The Restored Orchard

Deeper Roots – Genesis 33:12-20

photo of an open book on a tree s roots

A humbled and open heart is fertile soil for God’s seeds of wisdom. Establishing deeper roots requires analyzing God’s word to discover truths, values, and lessons for application to our lives. Periodically, a scripture or passage calls for further exploration, like Genesis 33:12-20.

12 “Well,” Esau said, “let’s be going. I will lead the way.”

13 But Jacob replied, “You can see, my lord, that some of the children are very young, and the flocks and herds have their young, too. If they are driven too hard, even for one day, all the animals could die. 14 Please, my lord, go ahead of your servant. We will follow slowly, at a pace that is comfortable for the livestock and the children. I will meet you at Seir.”

15 “All right,” Esau said, “but at least let me assign some of my men to guide and protect you.”

Jacob responded, “That’s not necessary. It’s enough that you’ve received me warmly, my lord!”

16 So Esau turned around and started back to Seir that same day. 17 Jacob, on the other hand, traveled on to Succoth. There he built himself a house and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place was named Succoth (which means “shelters”).

18 Later, having traveled all the way from Paddan-aram, Jacob arrived safely at the town of Shechem, in the land of Canaan. There he set up camp outside the town. 19 Jacob bought the plot of land where he camped from the family of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for 100 pieces of silver. 20 And there he built an altar and named it El-Elohe-Israel.

Genesis 33:12-20 NLT

Our Deeper Roots passage in Genesis demonstrates the beauty of time and maturation with God. Our scripture selection begins at the reunion of Jacob and Esau after 20 years. When they last parted, Esau had a plan to kill Jacob for stealing his birthright. Jacob had worn the shame of his past actions for years until the Lord blessed him with a new name, Israel. After their reconciliation, Esau offers to lead the way to Seir. Jacob declines his offer citing the children and livestock; he says that they will slow them down and tells Esau to go ahead without him. Then Esau offers to have his men guide and protect Jacob and his family, but again Jacob declines the offer. The brothers part ways; Esau went on to Seir and Jacob traveled to Succoth. From there Jacob went on to Shechem where he built an altar to God out of reverence for fulfilling promises.

The reunion of Esau and Jacob shows how God worked on their hearts over the years. They both had areas that needed to be matured and refined. Upon their reconnection, Esau was eager to embrace and help his brother. This was a very different Esau than the one that threatened to kill his twin over 20 years ago. Jacob ran out of fear, but returned in humility and offered gifts to his brother out of the abundance he had received from God. Again, a different picture than the deceptive nature he had in previous seasons. Even Jacob’s response after Esau’s offer of guiding and protecting gave insight into how much Jacob’s relationship with God had matured. Why accept the guidance and protection of his brother when he had the Lord leading and protecting him? That gesture shows how much both of the siblings had matured.

As time passes, God is maturing us. Every lesson learned helps us to grow deeper in our relationship with Him. We don’t know in detail what happened with Esau over those 20 years, but we know that he received his brother with a different attitude than when they previously departed. Something had to happen on the inside of him to be willing to let go of the anger and betrayal to embrace the person who had tricked him out of his birthright. And let’s not forget how Jacob went through a lot of situations with his uncle/father-in-law, wives, and even tending livestock. It was through those situations that God really worked on his heart. Jacob released different mindsets that hindered his spiritual maturity and earned a new name/identity. That’s the challenge for us today; to look at the situations that we encounter as an opportunity for God to mature us and to reconcile whenever we have the opportunity.

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