Healing

Sunday’s Scripture – October 25, 2020

Genesis 33:1-17

Reflection

The brother relationship between Jacob and Esau was one of the most contentious in all of Scripture. Esau was the one who succumbed to his appetites and traded his birthright for a bowl of soup. And Jacob, that grabber, was the one who manipulated and plotted and schemed to steal his brother’s birthright and blessing (Gen 27).

By the time we get to Genesis 33, it’s years later. The two brothers have lived separate, estranged lives and are about to see each other again for the first time. At least for Jacob, tension is high. Preparing for the worst, he layers his favorite wife and child behind all the others (Gen 33:2).

But by now, Jacob has been transformed by God’s healing work because he himself goes out in front of the whole party to meet his brother head on, even bowing low seven times, rather than cowardly hiding as he would have done in years prior. It had taken at least a father-in-law who was as much of a trickster as he was (Gen 29) and a wounded hip from an uncomfortable night wrestling with God (Gen 32) to get Jacob where he needed to be for this moment.

Healing can be painful. Anyone who has had a corrective surgery or set a broken bone aright or spent years in therapy knows the pain of healing.

They say time heals all wounds. But it isn’t time that heals, it’s God. What God can do with time is heal and restore. Time with God can heal anything.

When the brothers finally meet in Genesis 33, it’s clear God has done the necessary work in both hearts to heal and restore their relationship. Over the course of time, God had done a work of mercy in Esau’s heart, a work of humility in Jacob’s, and a work of surrender in both. Relationship restored, Jacob and Esau are no longer just brothers. They are to each other a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

The time and work of healing can be painful, yes, but it’s always worth it.

Questions

  • Do you relate more to Jacob or Esau? Are you more prone towards manipulation or impulsiveness?
  • What does God need to heal in you relational or otherwise? Have you given God the time to do so?
  • What do you struggle to believe God can and wants to heal?

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