What Would Your Brother Do?

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We have been following the story of Jacob. In our last post we asked questions stemming from the plot that Jacob and his mother Rebekah hatched to get the blessing Isaac intended to bestow on his eldest son. Going back farther than where we picked up the story you may remember that God made a promise to Isaac’s father, Abraham that was a pretty big deal. If you look back that far you will also see that God re-affirmed that promise to Isaac.  So, on the surface we have a younger son (and his mother) tricking the father into blessing the “wrong” son, but that big promise of God raises the stakes a bit. We don’t know specifically that Esau had that in mind when we reacted so emotionally, but from our seats it adds intrigue.

By now we have read enough of the story to see that there is a story of reconciliation between these two brothers, and that is where I want us to camp out, but before we do that we need to ask a question or two. There is apparently some dysfunction in this family. There is a father and mother who outwardly make no bones about playing favorites with their sons. It is easy to see the fruit of that in this situation. Even after Jacob flees this family we see broken relationships continue. Is that pattern a result of the behaviors we see from the original family? Could be, but we have no real way to know. It does seem ironic that deception and trickery seem to stalk Jacob wherever he goes. He made an agreement with his Uncle Laban to take Rachel as his wife after seven years of service. Laban tricked him and substituted his oldest daughter Leah and Jacob worked another seven years for Rachel to also be his wife. Then there was a confusing story about spotted sheep and goats. So, is this a story about reaping and sewing? It doesn’t stop there the deception continues into the next generations. I’m sure that there is something here for us to learn about living in deception. We will take time to ponder that in a future post so let’s look at the low hanging fruit.

With the backdrop of all that complexity we see in Jacob a man possessed by fear at the prospect of seeing Esau again.  After all Esau had sworn to kill Jacob. Look at all that he put out in the way to protect himself  sheep, goats, herdsmen, and even his family. In the end Esau was just graciously excited to see his brother once again. Let that soak in. Can you think of a more pure example of forgiveness and reconciliation anywhere? (that is actually a trick question) What can we learn from that?  Think about a time that you faced a reconciliation meeting.  Was it far more dauning and scary in your mind than it ended up being? After you have spent some time pondering look again at the verses describing the scene and who was there. Look at the specific names mentioned and think about why our attention is brought to those people. Come back ready to explore that in our next time together.

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