The reunion between Jacob and Esau turned out to be pretty much like the reconciliation that occurs when a repentant sinner turns to God.

At such a time,  all the “ïfs” and “buts” seem, in retrospect, like a waste of mental energy.

Have you not heard many people say, “”What a pity it s that I didn’t come home to the Lord sooner.”

There was Jacob strategizing as to how best to appease his brother’s fury. Even when he saw Esau approaching, Jacob divided his children and their mothers into two parties leaving his favourite Rachel and their son Joseph for last. He Jacob faced his brother first, giving him the “”total obeisance,” bowing to the ground seven times.

I wonder if Esau even counted those gestures of humility! He was just glad to be reunited with his brother. He ran to meet him, embraced him and communicated acceptance. Esau was not then about the vengeance that Jacob had feared.

People say that blood is thicker than water. Well, the blood of Jesus does put troubles into perspective and turns enemies into friends, just as the God to whom Jacob prayed had infused love into the reunion.

Jacob had brought Esau precious gifts. The latter was not interested, not because he didn’t want gifts from Jacob, but because he’d already received the best gift- their reconciliation to each other and to God.

However, to solemnise the occasion (as we would say of many of our rituals), Esau took the gifts;  and they even agreed on a way forward that took account of Jacob’s and his family’s and animals’ frailty. The vulnerable were cared for as they moved towards Shechem where God’s name was honoured at the altar called El-Elohe-Israel.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take.

The clouds ye so much dread

are big with mercy and shall break

in blessings on your head.

William Cowper, 1731-1800.

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