Jacob is traveling home, where he knows he will eventually have to face Esau. As he nears Canaan, Jacob receives terrifying news: Esau is coming to meet him—and he’s bringing an army!
Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O Lord, you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.’ I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! O Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. But you promised me, ‘I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore—too many to count.’”
The last time Jacob had seen Esau, his older brother had been so angry at him for stealing the family blessing that he had vowed to kill Jacob as soon as their father, Isaac, died (Genesis 27:41). Jacob knew he had cheated his brother, and he remembered Esau’s parting words. So, fearing their reunion, Jacob sent messengers ahead with gifts, trying to buy Esau’s favor.
How would you feel if you knew you were about to meet the person you had cheated out of his most precious possession? Jacob had taken Esau’s birthright and his blessing (Genesis 25:33; 27:27-40). Now he was about to meet his brother for the first time in twenty years, and he was filled with fear. He collected his thoughts, however, and decided to pray. In this desperate prayer, Jacob reminded God of his promise to make his descendants “as numerous as the sands along the seashore” (Genesis 32:12), which would not be possible if he and his family were killed.
Are you facing conflict or a difficult circumstance? Do you fear a negative outcome? When we face conflict, we can either run about frantically or we can pause to pray. Stop right now and pray. Give it over to God and follow his guidance.