Jacob said, “No, please, if I have found favor in your sight, then accept my present from my hand. For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me.”
In the middle ages, the chopped-up “innards” of a deer were often cooked into a pie. These were called the “umbles” and the pie was “umble pie.” Very often, this sort of pie was eaten by people from a “humble” station in life, and the term evolved into “humble pie.” Eventually, in English society, that term took on the meaning of owning up to something you had done wrong.
In the early 1800s, there was a story about an American soldier who shot a crow with his rifle. A British officer complimented the young man on the shot and asked to see the rifle, which he then turned on the soldier, demanding that the young man take a bite from the crow. Once the rifle was returned, the soldier turned the tables on the officer, pointed the gun at him and forced the Brit to consume the rest of the crow. That’s one story about how we got the term “eating crow,” or taking up the distasteful task of admitting a serious wrong.
In Genesis 33, you can see Jacob eating a healthy portion of crow and humble pie. After a number of years living far away from home, Jacob has finally decided to return home, but he realizes that means he will come face-to-face with his brother Esau – who he had duped out of his birthright and inheritance. Jacob had every reason to suspect that Esau would still be hacked off about the deception, especially since they hadn’t seen or communicated with each other since then. In Genesis 32 you see Jacob preparing for the impending showdown, which finally takes place in Genesis 33.
Jacob ultimately had to face up to what he had done, and he did so by offering a huge gift of livestock to show his brother that he was truly sorry. And he found that an amazing thing had happened – time and distance had done an incredible healing work on Esau’s heart. Their eventual face-to-face meeting completed that healing as the brothers were finally able to put the past behind them.
Putting off the difficult tasks of life rarely works out well. At some point, you will have to eat crow or humble pie and come face-to-face with whatever you’ve been avoiding. That’s especially true in relationships, where the rawness between two people only gets worse the longer their differences go unresolved.
Today, search your heart and ask the Lord if there are any difficult situations in life that you need to deal with. If there are, ask Him to give you the strength to face those situations with strength and courage, and to stand with you along the way.
Reflection copyright © 2016 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.