Isaac and Rebekah had two sons, Esau and Jacob. Isaac favoured the elder son Esau, whilst Rebekah favoured Jacob. When the time came to receive LOVE’s blessing, the generational promise handed down through Abraham and Isaac, instead of focussing on their mutual calling to parent a nation, the family fought over who was the favourite. Esau didn’t value his birth-right or the blessing that was his to receive. But Jacob did and cheated Esau out of it. The result was the opening of a fault-line in history between Jews and Gentiles that only Jesus could close. When we forget our different roles in accomplishing LOVE’s big plan we usually start fighting each other.
Have we taken our eye off the ball? When we lose focus on LOVE’s vision for our life, selfish ambition will step in to fill the void, resulting in division and conflict. Jacob spent many years paying for his errors and learning the hard way that LOVE’s ways demand LOVE’s means. LOVE’s vision for our lives and our church is compelling and unifying. Let’s not make Esau’s mistake. God’s purpose for our lives, and for our church, is priceless and must not be disregarded, disrespected or discarded.
Let’s pray and ask LOVE to show us the race that he has marked out for us to run (Hebrews 12:1). Let’s ask LOVE to work everything together for our good so we can pursue his call, for his purposes (Romans 8:11). Let’s ask LOVE to show us the good works he has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Let’s ask LOVE to lead us in to the good plan he has for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11).
“May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness…” (Genesis 27:27)
“Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him.” (Genesis 32:1)
Despite our best attempts to screw it up, God’s promise always continues. Jacob was one of life’s great battler’s and struggled with everyone, God included. Things came to a head on the eve of a great confrontation with his once jilted, now armed and dangerous brother, Esau. LOVE renamed Jacob “Israel” because he struggled with God and refused to let go. Finally reconciled with God, Israel’s first act was to be reconciled to his brother. Forgiveness and peace with LOVE in heaven always leads to us extending the very same to others on earth.
Who do we need to be reconciled to today? As we struggle in prayer, refusing to let go of LOVE, we must let go of all else – including the offence, hurts and grudges we might hold against others. It may not be possible to be reconciled to those who have wronged us in the past, or who we have wronged. It requires both parties to be willing. But we should make every attempt at what is in our control – our own attitudes and actions, prepared and proactive in reconciliation. It has been said that holding on to unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die. In the end, unforgiveness corrodes our own hearts. It’s not easy to forgive – in fact it would be impossible if not that LOVE has first forgiven us – requiring only that we’re willing to pass that on to others, even if we have been terribly hurt. LOVE doesn’t expect us to forgive others on our own, but will help us to do so.
As we pray today, let’s ask LOVE to search our hearts and show us if there’s anyone we need to forgive. Take time to pause and listen. If anyone comes to mind, name them before LOVE and simply ask for his help to forgive them, even if we need to pray, “I don’t feel able to forgive [the person] but I am willing to do so because you have forgiven me. Please help me to forgive them.” Ask LOVE if there’s any practical steps you could take to be reconciled to others if a past wrong has come between you. Again, be willing to take the first step and pray for help to do so. Be practical and don’t wait – if you can be reconciled in some way today, then be courageous and be the first to start repairing past wrongs.
“Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.” (Genesis 33:4)