And it looks like Jacob wasn’t the only one who was transformed. Esau, who had every right to be angry and attack his brother forgives him without question, without even being asked for forgiveness. I wonder what had happened to him in the years that Jacob was away? Did he have his own encounter with God, he has obviously been blessed with wealth. We don’t know but we see here a wonderful example of forgiveness and humility on his side.
Another point of this story is how Jacob gives all the glory to God when it comes to talking about his wealth and everything that he has achieved. He could easily have been proud and tried to convince his brother that it was all his own work to try and impress him, but he humbly recognises God in front of his brother, giving all the glory to Him.
After planning on following his brother because the journey would be too tough after their already long journey, Jacob pitches his tent in Shechem and raises an altar to God, a monument to all He had done for him. It’s easy to imagine the people of the city near where it was built looking out and wondering what it was and who the “God of Israel” is.
It reminds me to write down, to tell others of those things God has done for me. I suppose some of our modern day altars are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media. How do we build our altars and show off what God has done for us – not for our own pride, but with the aim of getting people to ask questions and to point them to the God of us. We sing about God being high and lifted up, or magnifying him, exalting him: one way of doing that is to build these altars by sharing our stories.
It’s easy to forget some of the things God has done for us which is why in many places in the Bible they built altars to celebrate what God has done not just for the person who built it to see but for all those around. The phrase “One person’s testimony is another’s prophecy” is very true, if we share what God has done, others can hear and think “God can do that for me too!” and then have an encounter with Him. So build altars and share all the wondrous works of our God.
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Father God, please help me to remember all those wonderful things you have done for me and show me how to raise altars to those things to encourage, inspire and point those around me to you. Amen