Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. 2 He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. 3 He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. 4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.
As we said, Jacob did not have the best character. He had cheated Esau twice and now, he was returning to Canaan as the Lord had directed him. Now, he had to face the music so to speak. Esau was coming out to meet him and had four hundred men with him. It is not looking good. Jacob is afraid of a slaughter as Esau had promised to kill him years ago. Only now, he has wives and children who are in danger. Jacob has divided his family and prepared for the worst. Now, all that was left was to humble himself before Esau and take his chances. But, in the back of his mind, Jacob remembers the promise of God to bless him. And so, he approached Esau. 3 He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. Esau had put the past behind him. He embraced Jacob and kissed him. It had been a long time since they were together. Apparently, God had been kind to Esau as well. Esau forgave Jacob and even offered to accompany him to Canaan. The old wound had been healed.
Forgiveness is important in life. Where would we be if God had not forgiven us as He continues to do to this day. Forgiveness frees the person giving it more so than the perpetrator. If you don’t forgive, bitterness will build up in you. Bitterness is like acid and acid destroys the vessel which contains it. Matthew 6:15 (NIV) says “15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Esau could have harbored his bitterness all those years but it would have eaten him up inside. No one wants to live that way. What about you? Has someone done you wrong? Are you planning your revenge? It isn’t worth it. It will eat you up alive! Let the Lord be your vindicator. Let it go.
Jacob remembered the promise God had made to his father and grandfather to bless them and their descendants and make a great nation of them. That promise extended to Jacob as well. Now God continued to make good on the promise. Just as He blessed Jacob in Paddan Aram, He blessed him with favor with his brother Esau. Remember, God works all things for the good of those who love Him.
Father, thank You for the many blessings You pour out on us each day. Thank You for things seen and unseen in our lives from the goodness of Your bounty. Thank You that You work all things for our good even though it appears otherwise at times. And most of all, thank You for forgiveness that You offer us and that we can and should offer each other. In Your name we pray.