Fruits of True Repentance Manifested (Gen 32:1-23)
“Repentance” means a change of mind. The doctrine of repentance teaches that true repentance will lead to fruits of repentance. The believer will no longer hunger for sinful things but for the things of God. Genesis 32:1-23 is an account of Jacob’s genuine repentance which was manifested in the following ways:
1. True acceptance of God’s will. Twenty years earlier, Jacob deceived his brother Esau of his birthright with the help of his mother. He now must confront his past and be prepared to meet Esau. In Genesis 32:1-2, Jacob was very fearful but he accepted the consequences of his sin. His submission to the will of God is a mark of true repentance. God sent His angels (“God’s host,” a mighty army) to accompany Jacob. God provides comfort and assurance when we do His will, and He may turn the consequences of our sin into blessings. We can trust our Lord’s all-sufficient grace as we face the consequences.
2. Desire to make right and to reconcile. In Genesis 32:3-5, consistent with Jacob’s acceptance of God’s will, he desired to reconcile with Esau. In any disagreement, usually both parties are at fault. When one party humbles himself and initiate the reconciliation process, it is an expression of submitting to God and accepting the consequences. God is always with us as we seek to do His will.
3. Right approach used. Jacob sought God through prayer (Gen 32:9-12):
(a) He acknowledged that God is Jehovah. “LORD” (Jehovah) describes the covenant-keeping God. Covenant refers to how God chooses to relate to man.
(b) He prayed, showing his willingness to submit to God. True repentance means we will now do what the Lord wants us to do.
(c) He acknowledged his unworthiness. There was no arrogance/pride. He knew he needed God’s mercy.
(d) He expressed his desire to God. He was completely honest with God and brought his fears before God. We too need to go to God in complete honesty.
(e) He concluded by recounting God’s promise.
4. Right action taken. Jacob’s repentance led him to the “fruit” of taking the right action (Gen 32:13-23). He prepared valuable gifts (male and female animals meant for breeding) for Esau, showing his sincerity in making restitution.
When we repent truly and manifest the fruits of repentance, the Lord will strengthen, comfort and assure us.s