Breaking the yoke of bitterness (part 2 of 3)
Get up! Let’s go! As the first rays of the new day break through the clouds, I rally 400 of my best men. Enough of these gifts from my brother. I’m going to go meet him!. So we head out in the direction from where the droves of animals had come from yesterday. The morning sun seems particularly brilliant today. The clouds are full of majesty and my heart races at the thought of finally meeting my brother and his family. I want to know all about mother and father and all my brother’s plans. Perhaps we could join our tribes together? So much we could accomplish!
Jacob! He bows down seven times as he approaches me. Doesn’t he remember the promise? “The older will serve the younger.” That’s what our mother told us. I should be bowing down to you Jacob. So I run. I throw off my sword and my tunic. My heart beats so fast in my chest that I fear it will leap out onto the hot sand. My lungs gasp in the air and feet pound the ground beneath me as I run. Oh my brother! My arms embrace him so forcibly that we fall to the ground. We both weep. Tears of joy. Tears of forgiveness. Tears of love.
As we stand back up, I notice the beautiful women smiling at us, each one tearing up as they witnessed the two brothers reunited. The children run laughing toward us, and I embrace each one. These are the blessings God has given my brother! Joseph! My how he’s grown. He’s just a boy, but he has his father’s eye already. And then I see Rachel, my sister-in-law. I kneel and kiss her hand. She is royalty.
As we laugh and cry, we head back to my camp. “What do you mean by all these droves I met?”, I ask Jacob. He says it was all to find favor in my eyes. I plead with him, for I harbor no hatred for him any longer. God has blessed me too. I only want to restore our family. So I say, “I already have plenty my brother.” Still my brother insists on wanting me to keep the extravagant gift. Then he says the most curious, most astonishing, most mind-boggling thing I’ve ever heard. My brother’s words make no sense to me. “To see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.”
The face of God!? The words penetrate my soul, yet I cannot process their meaning now. One day I would comprehend something of their meaning but for now I am awestruck. Why does my brother say such a thing? I am a ungodly man, a man who gave away his inheritance. My heart has often been seething with murderous thoughts. I’ve hated my own mother, doing whatever I could to anger her. I have been wicked and ungodly, and now my brother says he sees the face of God? In my face?
I beg my brother to unite our tribes. The week that passed since our encounter has been the happiest of my life. Our children play so well together. Our possessions are abundant. We would make a great nation together, a powerful nation that could rule this land. But my brother would have none of it. He insisted on going his own way. And once again he deceived me. He said, “Go on ahead of me, to Seir. We’ll meet there. All my children and my droves will meet you. We have to go very slowly but we will catch up.” Ha! This time I just laugh at my brother’s fearful games. He had no intention of meeting me in Seir. He ran off right away to Succoth! Why is Jacob so afraid? And what did he mean by seeing the face of God in me?