Sibling rivalry – I never knew such a thing was real until I had children of my own. I have found having children close in age makes everything a competition. If one can do something, the other can do it better. If one gets a reward, the other ‘needs’ one too. If one gets to go somewhere, the other must go somewhere too. Having not experienced this with my own sibling it is interesting to watch unfold.
Studying God’s word identifies for us that sibling rivalry is not anything new, and extreme cases have and do exist. We find proof of this in the story of Jacob and Esau. This story ranks among the top on my list of favorites. I find myself at various points being able to identify with each of them, Jacob and Esau. I’m sure if you think long enough and study it out, you can do the same. If you aren’t familiar with the two brothers, I encourage you to read their story; it begins in Genesis 25 then picks up again in 27-33.
What I want to focus on today is the reunion part of their story. To get you up-to-speed, long story short, Jacob steals Esau’s birthright, and his inheritance. Esau out of anger threatens to kill Jacob sending him to flee for his life. After 20 years of separation, God calls Jacob back to the land of his ancestors. That journey would require him to travel through the land of his brother Esau. This terrified him. We know this because scripture tells us he in order to assure that atleast some would flee to safety, he divided his household into two groups…extreme right? It sounds like it, yet when we take time to really think through this story and connect it to our lives…it isn’t that extreme, and we can see ourselves exhibiting the same behavior.
I wonder how many of us would acknowledge in our own life the existence of an Esau? Maybe your Esau isn’t a physical person to confront. Maybe your Esau is a problem from your past, a fear, depression, addiction, something that causes you so much dread that you would rather figure out how to pass through the eye of a needle than face the issue head on.
We all have an Esau. Someone or something we would love to live our life forgetting…avoiding…pretending it doesn’t exist, yet, it does and it is the one thing that stands in our way of getting us to the place that God is calling us.
This story reminds me of the popular saying,
If He brings you to it, He will bring you through it.
That saying sounds so pretty doesn’t it? It flows right off your tongue just beautifully. So simple, yet when coupled with you facing your Esau, it is distasteful, offensive, and absolutely dreadful. Passing through the eye of that needle sounds much easier and possible. However…if we learn anything from the story of these two brothers, we learn that the ‘ugly’ saying is absolutely true. The forgiveness that seems so impossible for man to give is NOT when God is involved. From a worldly view, Jacob deserved what he thought he had coming to him. His deception was unthinkable. However, we find in their meeting, Esau doesn’t attack him, he greets him with his arms around his neck, a kiss, and the two cry, a beautiful reunion. This is not a meeting of enemies or the battle that was imagined, it is a welcomed meeting of healing and forgiveness.
Can you imagine the relief Jacob experienced? The weight that he bore-instantly removed. We feel this same way when we finally muster up the courage to trust God and face our Esau. Maybe you have faced an Esau or two in your walk with Christ. Maybe you are still on the fence of decision afraid of the imagined battle that lies ahead. If that is where you are, I encourage you to read through their story, and remember, if God is calling you to such a place, trust Him to carefully guide your steps and make the right choice…Choose Him.