Genesis 32:6-8 (NIV)
6 When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”
The relationship between Esau and Jacob became very rocky after Jacob bargained with Esau to get this birthright and then to deceive his father to get the blessings of the firstborn. Jacob didn’t think too much of his brother and did whatever he could do to get ahead. In hindsight, he may have had regrets after the fact, but thoughtless or sinful actions can create a big rift between us and those that we are to love. Some siblings tend to have tendencies to annoy each other or the extreme case of distancing themselves from their brother, sister or parents. Jacob had to run for his life and to go to a distant land to start all over with nothing. He was also deceived by Laban and had 14 years to reflect on what he did to his brother. God gave him instructions to Jacob to go back to the land of his fathers and to his relatives. He probably did have some reservations about going back, but he obeyed.
Jacob was concerned when he received news that his brother Esau was coming with four hundred men with him. Jacob showed courage, character and humility as he continued to approach his brother. He could have avoided the whole situation, but continued to be reconciled with Esau. Esau sent ahead gifts and when approaching his brother, he bowed down to the ground seven times, demonstrating his submission to his older brother.
Jacob did what he needed to do to be reconciled with his brother. God gave him the calling and he had to be willing to abandon his own life in Paddan Aram and convince his wives that it was time for them to leave their family as well. He showed tremendous leadership and humility as he knew that God was with him. He had nothing when he arrived in Paddan Aram. When he left, he had numerous herds, two wives, many children and many servants. He understood that God wanted him to be reconciled to Esau and to make peace with him and that God would be there for him. We can learn from his example to set aside everything in order to be reconciled with somebody in our lives.