No heavenly blessings acquired without appropriate repentance

There can be no heavenly blessings acquired without appropriate repentance and restitution. This picture of Jacob’s repentance, restitution and the restoration of his relationship with his brother is written very vividly in Genesis 32 and 33.

He first repented before God and sought God’s help and support in the matter, Genesis 32:9-12. Although he did so for fear of his life and the lives of his loved ones and possessions, yet he did so wholeheartedly. And even before he sought God about the matter with serious intercession, vs 24-29, he prepared his generous gift to Esau, which gives us a pretty good indication of the depth of his repentance, vs 13-15.

While on his way to meet Esau, he bows down 7 times as he approached his brother, Genesis 33: 3. This shows heartfelt repentance and a righteous heart attitude, as the Proverb says in 24:16,  
16  Although a righteous person may fall seven times, he gets up again.’ And this is exactly what Jacob did, proving himself righteous before both, God and man.

Needless to say, God grants him favour in his brother’s eyes and their relationship is restored once again, vs vs 4! Thus, from a ‘Jacob’ (grabber/deceiver), he turns into an ‘Israel’ (one who has prevailed while wrestling with God and man)! As far as it lies with us, God commands us to be at peace with all men, Romans 12:18. For if we cannot love our brother, sister or neighbour whom we can see, then we will only be deceiving ourselves if we imagine that we love God whom we cannot see, 1John 4:20!

God requires us to be 100% honest in this area, if we are to be the Israel of God! A complacent attitude in choosing a place of stay, after settling matters with Esau, found Jacob’s daughter being raped by Shechem, son of Hamor the Hivite, Genesis 33:2; and this resulted in his sons Simeon and Levi dealing deceitfully and murderously with Shechem and his entire city as a result, vs 25-29. It was only after he obeyed God’s instruction to go on to Bethel, on repenting of their idolatry, impurity and pride, that God put His fear of them throughout the surrounding cities and they did not pursue Jacob and his sons anymore, Genesis 35:1-5.

Although Jacob lost his wife Rachel during the birth of their son Benjamin, vs 17-20, as per his curse in Genesis: 31:32,34, God enabled him to reach his father’s home safely and spend many more years together with him, before Issac died, vs 27-29. It must be noted, sad to say, thathis mother was not mentioned here at all, and it seems as if she was not alive when her son came back home after all those years! What a sad end to the relationship they had shared previously.

The whole chapter of Genesis 36 tells us about the descendants of Esau. Although, he despised his birthright, kings and chiefs were among his descendants, vs 29-31, which is meaningless, to say the least! Further, many of his descendants were the chief enemies of Israel in later years to come, vs 2,12,20. Esau signifies ‘Edom’, which is s picture of the flesh, and it is not possible for the land to sustain an Israel and an Edom, vs 6-8! Similarly, we too cannot allow the flesh to rule and reign over us if we are to be the ‘Israel’ of God!

So settling relationships, in all honesty and humility, is God’s way of doing things and requires us to have no partnership with our fleshly desires whatsoever! This is the secret of becoming an ‘Israel’ of God!

Rowena Thomas
Mumbai, India.