Part 4 of the Present day Patriarchs series.
Genesis 33:1 – And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men.
Genesis 33:3 – And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
From birth, Jacob was a schemer. He was born clutching his brother’s heel. This set the precedent for his life. Jacob always seemed to be after something.
The day the birthright was given, Esau, was the son that Isaac called to inherit. Jacob and his mother devised a scheme, whereby Jacob could finagle his way to that fortune. He faked hair on his neck and hands, his mother cooked goat and made it taste like deer, and for the icing on the cake, Jacob claimed to be Esau.
His fooled father blessed him with Esau’s blessing. Esau never forgave Jacob for this trickery. Determined to get revenge, Esau publicly declared his plan to kill Jacob as soon as their father died. Therefore, Jacob hoofed it out of there – pronto. He never saw his mother or father alive again. He got what he wanted and lost what he had.
Esau never revoked the death sentence. And for the next twenty plus years, Jacob lived out of the will of God, haunted by his hater. Decades of living as a doomed man detoured his destiny. He was earmarked by a past event.
In Genesis 33:1, Esau came. And you can be guaranteed; your Esau will always come. I don’t know what skeletons you have in your closet, but they don’t stay locked up forever. One day you will reap what you sow. Your past never stays in the past. Whatever your Esau is – it’s coming.
Jacob had been running for twenty years, and now he came to a screeching halt. For him to connect with his destiny, he needed to confront his past deception. Jacob saw Esau and didn’t run. This was a monumental change in Jacob’s life. Jacob quit running. He was finally ready to face his failures. This marks the first time in Jacob’s life that he didn’t run from a problem.
Any man with an Esau in pursuit must quit running. Take responsibility for your past actions. Your family’s future will be held hostage until you hang up your hang-ups. Get past your past.
While wrestling with God, God asked Jacob his name. The name Jacob in the Hebrew literally means “heel-grabber”, “worm”, “schemer”, and “conniver”. To tell God his name, Jacob has to admit he is all the things that people say he is. What a tough thing to do. But God had wrestled Jacob to a revelation of himself. He reached a point of honesty: honesty with God and with himself. Jacob admits, “I am Jacob.” At that pivotal moment, God propelled Jacob down the path of getting past his past. Honesty is crucial.
Ever since Adam, men have played the blame game. It’s easier to blame your blunder on your brother, then to look in the mirror and take responsibility for your actions. Face your problems and go forward. Remember responsibility is what moved Adam from just being a male, into a man in the Garden of Eden. We were born male; we become men by embracing responsibility; which includes our past.
For sure people have done you wrong. There are stories that detail what men went through in their childhoods that are absolutely awful: but you must move on. No past event has the power to override the eternal errand that God has called you to undertake. Take responsibility for who you are now. It doesn’t matter that dad was an alcoholic – he isn’t you. All of your bosses can’t be against you. It’s not possible that everybody has done you wrong. What actions can you change? What restitution can you make? Who can you apologize to? What kind of an employee can you be? What do you need to come clean about?
Jacob quit running. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy moment for him, but he got through it. Know this – you’ll always get through it. As Jacob humbly bowed before Esau, Esau’s desire to kill Jacob dissipated in this godly atmosphere. It takes humility to face your Esau’s. Humility is a hard thing to swallow. But humility and honesty are the pathway to wholeness. Jacob was released, as was his family’s future.
- Is there an incident from your past that has incrementally eaten up your soul?
- Is there a blaring gap between who you are in public, and who you are in private?
- Is there a skeleton (girlfriend, affair, etc.) in the closet that needs to be put in the graveyard?
- Is there somebody you need to have coffee with just to clear the air?
- Is there somebody you need to confront concerning the harm they’ve caused you?
- Is there somebody you need to forgive, so you can be forgiven?
- Do you need counseling?