by Mary Vee
Jacob's eyes popped open. Dawn. Better get moving. Let's see, what should I give Esau to keep him from attacking my family?
Jacob wandered out to his herds. I'll select some of my finest animals. He separated 220 goats, 220 sheep, 30 milk camels and their colts, 50 cattle, and 30 donkeys. Jacob looked the group of animals over. Yes, this should make Esau happy.
Once Jacob guided the goats, sheep, camels, cattle,and donkeys away from the other animals, he returned to the camp for breakfast.
Joseph ran to him and gave him a hug. "Momma says I'm gonna see Uncle Esau soon."
Jacob smiled. "That's right. Run along and play with your brothers." He gave his son a gentle push.
Jacob shoved his breakfast down his throat. I need to get everyone moving. Once all my possessions are split and we're on the road, I'll feel better.
The second after he swallowed the last bite of food, a loud, rumbling burp roared from his stomach. All his sons, daughter, servants, and wives burst out laughing. Gad and Issachar rolled on the ground, holding their stomach while chortling. Reuben, Simeon, and Levi held their breath to keep from laughing, but failed. A sudden guffaw kept everyone laughing.
Jacob held his hand up. "Settle down everyone." It didn't help. Once a laugh starts, its hard to make it stop.
He waved a few servants over to him. "Come with me." Jacob led them to the family herds. "I've set apart these animals as a gift for my brother, Esau. Take them ahead of the rest of the camp, keeping each type separate. Drive one group of animals behind the other."
Jacob turned to the highest ranking servant. "Take your group first. When you see my brother, tell him 'These animals belong to your servant Jacob. It is a present to my lord Esau. He is coming behind us."
Jacob repeated the instructions to the four other servants, reminding them to approach Esau one at a time. They ran back to the camp to pack their belongings then left.
After the sun set and the temperatures were cooler, Jacob led his family toward the river. When they reached the water, he helped his family cross. He went back across the brook to help move their supplies across. Back and forth he went, helping. His family set to work arranging a camp for the night.
Jacob took one last look around for anything forgotten. He looked to his left. Is that a person I see? Alone, out here? The Man came closer and wrestled Jacob to the ground.
Jacob realized he was wrestling with the Angel of the Lord. They battled until the sun began to rise. The Angel touched Jacob's hip and pushed it out of joint. Jacob held tight and shouted, "I will not let You go unless You bless me."
The Lord said, "What is your name?"
Jacob replied, "Jacob."
The Lord said, "Your name will now be called Israel, for you've struggled with God and men and have prevailed." Moments later the Lord blessed him there.
Jacob stood. He watched the Man leave and said, "I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved." He took a step to cross the water and felt a sharp pain in his hip. Hobbling across the water, he noticed the sun glowing in the eastern sky, starting a new day.
So many things have changed for Jacob since he left his home years ago. He has a family, riches, and now a new name. Jacob's received a new name right before he crossed the water into the promise land. What do you think that means?