A Devotional

Journey of Reconciliation
Jacob, son of Isaac, didn’t leave anywhere with a proper good-bye. He fled
his birth family in Canaan after stealing his brother’s rightful blessing and
then 20 years later slips away from his father-law’s lands with his two
wives and eleven children in tow, afraid that Laban will not let them
leave. Much is left unresolved as this man of faith heads home. Laban
catches up to them fairly quickly, accusing them of stealing his household
icons.

When he can’t locate them among anyone’s belongings, “Jacob said to
Laban, ‘What is my offense that you have hotly pursued me? For you have
felt through all my goods; what have you found ….? Set it before your
kinsman and my kinsmen, that they may decide between us two. These
twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have
not miscarried ….What was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you. I
bore the loss of it myself …These twenty years I have been in your house. I
served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your
flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. If the God of my Father,
the God of Abaraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been by my side,
surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my
affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.”
Because Jacob spoke the truth in love, his father-in-law, Laban, was
chastised by his words, and decided to make a covenant with Jacob. They
erected a heap of stones and a pillar of remembrance, made a sacrifice to
God. They promised to be good neighbors to each other and not cross over
the border to do each other harm. Jacob promised to treat his wives well
and not to marry further. They and their kinsmen broke bread and spent the
night together. In the morning, Laban kissed his daughters and
grandchildren and left.

So Jacob continued on his journey, but sent messengers ahead of himself,
who brought back word that his brother was coming to meet him with a
retinue of 400 men from the land of Seir. Fearing retribution for the
mistakes of his past, Jacob divides his family and livestock into two camps
in case they needed to flee if attacked. He prays fervently to God
admitting his unworthiness and fear, and asking God to protect him and
uphold the promises He made to Jacob when He told him to return to his
country and his kindred. Genesis 32:9-12 That night he remains behind
alone and wrestles with a man until daybreak. When the man saw that he
was not prevailing and the sun was almost up, he touched Jacob’s hip
socket and put it out of joint. He said to be let go, but Jacob said, “‘I will
not let you go until you bless me.’ …Then he said, ‘Your name shall no
longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with
men and have prevailed.” Genesis 32: 26-28

Jacob tried to avoid confrontation with his brother Essau by dividing up his
family into smaller groups, sending ahead gifts of livestock, and using
humbling terms like “master” and “servant.” Yet, all of that strategy wasn’t
going to change the fact that he was fighting a battle that God had already
won for him. Essau fell weeping onto his brother’s neck, past grievances
forgotten. All that fear by the Jabbok, or over the twenty years of
retribution is just wiped away. Jacob, now Israel, doesn’t have to run
anymore or slip away, because he is facing the truth with the Lord. This
was a journey of reconciliation for him, and he wasn’t afraid to ask for the
Lord’s blessing, to wrestle for it, to hold on with both hands and boldly ask
for what he thought he needed. Be honest today. Be honest with God with
what you need, to do what He is calling you to do, and be honest with
others, but speak the Truth in Christ’s love to find reconciliation on your
journey in His grace.

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in
every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is
Christ.” Ephesians 4:15-29
Submitted by Rachel Linkswiler