"In today’s reading we see how Jacob’s guilt caused him to try to reconcile with his brother. Jacob’s heart was changed through an important encounter with God – a wrestling match." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)
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,' 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. 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. 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.' " (Genesis 32:9-12)Jacob prays honestly and humbly before God.
But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. (Genesis 33:4)God answers Jacob's prayer for help beyond what Jacob could have been imagining. Jacob planned to soften Esau's desire for revenge by having him meet his family and receive gifts from him before they met face to face. Jacob hoped this would make Esau think twice before he killed his twin brother.
It had been 20 years since Jacob had cheated Esau out of their father's blessing and God had changed both men and soften their hearts over those years. Jacob had expected anger and revenge but received forgiveness.
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Photo of The Reconciliation of Jacob and Esau painted around 1624 by Peter Paul Rubens.