Gen. 32:1-3 – [After God protected Jacob from Laban's wrath] “Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, 'This is the camp of God!' So he named that place Mahanaim. Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom.”
- Jacob had just experienced God's miraculous rescue from his ticked-off father-in-law, and now he sees the supernatural manifestation of God's angels right before his eyes! Woohoo! So what does he do? He names a patch of ground, and then – ho-hum – proceeded with his own plan as though he'd never seen God's power available to him. In which of your piles rests the Cross of Christ and the Holy Spirit?
- Jacob tried to TALK his way out of trouble. Many of us believe if we can just TALK to or reason with someone, we can work things out. I've heard it said that if I spent as much time talking to God about a certain individual as I spent talking to that individual about God…we'd all be better off. Unfortunately, I seem to think my words are more effective in swaying a heart than my prayers…hmmm.
- Jacob tried to THINK-STRATEGIZE-WORRY his way out of trouble. He used the same word, Mahanaim, to describe the camps he was dividing but didn't include God in either group! How many times do we think, plan and worry – without once including God in the strategy session?
- Jacob tried to PRAY his way out of trouble. So what's wrong with that? He even prays God's Words back to Him. That sounds like a great idea! Absolutely! But here's the problem. What happens AFTER the prayer? Did Jacob receive peace after the prayer that was accompanied by faith? Were Jacob's next words/actions those of a man trusting God with his future? Was Jacob's prayer a panicked plea from a desperate man or an urgent request from a confident covenant bearer? There is a difference.
- Jacob tried to BUY his way out of trouble. The last-ditch effort. If the talking, planing and praying didn't work, maybe bribery would speak his brother's language. Call it insurance…or call it doubt.
- Jacob was divided. He was in one camp, his peace offerings in another…Mahanaim…but no angels of God in either.