Genesis 33:4 – But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.
Now empowered as a new man by God’s blessing and his faith, Jacob/Israel no longer lingered at the back of his caravan hiding timidly from his brother Esau. Instead, he literally stepped up to the front line, not knowing if the 400 men his brother was traveling with were an entourage to greet and protect him or an army to slaughter him. Either way, Jacob/Israel had sufficient faith in God to protect him to put himself in harm’s way for the first time in his life. Because he loved Rachel and their youngest son Joseph, Jacob/Israel kept them at the rear to protect them from possible harm.
The reunion between Jacob/Israel and his brother Esau after 20 long years of separation is a beautiful portrait of forgiveness, as Esau lovingly embraced his brother in forgiveness, welcoming him home. Jacob blessed his brother with generous gifts that he attributed as provided by God, though Esau did not need them because he too had become a wealthy man, a fact he did not attribute to God like Jacob/Israel did. Obviously, God had been working with great success in changing the hearts of both men.
Because of his many animals and young children, Jacob/Israel was delayed in making the journey all the way home. Esau offered to leave some men to protect Jacob’s household, but by faith, he declined, stating that God would indeed protect him.
What do we learn about God from this scene in Genesis, particularly His patience?
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