by Glen Penton

When our ancestor Israel, like his descendants today, was returning to the Land of Promise after a long absence, he sent a message of friendship and generosity to his brother who lived in the Land. Then as now, Israel's friendship was refused, and his brother gathered an army to attack and kill him.

According to Genesis 32:7, Israel was afraid. He did not want his brother to kill him. He was also distressed. He did not want to have to kill his brother. So he took the necessary and appropriate action:

1. He made emergency preparations, so that if an attack occurred immediately, there would still be a minimum number of lives lost.

2. Then he prayed. In his prayer he expressed these concepts:

3. After prayer, he tried to appease his brother with gifts, and made further plans to defend himself and his family if necessary. The more things change there in the Land, the more they stay the same, don't they?

So in the day of his distress, our ancestor took emergency action, then prayed, then did everything God had given him wisdom to do about the situation. Then God met him in it. And because you belong to Israel, He wants to meet with you in your time of crisis also. Invite Him. Then get ready the best you know how.

The story of how God met Jacob that night
A list of ten especially good things He had done for all of us
More about Esau and Jacob
Israel's future prayer
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Genesis 32

{6} The messengers returned to Jacob and said, "We went to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him."

{7} Then Jacob was in great fear and distress, so he divided the people, the flocks, the herds, and the camels that were with him into two groups. {8} He thought, "If Esau comes and attacks one group, the group that is left may escape."

{9} Then Jacob prayed, "O God of my grandfather Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O LORD, Who said to me, `Return to your country and your relatives, and I will treat you well,' {10} I am unworthy of all the kindness and trustworthiness you have done to your servant. I crossed this Jordan River with only my staff, and now I own two entire camps. {11} Please rescue me from the power of my brother Esau, for I am afraid of him, that he may come and attack us, the mothers with the children. {12} But You are the One Who said, `I will make you prosper abundantly. I will make your offspring like the grains of sand on the seashore, too many to count.'"

{13} He spent that night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau:

{16} He put them in the care of his workers, each herd by itself, and said to his workers, "Go ahead of me, and keep some space between the herds." {17} He instructed the one in the lead, "When my brother Esau meets you and asks, `To whom do you belong, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?' {18} then you are to say, `They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a present sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.'" {19} He also instructed the second, the third and all the others who followed the herds, "You are to say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. {20} And be sure to say, `Your servant Jacob is also coming behind us.'" For he thought, "I will pacify him with these gifts going before me. Afterwards, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me." {21} So Jacob's gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent that night in the camp.

{22} That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservant-wives, and his eleven sons and began to cross the ford of the Jabbok. {23} After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over everything else he had with him.