“Then Esau said, “Let us journey on our way, and I will go ahead of you, “ But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are frail, and the nursing flocks and herds are a care to me. If they are driven hard for one day, all the flocks will die. Let my lord pass on ahead of his servant, and I will lead on slowly, at the pace of the livestock that are ahead of me and at the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.” (Genesis 33:12-14)
In Genesis 33 Jacob returns to Canaan and is reunited with his estranged brother Esau. They had not seen each other for over 20 years. Jacob returns with obvious evidence of God’s blessings – flocks, herds, wives, children, etc. However, he’s also coming back with an injury. In Genesis 32:24 we are told, “And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.” Jacob survived the encounter but only after his hip was supernaturally ‘put out of joint’. As a consequence, Jacob would have a limp for the rest of his life.
Upon their reunion, Esau pleads with Jacob to return with him. Jacob declines. He tells his brother in essence, “You go on ahead. As for me, I can’t go any faster than the weak and the frail that are with me. “
In the kingdom of God there will always be people who for one reason or another, lag behind. They are weaker, slower, and frailer than the rest. Jacob’s injury brought him to a place of humility. Never again would he forge ahead in youthful pride and power. Instead he would limp alongside the weak and the feeble.