Genesis 33 contains the story of the dreaded and fearful reunion between Jacob and Esau. Jacob was afraid, probably rightfully so, that brother Esau would still be ticked about the shenanigans he had pulled stealing his birthright and blessing. As Esau and his men approached Jacob splits his family up and greets Esau a bit at a time so it things go badly, Rachel and Joseph are in the back of the line. As he “approached his brother…..Esau ran up and embraced him, held him tight and kissed him”. Can you visualize it? Jacob had created a monster in his mind of what Esau would do when he came face to face with him. Can’t say it wouldn’t really make sense if there had been a little venting occur after the things Jacob did. But Esau comes peacefully and Jacob shows off all his family and talks about the gifts he has given for Esau. Of course we see the normal “I have plenty of everything…keep what is yours” moment as Esau says a polite no but Jacob insists. So the reunion happens and goes much better than Jacob had expected.
I think this chapter makes a couple key points we need to camp on a bit. First, Jacobs return was based on God’s direction to leave and go back to the land he had come from. It was God’s idea, not Jacob’s wild hair that led them to this place. So part of Jacob’s fear here is a lack of faith. He allowed his mind to run wild with all that could happen as he walked in obedience. Do you wrestle with that – the enemy causing doubt and fear when in fact you are walking in obedience? I think it is a pretty common situation that we find ourselves in. I hear it pretty regularly from believers when they are struggling to live in alignment with God’s will. “I can’t do this or that because”….even though they know it is clearly God’s will because the Bible tells them so. We tend ot make up excuses for our behavior and our choices. God is not really interested in what we think – He is absolutely interested in our heart and how we live. Obedience is His measuring stick. The other truth is that we often concoct things we believe others are thinking and planning with no basis in truth at all. How many times have you been worried about what someone thinks of you, or what somebody is planning to do without even talking to or checking those thoughts out? We allow our mind to dream up some pretty strange stuff sometimes. My dad always told me not to worry about what other people thought because most of the time they weren’t thinking what I thougth they were anyway. That is so true. We make these things up that we convince ourselves other people think which are not even close usually. The key is we have to live for an audience of One. If we are focused on living for God and He alone is our direction and the source of what we do, it doesn’t matter what others think or say. That is how we should live – for Him and Him alone – well maybe include the wife in here because she is often a messenger God uses to provide a message I am too stubborn to hear myself – but God is about me walking with Him and living for Him. An audience of One. Is that how you live?