Get Your Own Male Camels!

Posted: January 27, 2011 in The Word

                                                                    Most of us know the story of Esau and Jacob. You know… Esau and Jacob are twins, yet nothing alike. Esau is born first with Jacob holding onto his heel. Later Esau gives up his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew and Jacob goes to his father Isaac disguised as Esau and decietfully receives Isaacs blessing ahead of his first born brother.

       Of course, this didn’t sit well with Esau. Jacob fled and went to work for Laban, seven years in return for his daughter Rachel (Which turned into 14 years and two sister/wives). Jacob ended up leaving Laban feeling he had not been treated fairly. (Imagine that!)

       So, after deceiving and being decieved a number of times, Jacob finally comes to the time that he must face Esau. As their caravans approached each other at some distance, Jacob sent out a gift ahead of himself for his brother. Genesis 32:13-16 says the gift was as follows:

       200 female goats, 20 male goats

       200 ewes, 20 rams

       30 female camels and their young

       40 cows, 10 bulls

       30 female donkeys, 10 male donkeys

       That is a pretty impressive number… but I’d like to point out one part of the gift that doesn’t match the rest of the gift: 30 female camels and their young.

       All the other animals, being both male and female, were set up from the getgo to be able to reproduce immediately and to increase exponentially with no investment from Esau. All he had to do was receive the gift. However… if he wanted any more camels, he would have to supply the males himself.

       I don’t believe this is just some random list that is casually mentioned as a boring statistic for us to skim over. Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, Esau already has some male camels, so Jacob didn’t need to give him any.” Maybe, but in chapter 33 verse 9, Esau tries not to accept the gift, saying he already has plenty. He already had his own livestock. Jacobs gift was to find favor in his brother’s eyes and to smooth over their differences. So, is there a significance or am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

       I think it is symbolic for us today. Here’s how I see it:

       Sheep and goats and cows are used for food and sacrifices. God is our ultimate provider. The male and female given together suggest that the gift, given a little care, will multiply. This is a symbol of God taking care of His people, giving them enough for food, clothes (wool, skins) and enough to continue making sacrifices to Him.

       Donkeys are for bearing burdens. Here is a symbol of God’s never ending desire to help us carry our load. He tells us in His word that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He says we can cast all of our cares on him. His word also says he will not put more on us than we can bear. The number of donkeys increasing would mean that more burden could be handled, that more possessions could be carried more easily… and the donkeys would increase!

       So, what about the camels? What are they good for? Transportation.

       You see, if Esau didn’t move around, his herd would eat all the grass in the area and soon die. He wouldn’t need any donkeys to carry anything, since he wasn’t going anywhere. Sure, he could ride the female camels… and when their young grew up, he could ride them. Maybe some of the young were males, but we are not told that. Besides, who needs a bunch of inbred camels! Soon, the transportation would not be available.

       I think transportation represents ministry. We are told to go into all the world and to spread the gospel. We have our general orders and it is up to us to carry them out. We can choose to go nowhere, stay on one spot of land and let it be devoured, put no burden on the donkeys rendering them useless… or we can join our efforts to God’s plan by exercising our free will to go as we are asked to do.

       The choice is ours. We don’t have to go, but if we choose to go, God will multiply our effort by joining with us! He will provide food and clothing, he will carry our burdens and our efforts at ministry, joined with Him, will be prosperous and will multiply as well.

       Or, we can stay put, eat up all the grass, let the donkey’s wander around wonder why we seem to be in such a struggle to stay afloat.

       I think I’m going to put my own camels in the mix and see what God does!

       What do you think?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I like it! Never thought about it that way before. Thanks

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