After Jacob swindled his careless brother out of his birthright, deceiving others and being deceived began to mark some of the biggest points in Jacob’s life. By the time he crossed paths with Esau again, Jacob was quite afraid of what bitterness could have done to his scorned brother. The last Jacob knew, Esau was out for Jacob’s blood, and that still put the fear in Jacob a couple of decades later.
Even though their father technically blessed Jacob (through trickery), making him the brother that would rule over the others, Jacob scampered around like a coward, hiding family members, sending peace offerings, and fretting up a storm. During this final day or so before the reunion between these brothers who had been at war with one another since the womb, Jacob wrestled with God. Jacob, as determined as ever, wouldn’t let go until he received a blessing–this time, a blessing that was truly his own. At this point, God inflicted him with a hip injury and proclaimed that Jacob had prevailed. That’s not how we usually see a wrestling match end, with the one who is limping proclaimed the winner. In this case, God actually gave Jacob a limp to show his weakness, and in that weakness God declared Jacob victorious. Humility is indeed the remedy for the proud heart.
When Esau and Jacob finally reunited, Esau shocked his brother by greeting him with a strong embrace and a kiss. Of course, they did argue, but this time it was over accepting gifts instead of placing blame. These brothers didn’t have a history of goodness with one another. They didn’t have a happy reunion due them, and they didn’t evolve into peaceful men. These men were given grace by God Himself–not to defeat, but to forgive one another.
“And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two female servants with their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last of all. He himself went on before them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
‘But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, ‘Who are these with you?’ Jacob said, ‘The children whom God has graciously given your servant.'” – Genesis 33:1-5