What do you fear? A situation? A person? Jacob was afraid. When he last saw his brother Esau, Esau comforted himself with thoughts of killing Jacob. Now Jacob was coming home after 20 years to meet Esau. What would happen? Would there be a warm welcome and family reunion dinner? He was greatly afraid and distressed, not only for his own life but his wives and children also (as for Jacob having more than one wife, this was wrong and it’s a topic for another article). What could Jacob do about Esau?
First, he saw that God is present in this situation. Jacob had a vision of the angels of God who met him. He said, “This place is God’s camp!” He knew God was there. Jesus said, “I will be with you always,” and that includes hard times and times of fear. Spurgeon said, “We may go on our way in peace and safety, for God’s hosts are all around us. We do not go unattended at any single moment of our lives. Better than squadrons of horses and regiments of foot soldiers are the ‘ministering spirits sent out to serve those who are going to inherit salvation (Heb 1:14).’” Do you know God? Is God on your side? When you are afraid, remember His presence.
Second, Jacob prayed. “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’” Jacob recognizes who God is, the God of his father, the God who promises and commands, the God who does good, the God who blesses, the God who keeps His promises. Jacob is humble, “not worthy,” and depends on God to save him. He has done it before and He can do it again. What “small g god” do you turn to when you’re afraid? Do you know who God is and depend on Him, the only true and wise God?
Finally, Jacob planned and prepared. He separated His people into two camps, to protect one if Esau would attack the other. He sent numerous and plentiful gifts ahead to Esau, in hopes to appease him and make peace and avoid a fight. Hannibal on “The A team” always said, “I love it when a plan comes together.” There’s nothing wrong with a plan when it’s a tool and doesn’t take the place of God. God is a planner and gave us brains to use and expects us to plan. We plan as James said, “This is what you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” What’s your plan for dealing with your fear?
Calvin said, “God does not promise that He will be present with us for the purpose of removing us from all our dangers, but in order that fear may not prevail and overwhelm us in despair.” Is your “small g god” going to help you through the fear you face? Trust in this God, repent of your sin, turn to Him. The good news is He is present, He hears and answers prayer, and He is in the planning.