In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups, and the flocks and herds and camels as well.
Fear can be a powerful force in our lives. For much of his life, Jacob had tried to act as a person in control, someone who could figure his way out of any hard place. After he successfully navigated his recent awkward encounter with Laban, we might think he would have felt confident in his abilities.
But now, as reports suggested that Esau, his brother, was coming to meet him with 400 men (an army?), Jacob was terrified. What more could he do to save himself? For the first time, we hear him praying the desperate prayer of a man who knows he can do nothing apart from God’s help and power.
We often imagine that we have the resources to deal with any problem that might come our way. Perhaps we even say that we depend wholly on God’s power, but we so often live as if our efforts and our know-how are what really matter.
When we face a situation we cannot control, we realize that we cannot rescue ourselves from our deepest fears. We cannot preserve our health. We cannot redeem our reputation. We cannot reconcile our broken relationships. We cannot save ourselves from our sin. We can depend only on the grace and power of God.
Have you come to the point of desperate prayer? As powerful as fear is, God’s grace in Christ is far more powerful. Praise God for his amazing grace!
Gracious God, I am unworthy of your kindness and faithfulness. Forgive and rescue me, Lord. I trust myself to you alone, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
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