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Archive for January, 2017

esau_24— Genesis 24:34-41 —

 

When Esau heard his father’s words, he let out a loud and bitter cry. “Oh my father, what about me? Bless me, too!” he begged.

 

But Isaac said, “Your brother was here, and he tricked me. He has taken away your blessing.”

 

Esau exclaimed, “No wonder his name is Jacob, for now he has cheated me twice.a First he took my rights as the firstborn, and now he has stolen my blessing. Oh, haven’t you saved even one blessing for me?”

 

Isaac said to Esau, “I have made Jacob your master and have declared that all his brothers will be his servants. I have guaranteed him an abundance of grain and wine—what is left for me to give you, my son?”

 

Esau pleaded, “But do you have only one blessing? Oh my father, bless me, too!” Then Esau broke down and wept.

 

Finally, his father, Isaac, said to him, “You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above. You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.”

 

From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.”

 

Forgiveness. Usually when that subject is tackled we use Joseph as the number one example, right? He had to forgive his brothers for throwing him in the pit and wanting to kill him, then deciding not to do that and instead selling him into slavery… Then he had to forgive Potiphar’s wife for manipulating him and accusing him of rape… He had to forgive Potiphar for putting him into prison… And he had to forgive the cupbearer for forgetting about him when he helped him.

 

Not for me! Why? Because Joseph is SUPER-HUMAN to me. I wish I could be like Joseph. He is remarkable! I hope my kids can be like Joseph – resisting temptation, patient, caring for others above himself, organized, brilliant, talented, the bastion of forgiveness. Sadly, I have to admit, when it comes to forgiveness, I am more like Esau. Please don’t judge me all of you lovely Joseph-types out there.

 

Honest moment: I have let unforgiveness consume me, which leads to hatred, just like Esau. It is not pretty. I absolutely LOVE the part of Isaac’s blessing that jumped out at me today… “But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.”

 

Wow! I never really notice that before. Esau is such a small blip in the story of Jacob, who becomes Israel, a legacy of God’s people. In the blink of an eye you almost miss him, he is just a footnote in the incredible lifesong of the amazing transformation of a sneaky lying cheating dude who becomes a Prince an entire nation is titled after when an encounter with an angel changes his name.

 

I read those verses above and I can feel the emotions in Esau as he cannot hold back the sobs while he begs his father for a blessing. In this somewhat calloused generation we may not understand the power those words had to people back then. The blessing of their forefathers was everything!

 

It was not mere spoken thoughts carelessly cast upon the firstborn like a broken and empty jar tossed uselessly aside on the ground. It was life… seeds planted… a foretelling of the future of his path and the next generation. It truly was their universe.

 

Jacob shattered Esau’s world, not once, but twice. Of course Jacob runs away because his brother now hates him enough to want to kill him, and Esau is left to pick up the pieces with a mother who also betrayed him. And you thought your family had issues?

 

Here’s where we forget all about Esau and focus on Jacob and his changed life. Jacob moves to a foreign land and has a huge family, an encounter with God, and decides he would like to come home again. There is still a tiny bit of the old Jacob left, so Israel, afraid that Esau might still hate him and want to kill him, does a little scheming.

 

He sends wave after wave of all his riches (all the animals – goats, ewes, rams, camels, donkeys, etc, goods, servants), and then children and wives to greet Esau. He wants to show his brother how successful he has become. He also attempts to lavish his brother with gifts.

 

Now let’s forget about Israel/Jacob and focus on Esau:

 

Then Jacob went on ahead. As he approached his brother, he bowed to the ground seven times before him. Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept. – Genesis 33:3-4

 

Rough and rugged, Esau – hunter, angry, full of hate, the man who once wanted to kill his own brother for deceiving him – was able to forgive and love him again. This is amazing to me. He accomplished what his father said in the blessing many years before, “But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.”

 

There are two parts to this verse that are important to point out:

  1. Breaking free from hate and unforgiveness is a DECISION, a choice. You have to make that choice for yourself. No one can do it for you. (Trust me, I’m talking to myself more than anyone else right now).
  2. The yoke around your neck may have been placed there by a hurt someone else inflicted on you. This pain might run so deep, you might feel no one understands. I know that kind of indescribable pain. You might feel hopeless, like you will sink under this weight, never to recover. When will I ever be delivered from this yoke around my neck? I am sure Esau wondered that. It probably consumed him. He was able to break free somehow and shake this off.

 

Do you believe in miracles? Esau is a testament to the miracle of freedom in forgiveness. I’m still working on mine.

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