Thursday, February 25, 2016

No Place Before God - Part 3

Thursday, February 25, 2016


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.” Genesis 27:37-41(NLT)

We’ve been looking at the damage that can come from a lack of care for the spiritual side of life.  Esau was more interested in serving his appetites than his God, and wound-up selling his firstborn-right to be the spiritual leader of God’s people.  Later, when their father Isaac was near dying, the younger brother, Jacob, sealed the deal by not only having the birthright, he tricked his father into giving him the firstborn’s blessing.

Jacob’s deceiving ways, and Esau’s reactionary anger blossomed into a fractured family.

Hatred has killed more relationships.  We know from the story that Esau later mellowed.  But even today the inhabitants of Edom (modern Jordan) still fight the Esau and Jacob battle.  When you do a good job of breaking a family apart, it may take generations and many miracles to put it back together. 

When we act selfishly, doing our own thing, the consequences reach beyond our own circles of friends and daily experience.  We create ripples in our society and universe.  Esau's cavalier attitude towards his spiritual heritage, and his needed leadership in the kingdom brought shame on him, but it brought grief also on his parents, and the ripples of hatred still boil in that region today!

It is that way in churches, families and culture in general.  In the human family of 2016 we exist in a fractured collage of humanity caused by careless words spoken in anger, judging spirits and prideful, reactionary attitudes. 

In the 60's, Paul Simon wrote, I am a rock, I am an island, and a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries; famous lyrics, but flawed thinking!  Try as you might to insulate yourself against pain and heartache, this universe was created to respond to love and hate.  Esau responded to the losses he experienced by trashing the lives of those around him.  Esau and Jacob both chose the selfish path, and the whole family was broken on his island of rocks.

And the pain lasted for more than twenty years!

Jesus was despised by the generation he came to embrace.  He came to His own, and was hung, spread-eagle, on cross-beams.  But Jesus didn’t curse or revile those who crucified him; he didn't break up the family, break his loved-one's hearts. 

Instead, he forgave them. 

Jesus chose to love when he was wronged.  He was a descendant of Jacob’s, but he chose to break the cycle of hatred and honor the place before God.

For You Today

Honoring the God who sent His only son, the Prince of Peace, in a world gone mad with the violence of Al Qaeda, ISIS and every other angry, vengeance-driven neurosis, will never occur with more violence, hatred and vengeance. 

It will take humility and faith.

You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road today…and have a blessed day!

[1] Title Image:  By Bertram of Minden, via Wikimedia Commons

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