Day 1: Vayishlach/Genesis 32:3-12
Yacov started his sojourning in Haran because of the fear of a man. It was Yacov’s own actions that had warranted retaliation, but his brother, Esau, was bent on revenge to the point of scheming Yacov’s murder. Certainly, this would have been enough to send anyone fleeing, seeking to escape their own death.
Twenty years later, it was time for Yacov to return to the land of his fathers’. He begins that journey with fear of retaliation from Laban, which drove him to leave Haran and caused Yacov to leave without being noticed for three days. Then, after getting things squared away with Laban, he had yet another obstacle in his path—Esau was still alive and might still want revenge.
It is quite evident that Yacov remained as a servant/hired hand to Laban until he heard the Voice of Elohim reminding him of his vow at Bethel and telling him it was time to go home. That was enough to give Yacov confidence to leave with his wives, children, and livestock.
Yacov remained in Haran until the time that he heard Laban’s sons decry his possession in contrast to their father’s; thus, hearing YHVH’s voice, Yacov was set to leave.
When it came time to cross over the Jordan River back into the Promised Land, Yacov faced one more bout of fear; and, it was of the same from which he had fled previously.
The fear of Esau caused a reaction in Yacov that may not have been obtainable to him twenty years prior. Yacov had been tam/complete or upright as Torah contrasted him with Esau, who was a man of the field. However, even as the complete and upright man he was before Elohim and his parents, Yacov still needed maturing time and for wisdom to overtake any aspect of pride or sin nature.
The time spent in service for two wives and his amassed fortune in livestock and servants was what YHVH used to instill wisdom in order to override the fear of man or inclination to sin. As the most important trait gained through those years of labor, humility would exude out from Yacov on the eve of reuniting with Esau.
After finding out about Esau’s eminent roadside conclave, Yacov reminds Elohim of His promise in the form of a prayer. Yacov remembered that Elohim had vowed to prosper Yacov upon returning to Canaan. After all, certainly, prosperity would last longer than a single day after crossing back over the Jordan!
Then, something remarkable happened. Yacov admitted his limitations, his fears, and anxieties. Yacov humbled himself before the Almighty in the show of needing more than his strength, his fortunes, or any other abilities. He needed Elohim to deliver him from man.
Fear and anxiety play large motivational roles for most of us. Many people, from marketers to politicians to the media use fear to create anxiety in our lives so as to manipulate our thinking, buying habits, and lifestyles. For Yacov, fear of man was a cause of running away and borderline paralysis.
Fear can have the same effects on us as we contemplate things like disease, places to live, schools, vocations, fellowships, and much more. The single response that truly breaks (rather than masking) these cycles of fear is having humility to YHVH as the only One to have the answers and the power to deliver us.
Wherever we go, there will be “neighborhood bullies” who want to run and ruin our lives. In Psalm 34:19 YHVH states, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but YHVH delivers him out of them all.”
Yacov was not done with affliction or adversity. While in Canaan, he would deal with sons that would sin against him and the inhabitants of the land. He would endure the heartache of an assumed deceased son, along with the effects of famine. Yet, in all of these instances, YHVH delivered Yacov, granting him prosperity and life.
We, too, can benefit from the humbleness of heart if we give all our cares and burdens to Messiah Who cares for us.
Dwell upon Proverbs 22:4, “The reward of humility and the fear of YHVH are riches, honor, and life.”