Summary: Until you have learned God’s love for yourself and be reconciled with God, you will have a hard time reconciling with others!
God is a God of relationships; this is why He created people. Because the Creator God is a God of relationships, His created ones, people, are to be relational as well.
Most of us have had strained relationships. Should we try and restore strained relationships?
If so, how do we do it?
How do we deal with the strained relationships which were never our faults? How do we respond to the command of Jesus to “Love your enemies”?
Of course we can find the answer through Jesus Christ. We’ll talk more about that later. But what about during the Old Testament times, did God teach love your enemies?
If so, why, and how? We can find answers in the story of Jacob with his brother Esau in Genesis 32-33.
Please open your Bibles to Genesis 32.
Before reading and listening, let us together pray our commitment to God’s Word………………
Remember that Jacob spent over 20 years away from his parents. But Jacob was blessed by God while he worked for Laban; then God told Jacob to go back to Canaan.
And so we read in Genesis 32:1-21……………….
We talked last week about the wrestling match with God in v22-32. We continue Jacob’s story with his brother Esau in Genesis 33…………….
Angels are messengers of God! And what did Jacob do right after meeting with the angels?
Look again at Gen. 31:3…….
Out of the blue, Jacob sent a messenger to his brother.
And what was the message from Jacob to Esau?
Look at the end of v5……………
Remember how Jacob and Esau parted ways 20 years prior to this time? Turn back briefly to Genesis 27:41-43….
Jacob went to live with Laban for over 20 years because he feared his brother. And based on Genesis 32:5, Jacob still feared his brother!
Why, all of a sudden, would Jacob look for his brother?
Let me remind you of what happened to Jacob while he was with Laban for 20 years:
As soon as Jacob saw Rachel, Jacob ignored God.
Jacob worked for Laban for 7 years, but then Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah. Jacob was furious but
Jacob worked 7 more years for Laban to have Rachel.
Jacob listened to his wives more than God and had concubines! Jacob schemed to get more animals from Laban. Jacob himself brought much problems to his family!
God could have given up on this sinner Jacob, couldn’t He? But in spite of Jacob’s sinfulness, God made Jacob prosper and affirmed blessings. For 20 years, God was working on Jacob! Why would Jacob now look for his brother?
Jacob learned about God’s love! How do we know this? Look back to Genesis 31:40-42……….
Jacob learned that in spite of his sinful acts, God desired a good relationship with him. Jacob learned he was reconciled with God and the presence of angels, God’s messengers, convicted Jacob to reconcile with his brother!
Are we reconciled with God? Is God telling us anything about our strained relationships?
And so we note, Jacob made a decision to try and reconcile with his brother. Now, based on Genesis 32:1-21, how confident was Jacob in facing Esau?? Not very!!
In v3, Jacob sent messengers ahead of him.
In v7, we note Jacob’s fear and distress! Wasn’t he trying to do God’s will of reconciliation? Why was there fear?
Look at Jacob’s prayer in v11…….
It is interesting to note what kind of a prayer Jacob prayed. We don’t see Jacob asking God for guidance, just a prayer of desperation! God save me, save me!
In v13-15, we read the gifts that Jacob decided to give to his brother. And in v16-21, we note Jacob sending many servants ahead of him to Esau and Jacob decided to go on a wait-and-see mode! Jacob was saying, “I did my part, let’s see now how my brother is going to react!”
Do we ever do that? “I did my part. It’s their turn to do something!”
And as Jacob was on a wait-and-see what happens next mode, what did God do??
God wrestled with Jacob!
As we learned in the previous message, God wrestled with Jacob to test his perception and intention! God wanted to see how long Jacob would realize he was wrestling with God and God looks for the humble.
And so, Jacob knew he had to reconcile with his brother but he had much fears! Jacob did what he thought were the things to do, send messages and gifts, pray for God’s help, and then actually tried to force God to bless him.
Jacob had much fears and distress and tried to deal with them without fully trusting God! Did the wrestling much do anything to Jacob’s trust in God?