13 Jacob spent the night there. He chose a gift for his brother Esau from what he had with him. 14 He chose 200 female goats and 20 male goats. He chose 200 female sheep and 20 male sheep. 15 He chose 30 female camels with their little ones. He chose 40 cows and ten bulls. And he chose 20 female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 He put each herd by itself. Then he put his servants in charge of them. He said to his servants, “Go on ahead of me. Keep some space between the herds.” 17 Jacob spoke to his servant who was leading the way. He said, “My brother Esau will meet you. He’ll ask, ‘Who is your master? Where are you going? And who owns all these animals in front of you?’ 18 Then say to Esau, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift to you from him. And Jacob is coming behind us.’ ” 19 He also spoke to the second and third servants. He told them and all the others who followed the herds what to do. He said, “Say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 20 Make sure you say, ‘Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.’ ” Jacob was thinking, “I’ll make peace with him with these gifts I’m sending on ahead. When I see him later, maybe he’ll welcome me.” 21 So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him. But he himself spent the night in the camp.
In the verses prior to these, we read that Jacob was terribly afraid to meet Esau. He was afraid to die and he fears what will happen to his family. This is despite the fact that God has promised him that He will surely make him prosper and will make his descendants like the sand of the sea.
Jacob relied again on his own craftiness to ‘help’ God. He decided to send a large gift of livestock; goats, sheep, cows, camels and donkeys ahead to meet his brother in order to pacify Esau.
As I read these chapter/verses, I am reminded that we are so much like the ‘old’ Jacob. Even when God has promised something, there is still an element of doubt within us. This not only dishonours God, it saddens Him. This is like my boys telling me, “Dad, you cannot be trusted. I do not believe what you have said and promised. I need a backup plan”.
But the truth is that our Father in Heaven can be trusted. He is forever faithful and his promises have never failed. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Father, I thank you that you are a loving God that is totally trustworthy. We can fully trust you for all things in this life and beyond. There is no one like You! Amen.
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
Written by Shin Leu