I. KINDNESS WILL WORK WONDERS. "I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face." It gave Esau time to think of an altered state of things, a changed brother, and his own brotherly affection, not entirely destroyed.
II. IMPORTUNITY IN DOING GOOD. The repeated strokes upon the iron changes its nature. We may learn a lesson from Jacob to prepare human hearts for the reception of the gospel by the same importunity. Kind deeds and kind words will often open the way for a more direct face-to-face pleading for God.
III. EXPERIENCE SANCTIFIES. The trials of Jacob's life were working a deeper and more loving wisdom - working out the more selfish craft, and transmuting the natural features of a character, far from pure and simple at first, into such as blended more really with the work of grace. So in the course of providence family cares and anxieties deliver us from lower thoughts, or may do so, if we serve God, and help us to walk steadfastly in the way of faith.
IV. THE TRUE LOVE PROVIDES FOR ITS OBJECTS. The shepherd with his flocks, and family, with his little bands of precious ones, fearing for them, and yet working for them, and putting them before him in the hands of God, is a type of the great Shepherd of the sheep, who was "not ashamed to call them brethren;" and saying, as he stood in their midst, - partaker of their infirmities, representative of their wants and sorrows, guardian of their safety, - "I will put my trust in him. Behold I and the children which God hath given me" (Hebrews 2:13).
V. THE TWO WORLDS. If Esau be taken as a type of the kingdoms of this world threatening the kingdom of God, Jacob represents the little flock to whom the promise of victory and peace has been given. The true mediator must be left alone by the ford Jabbok. The place of his intercession and prevailing is where none of the people is with him, can be with him. - R.
A present for Esau.1. Prudent disposition of presents must follow the preparation of them.
2. Good servants are fit helps unto good masters for ordering their affairs.
3. Order is as needful as matter unto prudence to pacifiy enraged enemies.
4. Wise masters must give instructions to servants for the prosperity of their own affairs.
5. Lawful instructions from masters must be strictly observed by servants.
6. Humble presentations of saints to lords of the world is comely to procure peace.
7. Frequent and gradual expressions of such goodness and humility is most likely to overcome them.
8. Faces of cruel men are hard to be reconciled unto the faces of the righteous.
9. By foregoing gifts and preventing grace from God, saints may gel a good look from such men.
10. Jacob and Jacob's children are forced so to seek peace in the world.
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
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