Sunday, August 15, 2021

God’s Timeline – Part 37 Jacob Prepares to meet Esau

 God’s Timeline – Part 37

Jacob Prepares to meet Esau

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith Church | |

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SERMON TIMELINE (2021 A.D. = 5781 Jewish Calendar Year)

 -         Creation Week (Approximately 4000 - 3900 B.C.)

o   Adam, Eve, and the Fall

-         Cain and Abel

o   Evil Fills the World


-         Noah Did All God Commanded Him

o   The Flood 2379 – 2279 B.C.)

o   God’s Covenant with Noah

o   Noah’s Sons and Ham’s Sin

o   Nations of Noah’s Sons


-         Tower of Babel

 -         God calls Abram (2091 B.C.)

o   Abram and Lot part ways

o   Rescue of Lot


-         The Lord’s Covenant with Abram for Isaac

o   Hagar and Ishmael Born (2080 B.C.) Abram 86 years old

o   Sarai and Isaac

o   The Three Visitors

o   Abraham Pleads for Sodom


-         Birth of Isaac (2066 B.C. Abraham 99 years old Sarah 90-Hagar and Ishmael sent away)

o   The Lord tests Abraham (2048 – 2046 B.C. Isaac 18-20 years old)

o   Sarah Dies 127 years old (2029 B.C. Abraham is 136)


-         Isaac marries Rebekah (2028 B.C. Isaac was 37 when he married Rebekah)

 -         Jacob and Esau are born (2006 B.C. Isaac was 60 Abraham 159)

o   Abraham dies at 175 (1991 B.C. Isaac was 82)

o   Isaac receives the Birthright and his father’s blessing

o   Esau marries two Hittites at 40 (1967 B.C.)

o   Esau marries a daughter of Ishmael

o   Jacob travels to his grandfather’s family to find a wife (1930 B.C.)

o   Jacob’s Dream at Bethel

o   Jacob marries Leah then Rachel

§  Levi is born (1920 B.C.)

§  Joseph is born (1916 B.C.)

o   Jacob fled Laban and is pursued (1910 B.C.)

o   Jacob Prepares to meet Esau





Last week we read about Jacob fleeing his uncle Laban in secret and Laban gathering relatives and chasing Jacob down, catching up to him in Gilead.


In the process, Laban was visited by God and told to leave Jacob alone.


Jacob confronts Laban about chasing him down, and Laban accused him of stealing his idols, which Rachel stole in secret before they left and his in her camel’s saddlebag.


After Laban searched the camp and could not find the idols, they made an agreement not to harm each other and stay in their own lands. After parting, Jacob returns to his travels back to the land of his father and into the presence of his brother Esau, who wanted to kill Jacob after their father died.



Genesis 32:1-21

“Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is the camp of God!” So he named that place Mahanaim. [meaning two camps]


3 Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 He instructed them: “This is what you are to say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. 5 I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favor in your eyes.’”


6 When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”


7 In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two camps, and the flocks and herds and camels as well. 8 He thought, “If Esau comes and attacks one camp, the camp that is left may escape.”


9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”


13 He spent the night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 He put them in the care of his servants, each herd by itself, and said to his servants, “Go ahead of me, and keep some space between the herds.”


17 He instructed the one in the lead: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who do you belong to, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?’ 18 then you are to say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.’”


19 He also instructed the second, the third and all the others who followed the herds: “You are to say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 20 And be sure to say, ‘Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.’” For he thought, “I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.” 21 So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp.”


a.      Jacob first meets angels of God

                                           i.      Psalm 91:11 “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.“

1.      This translates literally to mean that God will instruct His angels to watch over individuals. God will give each of His angels a purpose: to guard His children. Those who are faithful will be under the constant care of His angels.


                                        ii.      Psalm 34:7 ”The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.”


                                     iii.      Matthew 18:10 "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”


                                      iv.      Hebrews 1:14 “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”


                                         v.      Exodus 23:20 “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.”


                                      vi.      Jacob says, “This is the camp of God!”

                                   vii.      So he named it Mahanaim, which means two camps


b.     Jacob sends messengers to Edom to speak to Esau

                                           i.      Jacob wants to know if his brother is still angry, and if it’s safe to travel there


c.      Esau responds by coming for Jacob with 400 men

                                           i.      Not a good sign



a.      With two camps, one may survive if Esau attacks

                                           i.      So Jacob divides everything into two separate camps


b.     Jacob then prays to God to uphold His covenant

                                           i.      Notice the order here.

1.      Jacob divides the camps in hopes of saving some if Esau Attacks

2.      THEN, in verse 9, Jacob prays to God

3.      Why do we always pray after we’ve done everything we can about a situation, instead of praying firstly?


c.      “Save me from my brothers hand!”

                                           i.      This is the manner in which Jacob prays

1.      O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord…

2.      You who said to me, ‘God back to your country…

3.      He is acknowledging God is Lord of the covenant with Abraham, passed to Isaac, then passed to Jacob when the Lord visited him.

4.      Also showing that he is submitting to the Lord and has accepted the covenant being passed down to him.


                                        ii.      In verse 10 he pleads, ‘I am unworthy of all your kindness and faithfulness you have shown me’

1.      He acknowledges he is unworthy (in other words confessing his fallen state) and thankful for God’s Grace and Provision


2.      Gratefulness goes a long way with God


                                     iii.      In verse 11 he makes his petition to the Lord, “Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children.”


                                      iv.      And in verse 12, he reminds God of His promise!

1.      Verses like Isaiah 43:26 tells us to remind God,

2.      Why do we “remind” God of His promises? It’s not because He forgets

3.      I believe it is because God wants US to remember what He said! It really reminds US of His promises!



a.      Jacob had acquired much wealth in his grandfather’s land over the last 20 years

                                        i.      Jacob gathers three herds for his brother as a gift

1.      200 female goats and 20 male goats

2.      200 ewes and 20 rams

3.      30 female camels with their young,

4.      40 cows and 10 bulls

5.      20 female donkeys and 10 male donkeys


                                     ii.      Jacob instructed them to stay apart from each other, and as they each encountered Esau, he told them, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who do you belong to, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?’ 18 then you are to say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.’”


b.     What was more important than Jacob’s wealth was returning to his father’s land

                                        i.      Jacob was willing to sacrifice part of his wealth to smooth things over with his brother.

1.      Though Jacob got the Birthright from Esau for a bowl of venison stew

2.      And their father’s blessing by pretending to be Esau

3.      These were both God’s Will, and Jacob is in the right


                                     ii.      Remember, the savior will be born from the line of Shem, after Isaac there was only Esau and Jacob to carry this on.

1.      God, knowing before they were even born, Esau would marry two Hittite women, and then a daughter of the rejected line of Ishmael, needed Jacob to have the birthright and blessing to carry on the Shem bloodline so the Savior could be born!


                                  iii.      All Esau knows is Jacob got everything, and he was left with nothing.

                                   iv.      So he vowed to kill Jacob after their father Isaac died

                                      v.      But all Jacob cared about now was returning to the land of his father as he was instructed to by God


c.      Now Jacob awaits his brother’s arrival

                                           i.      The five herds of gifts are sent out, now Jacob waits

                                        ii.      Five is the number of God’s Grace

1.      There are 5 types of offerings in scripture

a.      Burnt

b.     Sin

c.      Trespass

d.     Grain

e.      And peace


2.      There are 5 curtains in the Tabernacle, five bars, five pillars, five sockets, and the alter was five cubits long and 5 cubits wide. The height of the court within the Tabernacle was 5 cubits high.


3.      Anointing oil in Exodus 30, the ingredients were given directly by God, just as the Tabernacle instructions, and there are 5 ingredients


                                     iii.      I believe this was a peace offering using the gifts from God’s Grace on Jacob in hopes of appeasing Esau.




Jacob sends the gifts in five large herds to his brother him before his arrival with 400 men.


Jacob spent that night in the camp, waiting, thinking.


He feared for his wives and children. Remember, most in the Old Testament did NOT have the Holy Spirit’s indwelling!


It would be a frightful thing for any of us with God’s Spirit, Armor, fruits, etc, but without, I cannot imagine the fear that would drown you!



Genesis 32:22-24 “That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone…”




Next week we will read of Jacob wrestling with God (Genesis 32:22-31)



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