Forgiveness is Divine
There was never a dull moment in the life of Jacob. In today's reading, we find him fleeing in fear of the twin brother he swindled out of his inheritance. He wanted badly to return to his homeland, so he sent messengers to Esau to feel him out. When they came back saying that Esau was on his way with 400 men, Jacob was understandably shaken. Why would someone travel with 400 men if they didn’t anticipate a battle of some kind?
Jacob must have felt pretty vulnerable, with all of his wives, children, and livestock to protect. So, to minimize the collateral damage, he split them up into two separate camps. And he prayed.
Jacob’s prayer began with reminding God what He told him to do, which was to return to his own people. Then he humbled himself before God, saying that he’s not worthy of God’s love and faithfulness. The third part of Jacob’s prayer began with a plea to deliver him from whatever attacks Esau might have been planning. And, he ended his prayer by reminding God once again what He promised.
We can learn something from Jacob’s prayer. When we go before God, it’s important to remind Him at the beginning and at the end what He promised in His Word. I don’t believe that God really needs to be reminded, as much as we do. By speaking His Word out loud, we are reminding ourselves, and building up our own faith.
The next step, according to Jacob’s prayer, is to recognize that God is greater than us. We are not worthy of God’s love, and yet He gives it to us anyway. When we humble ourselves, it puts us in position to ask God for His divine intervention. This prayer not only spared Jacob and his family from attack, but it reunited him with his brother who had forgiven all that Jacob had done to him. God showed Jacob, and all of us, that He was able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that Jacob could ask or think, as it is written in Ephesians 3:20.
In the midst of all the angst and anguish Jacob experienced in these chapters, including the rape of his daughter and subsequent retaliation by his sons upon an entire town of men, the reunion of Jacob and Esau gave me hope. It’s apparent that Esau had done very well for himself, in spite of missing out on the blessing of his father. It’s also apparent that he forgave Jacob long before he set out to meet with him.
This act of forgiveness among brothers warmed my heart. It was a picture of how those of us who are brothers and sisters of the faith should welcome each other. I loved how Esau and Jacob embraced as if nothing had happened before. Yes, it had been 20 years, but some people hold grudges against their family members for a lifetime.
These two were not just brothers, they were twins. They were the only two children of their parents, Isaac and Rebekah. Their bond had been broken. But when they reunited, I could almost picture them picking up wherever they left off, before the infraction.
If you have friends or family members that you’re estranged from, for whatever reason, perhaps you can pray to God the way Jacob did, and humbly ask Him to heal your relationship. Forgiveness is divine, and even required for those of us who are followers of Christ. If we don’t forgive, then how can we call ourselves followers of the One who constantly forgives us?
Is there anyone that you need to forgive today? Feel free to comment below, or by visiting my Facebook page.
*Welcome to my one-year trip around the world of Scripture. You’re invited to take this journey with me, as I meditate on God’s Word day and night. Each morning, you’ll find a post on my Facebook page encouraging my new #Biblebuddies along the way. And each night, I’ll be writing my impressions right here at listen2leslie.com. I’d love it if you’d share your comments, to spark some fruitful discussion. The only passport you’ll need for this journey is the Read Scripture app which provides us with our daily itinerary. You’ll love this app because it contains videos by The Bible Project that serve as our tour guide. Traveling is so much better when you have someone to share the experience with, so please join me, will you?
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