Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 32:1-2

1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.

2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God’s host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.

We are about to read of Jacob’s reunion with Esau, and it will be abundantly clear how worrying this meeting was for him. He had made it safely away from Laban, but for all he knew he was going out of the frying pan and into the fire!

How comforting it must have been, then, to meet these angelic figures. We do not know what transpired between he and they, clearly the messengers did not remove the issue of meeting with Esau, but at least there would have been the comfort of knowing God was still watching over him in this, his greatest moment of need. Jacob would still have to continue into the lion’s den, but he would not have to go alone.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 28:10-11

10 And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran. 

11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.

This seems like it would be a very fragile time for Jacob. He was raised in a comfortable home, the son and grandson of rich and powerful men, and he had a delicate disposition, preferring to dwell in his father’s tent than to roam in the wild.

Now he is fleeing from his home, in fear for his life, out in the middle of nowhere, and using hard stones for his pillow! Later in this chapter we will hear what thoughts are weighing on his mind, and he is longing for is “bread to eat, and raiment to put on, and to come again to my father’s house in peace” (Genesis 28:20-21).

Alone, afraid, and in want, this is certainly not the happiest of situations to be in. Yet it is while he is isolated and without earthly comfort that Jacob will finally find his God.

That They Might Have Joy- Psalm 34:18, 94:18-19; John 14:18

The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.
In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

COMMENTARY

The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart
Previously we observed that those whose hope is based in heaven are less likely to feel distressed by the setbacks of the world. But that isn’t meant to suggest that the faithful must never experience sorrow. Indeed, even Jesus wept when he heard of the death of his friend Lazarus.
Even with the hope of heaven, there are still some moments that will make us sad down to the soul. To express sorrow in these moments does not show a lack of faith, and there is no shame in mourning life’s tragedies.

In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you

The gospel is a message of gladness, but it does not promise that we will never feel sorrow again. What it does promise is that we never have to be alone in that sorrow. We can be sad, but we can also be comforted.
Many have noted, and I would agree, that that promised comfort feels comes as a companionship. It feels like some invisible friend is sitting with me in my hardest moments. And through those moments I have discovered that one may feel sorrow and joy at the same time.