Daily Lectionary Readings for Year A
Do you remember a couple of weeks ago when we read and reflected on Jacob stealing his brother Esau's inheritance? Jacob took off running for his life. Esau was furious. Jacob escaped to live with his kin in a foreign land. I started writing all the things that happened to Jacob during this time but it might be easier to say life got complicated. Jacob worked as a shepherd, growing the wealth of his uncle/father-of-both-of-his-wives (I said it was complicated). But now, the day of reckoning has come. Esau is on his way with 400 men. This was it. There would be no escaping his fate. He could run no longer. Jacob had to resolve this conflict.
Have you been there? Have you had someone or something you dreaded confronting, fearing you would be harmed and worrying sick about what could happen? If so, you probably feel it in your stomach right now. One way or another the conflict would be resolved. Esau and 400 men are within sight. It's hard to breathe.
Jacob comes up with a plan. He will cool down the temperature by giving his brother gifts. He makes as big a show of it as he can, sending drove after drove after drove of livestock. He makes sure Esau knows these are gifts from his brother, and that he is coming to meet him. And then he sits through the night, hoping and praying the gifts make the difference. But still, fearing the worst.
Think about the meeting between the brothers that is coming. What would you do to prepare for something that makes you afraid? How have you handled very difficult confrontations? What do you expect Esau, who has been seeking revenge for so long, to do? The music team offered a beautiful song in worship yesterday, Abide With Me. I wonder if this song would be comforting for any filled with fear? We have a long night to think it over.