Today’s Passage: Genesis 33 10
As we strive to live a life of morality and good in God’s America, we must cling like never before to the solid instructions for life from the Bible. Atheists and liberals have perverted the very traditions that ushered in our era of peace, prosperity and harmony, and it can become hard for a person of good ethics to forgive them for the destruction they sow.
Today’s lesson is here not as a rebuke against those who may feel anger against our wordly brothers who have betrayed all decency and morality, but rather an inspirational story of how we should embrace those we consider to be naught but vile sinners. It is a story of keeping God in your heart and reconciliation through Christ.
The vital lesson that has become lost on many of us Christians involves the story of an arrogant, scheming Jacob, particularly in the 33rd chapter of Genesis.
During this time, Jacob was living in fear of his older brother, Esau. Jacob had deceptively ‘stolen’ Esau’s birthright and blessing from their father, and out of fear, Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, instructed Jacob to flee before Esau could follow through on his vow of murder (27:41-45).
Rebekah told Jacob she would call to him when Esau’s anger had abated, but alas it did not happen. The message never came. After 20 years of being ostracized from his family, Jacob was still living in fear that his brother Esau wanted revenge, since he had not heard back from his mother.
In those 20 years, Jacob’s heart started to change. He became a family man. He even wrestled with God himself!
The biggest change during that time, however, is how he started to grow, spiritually, as an individual. His relationship with God put love, respect and reverence in his heart. And it’s those traits in his heart that may have spared his life.
It came to pass that one day, as Jacob was with his family, 400 soldiers came upon the spot he happened to be resting. At the head of the well-armed troops, his brother Esau!
Imagine the fear Jacob must have felt in his heart. He knew he was wrong for what he had done 20 years ago and the last word he heard as that his brother Esau would ‘bring certain death’. There was no option for redemption in the heart of Jacob. He had to think, ‘this is it!’.
Out of love for his family and out of the new reverence he had for others in his improved life, Jacob approached his brother ahead of his family. That way, at least if Esau wanted Jacob to be killed perhaps his family would be spared.
Jacob kneeled before the general direction of his brother a total of seven times. This was an ultimate sign of humility and respect. Esau, to Jacob;s surprise, broke noble protocol and immediate started to run full speed right at Jacob.
Imagine the fear in Jacob’s heart. “This is it!”, he must have thought as Esau came down upon him.
But instead of murdering Jacob, Esau did something that was quite unprecedented in light of the wrong that he suffered. Esau embraced Jacob and hugged him. It was a tearful reunion. In those 20 years, Esau himself had come closer to God and learned the importance of forgiveness and family.
Jacob knew this moment was inspired by God, and even likened it to his encounter with God in time prior, in verse 10 of this chapter.
As Christians, we have been wronged in many ways by our secular brethren. They have allowed violence, murder, disease, poor economy and warfare come upon this Earth like never before as they continue to live lives full of sin and disrespect to God.
We could turn our back on our brothers and pray death comes upon them, no matter what. That is not very moral, however, as we should embrace our brothers –despite what they have done in the past– with open arms and with a heart of true love.
No matter if their sin involves being a gay, promoting violence or even enabling sin through politics, we must not use our Christian powers of prayer and education to wish sure death upon them. Like Esau, we must tarry and encourage them to repent, and come back home to their family, a family unified in Christ.
Until next time, my friends, be well and take care of yourself, and each other.