Genesis 33-35…Jacob meets Esau, Dinah encounters the Shechemites, and Jacob returns to Bethel.
Jacob was no doubt afraid of what would happen when he met Esau’s 400 men. But, he prayed, preparing his heart and mind to trust God, then went on his way. There is nothing to fear for the one whose heart is fixed on trusting God. For the believer, death has already lost it’s sting. When Jacob came face to face with this massive group, he bowed to Esau. A humble, submissive behavior can often turn away anger. Esau embraced Jacob. God has the hearts of all men in his hands, and can turn them when and how he pleases. Jacob’s wisdom in praying beforehand serves as a model for us in trusting God, and calling upon Him in the day of trouble. Being constant in prayer shows spiritual maturity, and an understanding that we need God.
In Genesis 34, we see an example of how exercising wisdom even in the small, daily things can be prudent. The young Dinah goes alone out to visit the women of the land, which proves to be a foolish decision. Prayer in even the seemingly small, menial decisions each day is important. God wants this from us, because He loves when we depend on His guidance. Dinah is taken advantage of, which leads to vengeful murder in response, by Simeon and Levi. Our sin rarely stays contained to our own circumstances, and often impacts others. We should pray for wisdom in all decisions, and seek counsel from those in authority over us. For children this involves asking parents. For adults, this involves transparency with the elders in your church.
God renews His covenant with Jacob in Genesis 35. He says, “I am God Almighty.” God is all-sufficient, able to fulfill all His promises in due time, and to support and provide for us in the meantime. Two things are promised here: 1) that he should be the father of a great nation, and 2) that he should inherit a good land.
These two promises had spiritual significance, which Jacob had some notion of (Genesis 3:15), though not as clear and distinct as we now have. Christ is the promised Seed, and heaven is the promised land. Christ is the foundation of all God’s grace toward us, and He is all we need.