family to remember it. I want everyone who sees this thing to know that God is mighty.

Just not in the way they might think.

Our God is mighty in mercy and favor. I didn’t deserve it from him and I didn’t deserve it from you. Yet here I am: alive and well with you welcoming me back in a way I could never have hoped.

Thank you my brother. It is good to see you.

Jacob.

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4 responses

  1. I really loved that post. I have a question I’d like your opinion on. At the beginning of Genesis 33, when Jacob looks up and there’s Esau, he splits his family, putting the servant wives and their children in front, then Leah and her kids, and finally Rachel and Jacob. Does it look to you like he’s protecting the ones who mean the most to him, thinking Esau’s going to attack so he wants them in the back? Just curious and wanted another opinion. Again, beautiful post.

    • Thanks! I had a lot of fun writing this one. I think I would like to do more posts from the perspective of a certain character.

      I think you may be right. There are several instances where Jacob acts slightly different with Rachel and her children. Joseph is his favorite son. He refuses to let any harm come to Benjamin. He even renames Benjamin from “son of my trouble” to “son of my right hand.” I happen to think that his “right hand” was rachel. But that might just be me.

  2. Have you ever wondered why God chose Jacob to be the father of Israel, rather than Esau? Esau seems compassionate and the kid at the playground who always gets shoved out of the way. Jacob, on the other hand, is aggressive and selfish. Not really a role model. Thoughts?

    • I don’t know if I have wondered that exact thing, but I have wondered similar things. Like why did he choose Abraham? Why did he commit himself to that family? I have no idea. But you are totally right about Esau and Jacob. Esau is clearly the better choice in this chapter.

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