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(From Scripture Union)


Almighty God, I am assured that You know what is ahead of me today and will provide exactly what I need.


Then Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. 2 He put the maids and their children in front, and Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3 But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. 4 Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. 5 He lifted his eyes and saw the women and the children, and said, "Who are these with you?" So he said, "The children whom God has graciously given your servant." 6 Then the maids came near with their children, and they bowed down. 7 Leah likewise came near with her children, and they bowed down; and afterward Joseph came near with Rachel, and they bowed down. 8 And he said, "What do you mean by all this company which I have met?" And he said, "To find favor in the sight of my lord." 9 But Esau said, "I have plenty, my brother; let what you have be your own." 10 Jacob said, "No, please, if now I have found favor in your sight, then take my present from my hand, for I see your face as one sees the face of God, and you have received me favorably. 11 Please take my gift which has been brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me and because I have plenty." Thus he urged him and he took it. 12 Then Esau said, "Let us take our journey and go, and I will go before you." 13 But he said to him, "My lord knows that the children are frail and that the flocks and herds which are nursing are a care to me. And if they are driven hard one day, all the flocks will die. 14 Please let my lord pass on before his servant, and I will proceed at my leisure, according to the pace of the cattle that are before me and according to the pace of the children, until I come to my lord at Seir." 15 Esau said, "Please let me leave with you some of the people who are with me." But he said, "What need is there? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord." 16 So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir. 17 Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built for himself a house and made booths for his livestock; therefore the place is named Succoth. Jacob Settles in Shechem 18 Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city. 19 He bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. 20 Then he erected there an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel.



"We… are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from our Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:18). Give thanks for this truth and the hope it gives.

Think Further

Jacob’s fears proved groundless. Having attempted to find favor with Esau with lavish gifts, he approached him, bowing deeply seven times as a symbol of total submission. Esau, however, wasn’t interested in any of this. Did Jesus have this reconciliation in mind when he (Luke 15:20) told of the father’s welcome for the lost son? Totally different from crafty Jacob, who needed to be in control all the time, Esau threw all caution to the wind and ran to Jacob, hugging him, weeping with joy at seeing him again. Unlike his brother, Esau was a man content with what he had (cf. 1 Tim. 6:6; Phil. 4:12), and he initially refused Jacob’s gifts—yet his subsequent partaking of the blessing Jacob had received (11) pictures the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:3). Esau’s generous open behavior wasn’t reciprocated and Jacob once again deceived him, remaining the same Jacob that Esau had known years earlier. This man is such a curious mix—living by his wits, manipulating others, lying his way out of difficult situations and yet sometimes acknowledging God’s role in his life. There is a story about a family at the meal table with a disruptive small child who is standing on his chair. Father wields his authority and the boy reluctantly sits down, muttering under his breath. When asked what he’s saying, he replies, "I may be sitting down on the outside but on the inside, I’m still standing up!" Playing a part or asking what we really think, in order to be acceptable or to smooth the way with others so we get what we want, is common behavior, but it can have significant consequences. What the world needs are Christians who are authentic, with consistent words, actions and motives.


When is it easier to forgive others? When is it harder to forgive others? What do your answers reveal about your fears? Your faith? Your Lord?


Lord, sometimes I feel like I am playing a part. Help me to be authentic, with my outer life a true reflection of my inner life in You.

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"Lord, fill me with compassion for the welfare of others and to have a servant's heart..."

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