Friday, February 26, 2016

No Place Before God - Part 4

Friday, February 26, 2016


Esau knew that his father, Isaac, had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan-aram to find a wife, and that he had warned Jacob, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman.”  He also knew that Jacob had obeyed his parents and gone to Paddan-aram.  It was now very clear to Esau that his father did not like the local Canaanite women.  So Esau visited his uncle Ishmael’s family and married one of Ishmael’s daughters, in addition to the wives he already had.  His new wife’s name was Mahalath.  She was the sister of Nebaioth and the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son.  Genesis 28:6-9(NLT)

If you’ve been following with us this week, we’ve see how Esau had lots of trouble growing up emotionally and spiritually.  The maturing of Esau's spiritual backbone is first evident in his desire to be obedient.  Seeing his mother's anguish over his marital foolishness, he tries to offset his wrong.  No person can be satisfied with self-gratification as a lifestyle for very long. 

In the story of the Prodigal Son, he eventually awakened in the hog pen and had a longing for home and his father.  Not a single one of the hogs wanted to move out.  While the pigs grunted with only a full belly as their need, the pangs of hell got ahold of the Prodigal and propelled him home. 

But in Esau’s life the transformation of grace is twenty more years in the making.  (That’s a long time in the hog pen!)  We don't get the details, but from the time he makes his first step back home to the Lord by trying to soothe his mother's anguish, to the return of his brother (chapter 33), a metamorphosis happens. 

What caused the change? 

It may have been like the country doctor who had just finished delivering the farm family's tenth baby in ten years.  He was aware that the mother wasn't in good health, and they could hardly afford food on the table.  As he sat in the kitchen, the father came up to him and said, "Doc, we've had so many kids, we've plum run outa names.  I sure don't know what to call this 'un."  "If I were you," said the doctor, "I'd call it QUITS!" 

Perhaps Esau just plain "wised-up".  He began to see that his selfishness and hatred only came back on him, and God had a better way.

You will notice in the story that Esau's whole personality and outlook were changed when he was finally reunited with the brother he had once vowed to kill.  His brother Jacob (now Israel) took one look at the new Esau and exclaimed:

…what a relief to see your friendly smile.  It is like seeing the face of God!   Genesis 33:10(NLT)

Where once there was hate, now there is love.  Where jealousy and vengeance reigned, now there is the face of God.  What can bring about a change like this? 

In 1852, in North Carolina, the conjoined twins Millie and Christina were born into slavery.  They were joined at the hip; and lived for 60 years as one person.  Their masters exhibited them at various sideshows and circus events.  When the Civil War brought freedom, Millie and Christina legally ceased to be slaves.  This new freedom changed all the legalities.  They were no more slaves.  However they still chose to exhibit themselves in the sideshows.  They had been freed from their old Masters, but they chose to continue some of their pre-freedom practices as a means of making money.

Jesus died that we might be set free.  Many people claim this freedom as a matter of legality, and then live as if nothing has changed at all. 

People like Esau decide against that.  They decide that new life in Christ means NEW LIFE!  Esau was able to run to his brother and kiss him and throw his arms around him to restore his long lost, new found friend. 

That kind of change is available to all who will come to Jesus. 

For You Today

Is that kind of freedom settled with you?

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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