Safely Home

7 December 2014 am – Genesis 33:1-20 – Gen 14 – Scott Childs

Introduction: There is always a sense of relief and gladness to get finally safely home after a long trip. I think that is what Jacob must have felt as he finally got safely home in Canaan.

Transition: When Jacob was just outside of Canaan, he met Esau, had a discussion with him, and then he entered the land. As we look at these events, again I want to point out several principles that can help us in our daily lives.

1.        The Meeting (v.1-7)

a.         Jacob approached cautiously (v.1-3)

1)         He led his family to Esau. He still protected Rachel and Joseph.

2)         He bowed seven times as he came near to Esau.

b.         Esau approached excitedly (v.4)

1)         He ran to meet Jacob

2)         He received him with a welcome

O  God blessed Jacob and answered his prayer when he did right in seeking reconciliation with his brother. Seeking to make things right when we have hurt someone is always the right thing to do.

c.          Jacob introduced his family (5-7)

1)         He continued to speak humbly.

2)         Each family member bowed to Esau.

O  Jacob continued to humble himself before his brother. He truly wanted peace between them. Humility is a virtue that God promises to bless. We often lack humility because of pride and because we fear others will abuse us if we are humble. Note what Peter records for us.

V   (1 Peter 5:5-7) “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

O  We must step on our pride and cast our fear of abuse on the Lord. Jesus was the perfect example of humility.

V   (Philippians 2:8) “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

O  Humility will help any problem, if we accept  that humility must be unilateral – involving only you. God said, “Humble yourself”. He did not say, “Humble yourself if the other person does too.”

2.        The Discussion (v.8-15)

a.         They discussed Jacob’s gifts (v.8-11)

1)         Jacob said it was to find grace in Esau’s sight (v.8)

2)         Esau did not want the gifts (v.9)

3)         Jacob urged Esau and he took the gifts (v.10-11)

b.         They discussed travel plans (v.12-15)

1)         Esau asked that they travel together but Jacob declined (v.12-14)

2)         Esau wanted to leave some helpers, but again Jacob declined (v.15)

O  Here we find two qualities in Jacob that we need to cultivate in our lives. 1) He was thankful, expressing it in his generosity and in his praise to God for being gracious. 2) He was content. Thankfulness and contentment are two qualities that go hand in hand and yet they do not seem to come naturally to us. 2Timothy 3:2 tells us that unthankfulness would increase in the last days.

V   (1 Timothy 6:6) “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

V   (1 Timothy 6:8) “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

V   (Hebrews 13:5) “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

O  How content are you? Are you satisfied with what God has given you or do you always long for a bit more? Let’s ask God to make us both thankful and content.

3.        The Entry (v.16-20)

a.         Esau returned to his home

b.         Jacob traveled on slowly

1)         He built a house and animal shelters in Succoth (v.17).

a)         This seems a bit unusual since he had not reached his father’s place yet nor had he reached Seir where he said he would visit Esau. However, since he was near Canaan, he stopped for a while to give his family and flocks a rest. During this time, he may have travelled down to see his father and brother without taking his whole camp with him.

b)         No one knows for sure how long he was at Succoth, but some historians suggest that he stayed 12-18 months. See Gill

2)         Next, he moved to Shalem near Shechem (v.18).

a)         This was in the land of Canaan.

b)         There he pitched his tent.

c)         He bought land. Some Bible teachers claim that Jacob disobeyed God by not continuing all the way down to where Isaac lived. I do not think that is true. God told him to return to the land of his fathers and to his kindred (Ge 31:3). He was now in that land.

(1)      Shechem was the same place Abraham stopped when he entered Canaan many years earlier (Ge 12:6-7).
(2)      Jacob remained in Shechem for several years. We know this because his children were 6-13 years old when they left Haran, and in the next chapter, his daughter is a teenager and the older boys are young men.

d)         Jacob then made an altar. Here Jacob worshipped. He called the place “El-elohe-Israel” (the mighty God of Israel). He used his new name in praising God for bringing him home safely.

(1)      As far as we can tell, God was pleased with Jacob and accepted his offering.
(2)      Years before Abraham had also built an altar in Shechem.

O  Today we do not worship the Lord by building altars and offering sacrifices. Throughout the O.T. period, God required animal sacrifices to cover the sins of believers until Christ would pay for the sin. When Jesus died and rose again, He paid the full price for our sins.

V   (1 Peter 3:18) “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:”

O  If you have not repented of your sin and trusted Christ to save you, that is your greatest need today. Your sin condemns you, but God loves you and offers you forgiveness and eternal life if you will humble yourself, believe, and receive it (John 1:12).

O  If you know the Lord, have you praised Him recently for all he has done for you? As Christmas nears, it is a reminder that Jesus came to this earth to forgive us and give us eternal life. Remember that Jesus is the reason for the season!

Conclusion: Jacob sought reconciliation for his wrong; he was humble, thankful, content, and full of praise to God. How are you doing in these areas? Is there someone with whom you need to get right? Do you need to learn to humble yourself instead of being proud? Are you thankful and generous? Have you learned to be content with what God has given you? When is the last time you praised the Lord for his goodness to you?

If you are not 100% positive you are going to heaven, you can be if you will receive God’s gift of salvation today. I would be happy to show you how you can.

Song: Take My Life and Let – 393