Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are tender, and that the flocks and herds with me have their young, and if they overdrive them one day, all the flocks will die. Please let my lord pass over before his servant, and I will lead on gently, according to the pace of the livestock that are before me and according to the pace of the children, until I come to my lord to Seir.”
Esau said, “Let me now leave with you some of the folk who are with me.”
He said, “Why? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.”
So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir. Jacob traveled to Succoth, built himself a house, and made shelters for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.
Jacob came in peace to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan Aram; and encamped before the city. He bought the parcel of ground where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. He erected an altar there, and called it El Elohe Israel.
Jacob, who’s name is now Israel, starts to do things here that show that his relationship with God is growing and improving. He has now made peace with his brother and left his uncle, but he hasn’t found his way back to the land of his father yet. It’s good to remember that one of the reasons Jacob had to travel slowly now was because he was crippled. Jacob was also slowly growing in his relationship with his God. There appears to be a correlation between Jacob’s growth with God and his travel home.
It’s important that we not require those we love to grow up fast in their relationship with God. We need to give each other time and space. God allowed Jacob to travel slowly and even build a house. He ends up buying a piece of land and building an altar there. Jacob hasn’t really spent much time that we know of up to this point giving glory to his God. This is a big change. The name that he chose for the altar is good too. The name means that God is now his God. Jacob used the new name that God had given him for the altar as well.
Even though Jacob had a degree of peace now, the results of what his life had been up to this point were still around him as we see next, but God had his hand on Jacob and it is encouraging to see that God gives people time and space to grow.