Summary: Funeral based on forgiveness for a fractured family
Today I want to tell you a story from the Bible. It is the story of two brothers, twins in fact. One was named Esau. The other was named Jacob. Esau was born first with Jacob holding onto his heel as if trying to stop his brother from being the first born. Because of their culture Esau would get a double portion of their father’s inheritance.
They each grew in their own way. Esau, a daddy’s boy, who loved to hunt. Jacob, a momma’s boy, who stayed around the camp and learned to cook.
One day Esau came back to camp really hungry. He could smell the stew that Jacob was cooking. Now it was more than hunger. It was starvation. Esau was about to die, but not really. Jacob used this moment of Esau’s weakness to trade a bowl of stew for Esau’s birthright. Through trickery Jacob would now inherit the greater portion.
When the time came for his father to give his final blessings, Jacob, with the help of his mother, fooled his dad into thinking he was Esau. He left his father’s tent with not only the birthright but the final blessing of his father making him lord over Esau.
Esau now held a grudge against Jacob, one that would last a long time. In fact, Esau had a plan to kill him. So Jacob had to flee to a relatives house for safety. Further more Esau married a woman of another race just to displease his father.
It’s easy to take sides in this story. Some may feel that Jacob was a scoundrel for what he did. The name Jacob meant “he deceives”. He took advantage of his brothers weakness. He took advantage of his father’s failing eyesight. His inheritance was useless because he had to leave home. His brother would get it all anyway.
Some may feel Esau got what he deserved. He had a total disregard for his inheritance and his father’s blessing. He basically sold a fortune for a bowl of soup. If he was that dumb, then he deserved to lose everything.
Reality is that neither of them was perfect. None of us are perfect. We do things that underhanded. We do things that hurt others. Jacob felt he was right in what he did. Esau felt he was right in seeking vengeance. Jacob left with home with very little. Esau stayed home with anger in his heart. Their home was split.
Let’s return to the story. Over fourteen years have passed with these two separated. Jacob’s heart longs to go home to see his mom and dad while they are still alive. He has become a wealthy man now. He has two wives and their children. He has vast herds of goats, sheep, camels, cows, and donkeys. He decides to send Esau a message informing him of his return. When the messengers return, they have some disturbing news. Esau is coming with four hundred men.
Jacob devises a plan. First he begins to send flocks and herds of animals to his brother as a peace offering. Next he decided to send his maidservants and their children so if blood shed would be needed to satisfy Esau’s anger they would be the first to die. Then he would send his first wife Leah and her children next incase the anger was still there. Lastly he would send his second wife Rachel and their son Joseph. But he went first to face Esau.
When Esau saw his brother Jacob he embraced him, threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. There was no anger, only forgiveness. They existed in the land together.
What a great story about forgiveness. But I left out a part. The night before Jacob went to face his brother he wrestled with God all night. He wrestled with God over his deceitfulness. He wrestled with God over his running away rather than working things out with his brother. He wrestled with God over his lack of faith. He wrestled with God over many issues.
Often when we are angry with someone we are in reality angry with God. We inside blame God for the circumstances we encounter whether we voice it or not. God becomes our advisory rather than our answer. We run away from the pain others have caused us rather than deal with the issue at hand. We encase ourselves in a tight cocoon so others can not reach us.
I asked Daniel what he wanted me to speak on today. He simply said “Forgiveness.” Let me tell you a few things Jesus said about forgiveness. “ We should have unlimited forgiveness toward those who hurt us. Our forgiveness from God is dependent on our forgiveness of others. When we are hurting our prayer must be ‘Forgive them Father.’”