As he approached Canaan with his large family and possessions, Jacob’s messengers returned to him and reported, “’We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.’ Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed” (32:6,7). I suppose so, considering how he had dealt with his brother. Credit to Jacob, though; he did what he should have done. He immediately cried out to God: “’O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, 'Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude’” (32:12).
Jacob was a scoundrel, a trickster, a deceiver. His very name declares who and what he was. Like all of us, every single one of us, Jacob was a terrible sinner, and he deserved his just desserts from his brother, Esau. In his predicament, he did not rely upon any supposed self-goodness or place of right; rather, he called to God and repeated to him the very promises God himself had made. The Bible is chock full of promises to us, the greatest being found in the gospel. Day after day, we find ourselves crying out to God: “God, I have sinned. Lord, I have not loved you as I should. But, my God, great is thy faithfulness! Make good on all the promises you have made to me.”
With Jacob, and with the Psalmist, we can say, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8). And with Paul, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Cor. 1:20). Indeed! Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!