33 Jacob looked and saw Esau coming with his 400 men! So Jacob separated the children. He put them with Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. 2 He put the servants and their children in front. He put Leah and her children next. And he put Rachel and Joseph last. 3 He himself went on ahead. As he came near his brother, he bowed down to the ground seven times. 4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob. He hugged him and threw his arms around his neck. He kissed him, and they cried for joy. 5 Then Esau looked around and saw the women and children. “Who are these people with you?” he asked. Jacob answered, “They are the children God has so kindly given to me.” 6 Then the female servants and their children came near and bowed down. 7 Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down. Last of all came Joseph and Rachel. They bowed down too. 8 Esau asked, “Why did you send all those herds I saw?” “I hoped I could do something to please you,” Jacob replied. 9 But Esau said, “I already have plenty, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself.” 10 “No, please!” said Jacob. “If I’ve pleased you, accept this gift from me. Seeing your face is like seeing the face of God. You have welcomed me so kindly. 11 Please accept the present that was brought to you. God has given me so much. I have everything I need.” Jacob wouldn’t give in. So Esau accepted it.
I get teary-eyed reading this story. These are brothers whom a great division had fallen between. Jacob was particularly at fault, but so was Esau and their parents. But here, the blessing of God has gone before them and they are reunited in such a powerful way.
God loves unity in families and communities, but this comes not from our efforts alone, we need God’s divine blessing, the blessing Jacob wrestled for in the previous chapter. Jesus tells us how to secure his blessing – seek first his Kingdom.
“Lord, we long for our families to be restored and for unity and love to overflow, but we long most of all for your face and your Kingdom, the Kingdom of community in perfect peace and love. May your Kingdom come in our families today and tomorrow. Amen.”
Written by Andrew Mellor