הצילני נא מיד אחי מיד עשׂו כי־ירא אנכי אתו פן־יבוא והכני אם על־בנים׃
I'm not worthy of all the love and faithfulness you have shown your servant, since I crossed the Yarden with only my staff. But now I have become two camps. Please! Rescue me from my brother `Esav! I'm afraid of him, afraid he'll come and attack me, without regard for mothers or children.
(Gen 32:10-11 CJB)
JACOB THE HUMBLE MAN.
Jacob was a humble man. Though he returned from Laban’s mightily blessed, as he prayed asking for HaShem’s protection he said, “ I'm not worthy of all the love and faithfulness you have shown your servant...” (Gen 32:10). These words testify that he didn’t pray to from a demanding position. That is important to remember. It is important to remember that humility is one of the hallmarks of godliness. The sages of Israel often said that the proud and HaShem cannot occupy the same space.
Jacob emulated his grandfather’s humility. Abraham’s humility was proverbial. It was recognizable in his dealings with the inhabitants of Cana’an (Gen 12:6-8); with the Egyptian pharaoh (Gen 12:10-20); with his nephew Lot (Gen 13); with Melchizedek (Gen 14:18-20 and with his Sarah, his wife (Gen 21;12). Abraham’s prayers also came from the heart of a humble soul.
Jacob’s humility translated in his life in how he dealt with Laban’s unjust treatment (Gen 31:38-42) and how he felt compelled to make peace with his brother Esau (Gen 32-33). Jacob’s humility foreshadowed that of his descendant Moses whom the Torah says was the humblest man on earth (Ex 12;3). Abraham, Jacob, Moses were spiritual power-houses but they knew that their power was not their own. Their humility caused them to empty their hearts of their own will and ego, which in turn caused HaShem’s Spirit to dwell in them. HaShem can only live in a heart that empty of self and utterly yielded to Him. We should always approach HaShem in a spirit of humility, no matter what our position is in the world.
JACOB THE BLESSED MAN
While Jacob was humble in the presence of HaShem, he knew his position among men. He believed that he was more worthy of the Abrahamic covenant than his brother Esau was (Gen 25:29-34), (Gen 27); that in spite of all that had happened, he was the Abrahamic heir (Gen 28:10-22). He also believed that his humility and righteousness with his crooked boss Laban had earned him HaShem’s favor (Gen 31:38-42).
This same dichotomy between humility and confidence of one’s greatness is found in Abraham who left his land to own one already inhabited, under a promise of personal greatness (Gen 12:1-3); in Isaac who knowing that he was the inheritor of the Abrahamic covenant dealt humbly with Abimelech (Gen 26); in Moses who one day flees pharaoh in order to protect his life, only to return forty years later to tell him that he had no choice but to yield to HaShem’s demands. Moses also dealt humbly with his sister when she challenged his authority (Num 12:13).
Here is the important balance to own as servants of HaShem, as representatives of His Kingdom on earth. We may have our divinely ordained spiritually elevated position among men, but we must shed that pride when we come in His presence. Case in point? Even the High-priest, when coming before the Ark on Yom Kippur, exchanges his glorious ministerial garments for a simple linen one (Lev 16:3-4).
But how do we do we show ourselves humble before HaShem? It is easy to claim humility before HaShem but how do we prove it to others if we apply the teachings of our Rabbi Yeshua about prayer when He said, “Go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.” (Mat 6:6) We prove our humility before God through our humility before men made in HaShem's image, the godly and the ungodly one.
From Abraham to Joseph, the patriarchs, the fathers of our faith have proved their humility before God by their humility before men. We cannot claim humility before God when acting proud before men, so it behooves us to do the same as
We are called to judge the universe (1 Cor 6:2); we are called to maybe sit and rule with Messiah (Rev 5:10; 20:6); we are called to be the light of the world (Mat 5:14); but this proud and lofty destiny is only activated through a spirit of humility before HaShem evidenced through humility before those made in His image, the godly ones and the ungodly ones.
Yeshua was the prime example of mastering this dichotomy of virtue. From His lofty position, He did not have to deal with all of our human shenanigans, but He willingly subjected Himself to answer the Adversary (Luk 4); to respond to the accusations of the Sadducees, to the questions of some Pharisees, to Pilate’s, as well as to anyone who would ask Him a question. Whether for Jew or Gentiles, He walked miles to answer pleas for comfort and healing.
May we, like Jacob and the patriarchs also learn to live out our lofty destiny in all humility and meekness. May we in the same way they did and as our Master exhorted us to,
Let our light shine before people, so that they may see the good things we do ...
And as they see them,
... praise our Father in heaven.
(Mat 5:16 CJB)
R' Gavriel Lumbroso