Peacemaking That Saved
Jacob had been called to go home. It was time for him to take his rightful place as the heir to his father's house. However, he had a couple of problems: Laban and Esau. Laban had kept Jacob in his service through trickery and manipulation. Still, Jacob had prospered and was ready to return home. When he received the word from God to return, he didn't hesitate (Genesis 31:3, 17). However, Laban pursued him because Jacob hadn't told him he was leaving. Amazingly, though, God intervened on Jacob's behalf. Just as Laban was about to overtake and punish Jacob, God warned him to not do anything to Jacob (31:24). This word from God to a heathen saved Jacob from losing his life and it offered Jacob and Laban an opportunity to reconcile in peace (31:44). God stepped into Jacob's situation and showed what He was capable of doing. This would be important for Jacob's next problem.
Peacemaking That Delivered
The last words Esau had vowed to Jacob was to murder him (Gen 27:41). Though decades had passed since that utterance, there was still a lot of unresolved issues. Jacob was afraid, especially when he heard Esau was coming with 400 men to meet him (Gen 32:6-7). It was in this moment that Jacob chose to go find God (Genesis 32:9-12). This shows a complete change in Jacob. He didn't immediately try to figure things out like he had in the past. He didn't try to scheme or use underhanded tactics to outsmart his brother. More importantly, he didn't run and hide from his problem. He sought God and then he wrestled with Him until he secured the blessing (32:24-30). He wasn't going to let go of God until he was secure in the promises of God. The next chapter tells the tale. The two brothers meet and, instead of bloodshed, there is reunion and reconciliation between the two. They make peace and both go on to live out the rest of their days in harmony.
What do these two stories teach us?
Laban's story shows us that current issues can be dealt with in a peaceful and God-centered manner. The wounds Laban and Jacob had dealt each other were still fresh. However, because God was working on Jacob's behalf, the two were led by God to deal with their issues through His filter. When we allow God's filter to be our method of dealing with current issues with others, we will be led to peace instead of strife. We'll set aside our differences with those people so that our conscience can be clear and we can move forward in God. Moreover, we'll be able to fulfill a greater purpose down the road when we take this approach.
Esau's story shows us that old wounds may run deep, but they aren't beyond the healing power of peace. If we seek God with all passion and supplication, reminding Him of the promises He has made to and with us, we will be able to take on those past issues with the faith and humility required. When Jacob made up with Esau, not only did he get his brother back, he got his birthright back. When we make peace in our past situations, we'll find that those things we thought were lost in God will be completely restored to us.
All it takes is a God mindset and peace can be made in both our present and past.
Read Genesis 33.
How do the two brothers, Jacob and Esau, talk to each other?
What do they do to reconcile with each other?
How can you apply this to your life today?
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.