Genesis 33:8-20: Old ways.
“8 Esau asked, “What’s the meaning of all these flocks and herds I met?” “To find favor in your eyes, my lord,” he said. 9 But Esau said, “I already have plenty, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself.” 10 “No, please!” said Jacob. “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this giftfrom me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably. 11 Please accept the present that was brought to you, for God has been gracious to me and I have all I need.” And because Jacob insisted,Esau accepted it. 12 Then Esau said, “Let us be on our way; I’ll accompany you.” 13 But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are tender and that I must care for the ewes and cows that are nursing their young. If they are driven hard just one day, all the animals will die. 14 So let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I move along slowly at the pace of the flocks and herds before me and the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.” 15 Esau said, “Then let me leave some of my men with you.” “But why do that?” Jacob asked. “Just let me find favor in the eyes of my lord.” 16 So that day Esau started on his way back to Seir. 17 Jacob, however, went to Sukkoth, where he built a place for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is called Sukkoth.18 After Jacob came from Paddan Aram, he arrived safely at the city of Shechemin Canaan and camped within sight of the city. 19 For a hundred pieces of silver,[c]he bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, the plot of groundwhere he pitched his tent. 20 There he set up an altar and called it El Elohe Israel.” NIV
The Bible is a realistic book. It’s heroes are not ‘plaster saints’. They are flawed.
It is possible to have a powerful encounter with God, and not be sinlessly perfect. You can meet with Him unmistakably and still have relapses. This is what happened to Jacob. Not long after his ‘’face to face’’ meeting with God (32:30), we find him returning to his old scheming ways. He again deceived his brother. It should have been obvious to him, surely, that he had nothing to fear from Esau; that God had graciously answered his prayer. But it seems that fear still dogged his steps.
Jacob may have been a different man, and a better one, by this stage, but he was not yet the finished article.
If you ever find yourself despairing over your temporary backslidings, remember Jacob and take heart. This is not to excuse any kind of declension, but the Bible shows it happens, and it doesn’t have to be the end of anyone’s story.
PRAYER: Today, Lord, I simply want to thank you for your amazing grace and abundant mercy, and say how much I need it – need you.