Scripture: Genesis 32-34. Click here to view full scripture.
Observation: What was going on in the Bible at this time?
Angels visited Jacob, and because of their visit, Jacob knew that God was with him. Jacob was about to be reunited with his brother Esau again after twenty years. Jacob had taken Esau’s birthright, and Esau was so infuriated with Jacob that he planned to kill him. Jacob wrestled with God throughout the night, and God renamed him Israel, meaning “one who struggles with God and overcomes.” When Jacob met Esau again, Esau greeted Jacob with a hug. Esau was no longer bitter over losing his birthright and was content with what he had. Jacob and Esau had parted in peace and lived fairly close to one another – Esau in Seir, Jacob in Succoth.
Dinah, Leah and Jacob’s daughter, went out to visit the women of the land of Succoth. Hamor the Hivite’s (ruler of the land) son Shechem violated Dinah. Shechem then asked to marry Dinah. Dinah’s brothers Simeon and Levi were outraged with Shechem’s actions and took revenge against the city, where they slaughtered innocent people.
Application: How can we apply this to our lives?
We sometimes come up against difficult situations in life, as Jacob did. He became filled with fear, as he prepared to meet Esau, the brother that wanted to kill him years before. We can learn from Jacob’s actions. He collected his thoughts and decided to pray about the situation. We have two choices when facing confrontation and fear – run about frantically or pause and pray. God encourages persistence in all areas of our lives, including the spiritual. We develop a stronger character when we struggle through tough times – and God is with us the whole time. When struggling through rough times, we sometimes become bitter. We can overcome our bitter hearts by expressing our feelings to God, forgiving those who have wronged us, and being content with what God has already given us. Throughout our lives, many people have wronged us. It is not our job to seek revenge, returning evil for evil, as the story of Simeon and Levi illustrates to us. Instead, we need to leave revenge to God and spare ourselves from the dreadful consequences of sin. Let God be in charge, no matter how hard it is.
Prayer: What can we pray for in regards to these passages?
Heavenly Father, we sometimes find ourselves struggling and coming up against very difficult situations in life. Help us to be brave, knowing that You are our Protector, and to always collect our thoughts and pray, asking for Your advice and protection. Help us to be persistent in all areas of our lives, especially in the spiritual areas of life. We want to grow closer to You. We know that You are with us no matter what we are going through. Help our hearts not to become bitter with those around us or in difficult situations, tempting us to take revenge. We give all of our worries and fears to You, for we know that You are our Strength. – in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.