The Cloud of Witnesses
Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible
Lesson 6: Jacob – Encounters Esau
You have to face your fears or they will haunt you forever!
I wonder if Paul was thinking of Jacob and Esau when he wrote - Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath! Ephesians 4:26
Jacob had run away from Esau, and his murderous intentions, to Laban. Jacob had caused the offence. He had stolen Esau’s blessing and gone running. He had neither apologised nor sought forgiveness. Maybe he thought that he had forfeited that right, having plotted and ‘obtained’ the only blessing there was. Whatever the reason, he had denied himself the only antidote to guilt and the only source of peace.
Was that guilt the driving force behind his hard work? Was that fear the reason he decided to excel in his labours? To try and appease a sense of unworthiness and achieve some sense of security and significance?
He had ‘buried’ the past and the skeleton was lying upright in a cupboard ready to ‘fall out’ as soon as the door was opened. Sooner or later it was going to raise its ugly head! Ironically, the more successful Jacob became the sooner he would have to deal with the past catching up on him. News travels fast – ‘good news’ goes even faster and further. Inevitably, Esau was bound to hear about his brother’s growing family and wealth.
To make matters worse, things back ‘at home’ were approaching a rough patch and it was time for Jacob to leave Laban and return to his own homeland – and Esau – even if he was to be just ‘a neighbour’! How could he ‘face’ Esau? Answer – he couldn’t before he had a fresh encounter with God! But he could after that. Why? Because he had found grace in the ‘eyes’ of God and the Lord had replaced fear and guilt with true humility. Yes, with a new name and a permanent limp!
He would face Esau, no longer in his own strength and power, but in the strength and by the grace of God alone. He had surrendered his sword for the Hand of God. Yes, he still planned to overwhelm Esau with generosity but he would leave the outcome to God. There would be no fight, no one-upmanship, and no superiority - for the ‘battle’ was the Lord’s.
Who won? God won! Esau went back to Seir and Jacob to the ‘promised land’!
Jacob would say to us today...
Most of us have ‘skeletons’ in the cupboard. Open the cupboard and let them out – because exposing them, facing them and dealing with them will eventually set you free from them! But hand it over to God and let Him do it!
Father, I ask that you help me deal with any and all the skeletons You see in my cupboard. Please help me realise that as I expose them to You, You are able and willing to destroy them and set me free. Thank You Lord Jesus. Amen.
John 21:15-22; 1 Samuel 17:12-51; Acts 26:1-32; Ephesians 4:20-32.
Why are we afraid to face our fears?
What are the potential results of procrastination when we need to deal with an issue confronting us?
What does God need to do in your life to set you completely free from the past, from guilt or from fear?