This sermon is part of the sermon series A Messy, Blessed Life.See series.
Jacob was facing the biggest crisis of his life. Esau, the twin brother he had conned out of both birthright and blessing, was coming his way with 400 men. Jacob couldn't turn back. He had vowed before God that he wouldn't return to the land of his uncle, Laban. Jacob had to meet Esau tomorrow, and for once, he had nothing up his sleeve.
Jacob had done everything he could do. He had no army. For all we know, he didn't even have a weapon. To prepare, Jacob had done just three things: he had divided his camp so that at least half might be spared; he had sent five herds of more than 550 animals ahead as gifts to pacify Esau; and he had prayed. The most important of these things was prayer. He reached back to grab onto God's promises and bent low to admit how unworthy he was of all God's goodness. He had prayed that most basic of all prayers: "Save me, I pray, for I am afraid."
The treasured life God had promised to his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham was almost within in his grasp. It was just on the other side of this little river, Jabbok. And just like all the other times, there was Esau in the way. His old nemesis. This was the story of his life! Esau had elbowed his way ahead of Jacob when they came out of the womb, and now he was in the way again.
Jacob had nothing to do but count the dark hours. It was late and tomorrow was D-Day. One way or another, he and Esau would have it out, once and for all. Like I said already, this time Jacob didn't have a trick up his sleeve. No red stew. No goat-hair disguise. He knew he couldn't fight. He had sent all his animals and all his family across the river ahead of him—everything he had—and now he sat there alone. I think Jacob was earnestly trying to trust ...
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Lee Eclov is pastor of Village Church of Lincolnshire in Lake Forest, Illinois and author of Pastoral Graces: Reflections on the Care of Souls (Moody Publishers). Eclov also leads a gathering of pastors for mutual support and learning called Pastors' Gatherings. To find out more about these Gatherings visit his site www.leeeclov.com.