January 26, 2011
Families are in trouble….Divorce is at an all-time high….Single parent homes are on the rise….are staggering news flashes in our lives today. The family unit is being hit at an overwhelming pace. Family relationships are becoming nonexistent. Blended families bring blended issues as children are torn. Kids are hurt not knowing who their parent is, or being abandoned having been left by one. Brother and sister bonds are broken because they no longer talk to each other or don’t even know they exist! Many parents have thrown their hands in the air and resolve to give up as their children aimlessly try to figure life out. It sounds so depressing, but things can change! Restoration is possible.
In Genesis 32, Jacob is going to be reunited with his brother that he hasn’t seen in YEARS. Jacob did his brother wrong. Actually they were both wrong but Jacob stole Esau’s birthright or inheritance. Jacob was not a stand-up guy. He was Mom’s favorite, he was sneaky, and avoided confrontation. In this chapter, immediately after having it out with his father in law for running away, (because Jacob took his daughters and grand kids and booked it in the middle of the night) Jacob is now going to face his long-lost brother. In verse 10 & 11, Jacob is praying, “I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant….O Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother……I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my spouse and children. I am afraid…….sounds familiar doesn’t it? We all feel a little anxious and fear sets in. But a commentary explains this fear nicely. Times of fear should be times of prayer: whatever causes fear, should drive us to our knees, to our God. There cannot be a better pattern for true prayer than this. Here is a thankful acknowledgment of former undeserved favors; a humble confession of unworthiness; a plain statement of his fears and distress; a full reference of the whole affair to the Lord, and resting all his hopes on him. Jacob’s fear did not make him sink into despair. God answers prayers by teaching us to order our affairs aright. To pacify Esau, Jacob sent him a present. We must not despair of reconciling ourselves to those most angry against us.
I was inspired as I continued reading in Genesis 33. After all the gifts given beforehand to Esau to soften the blow, or shock, or hurt or whatever fear had been planted in Jacob’s mind…look at verse 4! “But Esau RAN to meet Jacob and EMBRACED him, he THREW HIS ARMS around his neck and KISSED him. And they wept.” Reading on further, Esau is introduced to his sister in laws and nieces and nephews and then starts dialogue. His first question was who are all these with you and the second, “What do you mean by all those droves I met?” You see, Jacob had preconceived fears and lies going on in his head. Esau was thrilled to see him, happy to meet his unknown family and told Jacob to keep all those gifts. See how thoughts can make us do things that waste our time. Have you ever experienced having wrong thoughts and when you finally spoke to the person about it, they were shocked that you have ever felt that way? Your thoughts or feelings were not anywhere close to how they felt or thought?
It will help immensely if you acknowledge what God has done for you individually, then pray about all of the conflicting emotions, hurts, concerns etc. you are dealing with. Everything you are processing, the Lord cares about, so lay it out on the table to Him. Feelings sometimes get twisted or misinterpreted but God can bring clarity as we share them with Him. Pour out your heart to the Lord only. Somebody else can’t help you like the Lord can. And often, when you share with another, they take up offense for you. They are unable to be friends with the person who hurt you, so be cautious. In addition, pray for blessing for that family member who has wronged you or hurt you. I am convinced that NOTHING changes and softens our own hearts more, than praying blessing for someone we have conflict with.
The word “brethren” in the Greek – has two meanings. The first is “out of the same womb”. Initially it is talking about brothers and sister who have a strong bond. But it can also essentially be used for people outside of our family. It means to convey the idea: “You and I are brothers! We came out of the same womb of humanity. We have the same feelings; we have similar emotions; and we deal with the same problems in life. In every respect, we are truly brothers!” We tend to think that we are the only one’s thinking these thoughts or going through these problems, but we are so similar!
The second meaning is used to describe faithful soldiers, or better known as “Brothers in Battle.” They were comrades and partners who were united to fight the same fight, handle the same weapons, and win the same wars! We are all fighting for the same cause. But our enemy has known where to hit us personally. He fights dirty. If he can get us to separate he wins with his famous divide and conquer tactic. Having been divided so long, you won’t know how to fight as a unit, for you turned on each other. It is difficult and takes strength to change that scenario, but are you ready to do it? Are you willing to cease fighting with each other, so that you are prepared to fight the REAL enemy? I think the Lord rubs his hands together, saying “goody, goody, goody they are finally doing it. I am so pleased that they are laying down the gauntlet and choosing to love instead,” as He dances with joy. He wants relationships to work. He wants family’s to be united. There is just too much brokenness.
I pray that the Lord would help me develop an attitude of determination that refuses to surrender to hardship or throw in the towel in the face of difficulty. I never want to surrender in defeat! I want to fight the good fight and lay hold of the prize of His high calling!