Still thinking about a New Year opening up. This portion of Scripture I love comes to mind.
The morning after Jacob wrestled through the night with God, Jacob began to lead his entourage and looked up to see his brother Esau coming. Jacob and Esau, at odds with each other, meet. Esau, with 400 of his men behind him. And Jacob, with his wives, children, and maidservants and their children behind him.
As they met, Jacob bowed before Esau. A deep bow of reverence. Seven times, he bowed. In hopes of winning his brother’s heart of forgiveness, to mend the brokenness, the separation.
Esau ran to Jacob. Hugged his neck and kissed him.
They both wept.
After Esau’s acceptance of Jacob’s gift, Esau said, “Let us get started on our journey, and I will go before you.” (Gen. 33:12 Amp)
Jacob said, “You know, my lord, that the children are tender and delicate and need gentle care, and the flocks and herds with young are of concern to me…Let my lord, pass over before his servant; and I will lead on slowly, governed by…the endurance of the children.” (Gen. 33:13a, 14 Amp)
Jacob knew how far the children and flocks could go, how slow their pace could be. He knew because he had been on this wilderness journey before. He knew the rough terrain, the heat of the day, the endurance it took. So, he could lead them with loving care.
Such a deep well of thoughts to draw from! Do we bow in deference to those with whom we are at odds, taking the first step of reconciliation to mend the brokenness and separation?
We are God’s children, the sheep of His flock. Isaiah said of the Lord, “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in His arm, He will carry them in His bosom and will gently lead those that have their young.” (Is. 40:11 Amp)
Lead on slowly in the Genesis verse also means gently, gentleness, and flowing. Gently lead in the Isaiah verse also means to conduct, to lead, to lead with care, to guide to a watering place or station, to bring to a place of rest, to guide, to refresh, to protect and sustain. Isn’t that comforting? (This second word is also used in the Psalm passage below.)
Throughout the New Year, the Lord will lead us on slowly, according to our endurance. Not one step will He allow us to take that is not for our benefit, that we are not able to endure.
We have not “passed this way before,” (Josh. 3:4 NKJV) but the Lord has. He has gone before us; He knows the way. He knows the potholes, the rough terrain, the heat of the way, the watering holes, the level of strength and endurance we have or don’t have. He knows our faltering steps. He goes before us to make a way and leads us on gently, to those still waters to refresh us…
“The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul.”
Ps. 23:1-3a NKJV
The Lord says as Esau, “Let us get started on our journey, and I will go before you.”
Lead on, Lord! Lead on!
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