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.
Himself lodged that night in the company.1. Honest hearts do not only intend good, but see it done, before they rest.
2. Means lawful being used for safety, men may better lie down in peace.
3. It behoveth masters of families to rest among the charge, when it may be (ver. 21).
4. Diligence and early care of their's becomes Governors of families in times of danger.
5. Wives and children are the chiefest matter of a man's care and providence.
6. It is fatherly care to see as much as they can wives and children past danger (ver. 22).
7. It is the duty of the father of the family to order the motions of all under him.
8. After wives and children, substance is to be cared for, to keep it safe, for subsistence (ver. 23).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
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