Everlasting arms

3 Mar

Book of Deuteronomy 33:27, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms”.

Open hands …. Genesis 32; 33. Esau, Jacob’s open arms

33: 4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him.

Jesus arms are open. Open on the cross open to displease and children; open to sinners and tax collectors; open to broken families and siblings. And open to you and me.

Why? Why does the God of the universe become vulnerable, so very vulnerable to all?

He does so to model to us how we can daily defeat, overcome, sins, besetting sins in our lives.

Jacob had cheated his twin Esau out of both Esau’s birthright and blessing. His actions led to breakage: cracks are in formed in his family and his heart. For twenty years he works in and for another man ( Laban ) household and wealth. He is cheated out of life and love. He responds by deceiving and manipulating others. Till he goes to meet his twin Esau, the brother who desires to murder him.

Facing this reunion moment, this, his greatest fear, Jacob moves,

Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is the camp of God!”So he named that place Mahanaim.

Angels met Jacob. They open their appearance to him. He sees them. He sends his family and possessions ahead and alone, he prays.

9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”

Jacob sees in his prayer not just angels, but himself. He sees his sin; his lack of worth, his fear. Yet he also sees and hears and remembers the promise of his God: his descendants will be vast. He will live.

His arms open to wrestle an angel that same night. He does not let go even thought his hip is wrenched so badly that he will limp the rest of his life. And now he will meet his elemental fear, Esau.

Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. 2 He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. 3 He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.

4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.

Esau runs to love his brother, to embrace his Jacob with open arms. And Jacob is ‘running’ too. Each painful step is his embrace of the pain he created; each step is a reminder of the blessing of love: his brother’s and his family; of his wives and his angel. Of his Lord; of everlasting open arms.

Jesus’ arms is open to heal, to embrace, to love. Within the arms of Jesus, Jacob can run.

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