Have you ever sat on a plane and gone in circles? San Francisco airport is fogged in and so we fly around the city in a holding pattern waiting for permission to land. The airplane is sufficiently equipped for the pilot to take us to the runway we can’t see but he does not have permission. Despite the security of a Captain’s confident promise that he can fly us down when needed, fear etches the faces of folks who probably have not flown here before. Eventually we land in fog so thick even the wing is obscured!
Genesis 32:6-8—And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left will escape.”
Jacob lived a hard life serving his Uncle Laban who cheated him on multiple occasions and clearly was jealous of the way God blessed him. So it was a good day for the son of Isaac, when God said to him, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you” (Gen. 31:3). Jacob fled with his wives and possessions to return home and when Laban pursued him, God protected him by warning Laban to leave his nephew alone.
After receiving God’s promise of blessing, His instruction to return home and witnessing His protection from Laban, he should have brimmed with confidence. Instead he was terrified by the thought his twin brother, Esau, would destroy him. Why would a man with a promise and firsthand experience of God’s assistance feel so vulnerable?
Jacob’s relationship with God was shallow. Adversity exposed his struggle to walk by faith. He was not confident in the Promise-giver. How could his offspring multiply like the stars of the sky if God allowed Esau to erase them! When we don’t really trust God our actions don’t really make sense. Did Jacob truly think dividing his camp into two parties might help at least one group escape? Four hundred mounted warriors able to slaughter one group would have no problem tracking down and killing its counterpart. Burdened by flocks and young families, Jacob without God’s intervention, had no chance against Esau. In his mind he was defenseless so fear fed his decision making. Is it plausible that Jacob’s older sons acted treacherously when vulnerable because they so often observed a conniving dad?
“I will be with you,” saved Jacob. Notwithstanding all the gifts he used to placate his brother, Esau was glad to see him. Jacob’s safety was never in doubt because His Father never lies. It is okay to be vulnerable. God allows us to be squeezed, threatened and challenged to see if we trust Him. How we think and behave reveals not just our level of faith but also the depth of our relationship. “I will be with you,” is our Father’s promise to us. But we must trust and obey Him. Coming from the omniscient One, those five words are personal, eternal, and invincible . . . something to think about . . . in reveration!
Worship transcends our weakness while acknowledging God’s power.—Jack Hayford inWorship His Majesty
©2011 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)