A Daily Genesis

Genesis 32:1-3

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 32:1 . . Early in the morning, Laban kissed his sons and daughters and bade them good-by; then Laban left on his journey homeward.[/B]

Apparently nobody wanted to kiss Laban back, nor bid him a good-bye.

The old boy didn't altogether lack at least some affection for his family. But he surely realized they must have come to deeply resent him by now; and he was probably beginning to regret some of his actions. But Laban still couldn't bring himself to apologize either to Jacob or to his family. That would have been just too humiliating, especially in front of all his kin; him being their patriarch and all.

No further mention is made of Laban nor his sons in the Bible. He has the distinction of being one of Scripture's most outstanding examples of a worldly, covetous man; grossly infected with an acute case of unbridled avarice, and completely void of genuine faith in the one true god. He knew about Yhvh, and he was certainly given a thorough enough witness up at his ranch, and in his dreams. He had seen the reality of Yhvh in Jacob's life, along with the power of Yhvh in His blessings and protections of Jacob all those years. Laban himself had, as a consequence of associating with Jacob, enjoyed Yhvh's providence, and became wealthy on account of having Yhvh's man working for him on his ranch.

Nevertheless, like a true dyed-in-the-wool capitalist, Laban stuck with idolatry and covetousness, seeking material gain for himself to the exclusion of all other considerations. Rather than seeking to follow only Yhvh, and gain the light of life, he merely envied, and resented, the blessings that God bestowed upon his son-in-law. Laban finally ended up with neither light nor blessings. Thus, Jacob and his community remained in fellowship with The Light, while Laban returned to the darkness of paganism, greed, plunder, profit, and depredation.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 32:2 . . Jacob went on his way, and angels of God encountered him.[/B]

Since the angels had nothing to say to Jacob, they obviously weren't there as messengers. I believe the angels came for an "effect". Here's what I mean.

Jacob's primary concern during his trip back to Canaan wasn't really his father-in-law's pursuit. His real concern was the inevitable confrontation with his brother Esau. The appearance of those angels very likely boosted Jacob's courage, and assured him God was still in the area and still looking out for his safety and making good on the promise at Gen 28:15.

Today, in our time, it's very unlikely to see angels. But the messages we hear in church or in synagogue can do the job of boosting courage just the same if we but hear those messages through an ear of faith. Here's a good example.

In the third chapter of Isaiah, God predicted, through preaching, that terrible things were in store for Jerusalem. I mean really terrible things that would give you a bad case of butterflies in your stomach. You can imagine the effect that had on those who heeded what the prophet was saying. Well, God didn't want His believing followers worrying themselves about it so this is what He said to them; through the preacher:

"Hail the just man, for he shall fare well; he shall eat the fruit of his works." (Isa 3:10)

God wanted His believing followers to know that although they would have to live through all those horrible judgments, they would come out okay. Well, Jacob can't escape his brother, but he is going to come through it okay. So what can we get out of that? Well, if you know a crisis is coming up, don't run from it. Bite the bullet and pray about it: be quite candid, and tell God that you're frightened. Maybe He will find a way to encourage you so it won't be as bad as you think.

Webster's defines "courage" as: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Courage is an excellent virtue; and it's interesting who has it and who doesn't.

Fearless people aren't courageous. Scaredy cats facing their fears are the ones with courage. Fearless people are too often reckless and take foolish chances; whereas scaredy cats tread lightly. They're the ones with true valor; which Webster's defines as strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness; viz: personal bravery.

Fearless people haven't a clue what bravery is. They wade into life afraid of nothing. Fearless people have nerves of steel; whereas those who face life with bravery, courage, and valor possess a different kind of mettle. They don't have nerves of steel; instead: they have resolve.

Well, Jacob was very nervous about meeting with his brother. His next adventure would take all the courage, and the valor, and the bravery he could muster. The appearance of those angels must have gone a long way towards beefing up his resolve to see it through.
[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 32:3 . .When he saw them, Jacob said: This is God's camp. So he named that place Mahanaim.[/B]

The word "Mahanaim" is from [I]Machanayim [/I](makh-an-ah'-yim) which means: double camp and/or two camps. One camp was Jacob's and the other was God's. Man and God, in friendly proximity, united in a common purpose. Too cool.

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