9 And Jacob said, "O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD who said to me, 'Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,'
10 I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps.
11 Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children.
We have jumped ahead to events surrounding Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, who has offended his brother Esau in stealing his blessing and inheritance. Esau was the eldest and the favourite of Isaac, but Jacob was the one through whom God promised to fulfil his covenant to Abraham. Here, after years of absence, Jacob has returned to his homeland, the land in which the promises of God must be fulfilled, and he fears for his life because of Esau.
Jacob has finally realised that he can't always use his cunning and trickery to escape a difficult situation. He prays fervently to God to deliver him.
Jacob's prayer is very thoughtful. In it he:
- Reminds God of his covenant to be fulfilled by mentioning his lineage as the grandson of Abraham
- Reminds God that he is following the command to return to his homeland (and hinting that God should protect him because it was God's idea to return and face this danger)
- Confesses he is not worthy, though God has been merciful and gracious in blessing (why not continue this pattern?)
- Pleads for deliverance from attack by his brother
God answers his prayer by protecting him - by making Jacob pleasing in the eyes of Esau.