2010-08-16 - Atonements for the Past
Genesis 31:3-28, 43-55, 32:3-21, 33:1-11
He said to them, "I see that your father's attitude toward me is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with me." (Genesis 31:5)
Jacob's story shows us the importance of making amends. God told Jacob it was time to move on. His wives, Leah and Rachel, were totally behind the decision to obey God and return to Jacob's homeland. Thy left without telling his deceitful father-in-law Laban. Eventually Laban caught up to them, and the two made a covenant to not harm the other. Then Laban said his goodbyes to his daughters and grandchildren, blessed them, and returned home. Jacob and his family continued on their journey, now that things were resolved with Laban. Jacob wasn't through with confrontation and making amends, however.
Once Jacob returned home, he would have to face his brother Esau. The last time the two saw each other was many years ago, after Jacob tricked their father into receiving Esau's rightful birthright. Jacob received word Esau was on his way to meet him and his large family. Esau wasn't coming alone, but with 400 men. Panic must have set in for Jacob. He had no idea what Esau was thinking behind his sudden visit, and with the company he was bringing. So Jacob set up a plan in case his intentions weren't honorable or friendly. Then Jacob prayed and asked God to deliver him, if Esau planned harm.
Jacob proceeded to thank God for the blessings He gave, when Jacob originally left home. Back then, he didn't own anything but a walking stick. Jacob didn't hold anything back from God. He told the Lord he was frightened Esau would kill him or his family. Jacob knew God would take care of them, but he was still prepared for danger, just in case.
All Jacob's fears were unfounded. Jacob approached Esau fondly, and he was most gracious. Esau showed no resentment, and acted like he was happy to have his younger brother back in his life again.
Lord, There are issues I have not wanted to face, things in my past that I assumed would go away. They haven't - and still take hold of me. I can't escape from them any more. I am no longer the same person, and don't want to go backward. Show me how to be totally free of my past, a past already forgiven. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Is there something in your past you are afraid to face?