Dear God, with Your help I want to live a life that is a blessing for You and for others.
Read Genesis 33:1-20
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Forgiving and being forgiven are two names for the same thing. The important thing is that a discord has been resolved” (C.S. Lewis).
Just as Jacob could not have anticipated the events of the previous night, neither could he have anticipated how changed Esau’s attitude would be. It’s interesting to note how he arranged his wives and sons in order to meet Esau, leaving his best-beloved and her son to the last. One could speculate on his reasons, but it could have been just the order of preference and/or importance to him. Esau is having none of it: in a scene reminiscent of the father’s actions as his prodigal son returns home (Luke 15:20-24), his first concern is to get past all these unrecognized people and greet Jacob. Verse 4 speaks of their emotion. No doubt there is relief in Jacob’s heart. He is overwhelmed by how glad Esau is, how he speaks to him respectfully, confirms the generous gift, and affirms God in it all.
It’s also interesting to speculate on why Esau is so magnanimous. The reason for their separation is never mentioned. Maybe he was just happy to let bygones be bygones; maybe with his own increase in family and possessions it no longer mattered that he lost the blessing and birthright he was entitled to; maybe on seeing Jacob’s infirmity he was sorry for him. Whatever the reason, forgiveness is evident in his words and actions. This leads to more speculation as to why Jacob misled him about a future visit, or why he didn’t simply say he was heading, at God’s command, to Bethel and his homeland.
Earlier, I mentioned how a family conflict was resolved; in spite of the difficulty (or perhaps because of it), this relationship became even better. While this family feud is laid to rest here, the attention of each is now focused on his own affairs. Later, Jacob and Esau meet again to bury their father.
Pray for someone you know who needs to be reconciled to someone else, or to God. Play any part you can.
Loving Lord, You have forgiven me of my sins, my willfulness, my waywardness. Give me a forgiving heart toward those I need to forgive, also.
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