Week #8 - Vayishlakh (And He Sent)

Genesis 32:4-36:43

Genesis 32:4-9  Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau, to the land of Seir, the field of Edom. He also commanded them saying, “This is what you should say to my lord, to Esau: ‘This is what your servant Jacob said: I’ve been staying with Laban, and have lingered until now. Now I’ve come to possess oxen and donkeys, flocks, male servants and female servants. I sent word to tell my lord, in order to find favor in your eyes.’” The messengers returned to Jacob saying, “We went to your brother, to Esau, and he’s also coming out to meet you—and 400 men with him.” So Jacob became extremely afraid and distressed. He divided the people with him, along with the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, for he thought, “If Esau comes to one camp and strikes it, the camp that’s left will escape.”

I believe we all recognize we have been sent. What that means to the individual, however, varies.

We know Yeshua spoke to His disciples and told Them to “go and make disciples of all nations.” But let’s “peal the onion” back a bit…

Pretense - Attempting to make something that is not the case appear to be true; The practice of inventing imaginary situations in play.

What was Jacob’s motive when he sent his messengers?
What was Esau’s when he came with 400 men?

Genesis 32:6 ויהי־לי שׁור וחמור צאן ועבד ושׁפחה ואשׁלחה להגיד לאדני למצא־חן בעיניך׃

In the Hebrew above the words for oxen, donkeys, sheep, menservants, and maidservants are singular.

Is he testing the “spirits?” After all let’s remember why he has been with Laban for 20 years.

Or-is he letting Esau know he has made able to take care of himself , he will not need any assistance from Esau? After all Jacob left with only his staff and now has returned with many possessions.

Does Esau really want to fight? Or is he letting Jacob know he has done well for himself despite not keeping the birthright and losing the blessing?

When Yeshua sends us out, our motives need to be pure. This is in every area of our life.

James 4:8  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded!

In Genesis 32:8 above, we read Jacob became “extremely afraid and distressed.” 

Let’s stroll down memory lane with Jacob and his encounters with YHWH and Laban.

Jacob had a dream, he saw a ladder with “angels” ascending and descending. Here he had an encounter with YHWH.

Genesis 28:13-17  Surprisingly, Adonai was standing on top of it and He said, “I am Adonai, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your seed. Your seed will be as the dust of the land, and you will burst forth to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed—and in your seed. Behold, I am with you, and I will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land, for I will not forsake you until I have done what I promised you.” Jacob woke up from his sleep and said, “Undoubtedly, Adonai is in this place—and I was unaware.” So he was afraid and said, “How fearsome this place is! This is none other than the House of God—this must be the gate of heaven!”

While with Laban, he married Leah and Rachel. He also was given Bilhah and Zilpah. Between these four “wives”, he had 11 sons and 1 daughter.  He acquired menservants and maidservants. He also had herds and flocks. Laban kept changing Jacob’s wages, yet YHWH blessed him. (Genesis. 29-31)

Even though Jacob took his family and possessions without Laban’s knowledge, YHWH protected Jacob when Laban pursued and overtook him. (Genesis 31:3-54)

Matthew 10:16  “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

It’s interesting Yeshua tells us to be “wise as serpents” but “gentle as doves.”

The serpent in Biblical days, according to the ancients was an emblem of cunning and wisdom.

Yeshua directed his followers to imitate the serpent was in its caution in avoiding danger. No animal equals them in the rapidity and skill which they evince in escaping danger. So said Yeshua to his disciples, You need caution and wisdom in the midst of a world that will seek your lives. He directs them, also, to be harmless, not to provoke danger, not to do injury, and thus make their fellow-men justly enraged against them. Doves are, and always have been, a striking emblem of innocence. Most people would foolishly destroy a serpent, be it ever so harmless, yet few are so hard-hearted as to kill a dove.

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