“And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.”
The story behind the verse above started several years prior to this verse. In fact, it started over two decades before the conversation that took place in this verse. It started when Jacob bought the birthright from Esau, and it continued when he deceived his father and stole the family blessing from Esau. It was when Jacob used deception to steal the family blessing from Esau that led to Esau promising to kill Jacob. When it was learned that Esau plotted to kill Jacob, Jacob fled to his uncle Laban’s place to stay alive.
Twenty years passed, and Jacob is taking his journey back home to be with his father. Jacob knew that he still had to deal with Esau. Instead of trying to right his wrong, Jacob made another deceptive plot to avoid his brother’s wrath. When Jacob heard that Esau was coming with four hundred men to meet him, fear gripped his heart because he remembered how angry Esau was when he fled from his parent’s house. It was at this moment that Jacob split his family into two camps, and wanted to send them in different ways from which he took to save alive some of his family; however, his plot didn’t work. Esau overtook Jacob before his deceptive scheme could be put into action.
When Esau met Jacob, Jacob tried to buy his way out of trouble. Jacob even lied to his brother about needing to go slower so that he could lead the flocks and family “softly” on the journey. Jacob’s excuse to lead softly had nothing to do with his style of leadership; rather, it was a deceptive statement because he feared his brother would kill him.
The bigger man in this whole story was Esau. Esau moved on from his brother’s deception and was willing to forgive Jacob in spite of all of his deception. It was Esau who said, “Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.” Esau was willing to protect the one who hurt him because he learned that forgiveness was better than bitterness, and mercy was better than revenge.
Which one of these two men better represents you? Are you a Jacob who is trying to manipulate your way through life to avoid facing your past wrongs? Or, are you an Esau who is willing to forgive the one who wronged you and help them in spite of how deeply they have hurt you? Let me give you a couple of lessons that this story teaches.
First, forgiveness is never easy, but it always makes life more enjoyable. If forgiveness was easy, everyone would be forgiving towards those who have wronged them. Being a forgiving person means you are going to have to lay aside the deep hurts that someone has caused so that you can enjoy your relationships in life, and so that you can be right with your Saviour. Forgiveness may mean that you have to be the one who reaches out to the one who hurt you, but it is always better to forgive than to carry bitterness throughout your life.
Second, trying to manipulate life to avoid those you have hurt only hurts one person, YOU. At some point, you will come face to face with all the manipulation and deception you have plotted. It is better to face the music and get things right with those who you have wronged than to go through life living in fear and deceiving people. Let me encourage you not to let another day go without getting right with those you have wronged.