Posted by Scott Schampers

freedom-in-forgiveness

Forgiveness is not only liberating to the debtor but also to the forgiver.

Jacob and Esau were twins at odds with each other.  Esau, who was technically the firstborn, was entitled to a double portion of the inheritance and also (in this case) a special blessing from their father Isaac.  Isaac, near the end his life, called Esau to himself so that he could bless him.  Isaac told Esau to first go hunt, kill, and prepare some wild game and then come back so that Isaac can eat of it and bless him.  Esau’s brother Jacob, in a deceitful move while Esau was gone, pretended to be Esau and ended up receiving the blessing that Isaac intended for Esau.

When Esau came back he was furious and pleaded with his father to bless him as well.  Isaac basically told Esau that what is done is done and there was no undoing it.  Esau pleaded with his father for any left over blessing that there might be.  Isaac reluctantly spoke over Esau’s life as well, but what Isaac gave to Esau amounted to a complete anti-blessing – yet with one glimmer of hope attached to the end.  Here it is:

[Gen 27:39-40 ESV] 39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to [Esau]: “Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. 40 By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you grow restless you shall break his yoke from your neck.” [underline mine]

The only thing hopeful about that “blessing” was that one day Esau would break Jacob’s yoke from his neck.  Esau became bitter about this “blessing” and scripture records:

[Gen 27:41 ESV] 41 Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

Jacob caught word of this and ran away.  About five chapters and twenty years later Jacob is preparing to meet his brother for the first time since their offense happened.  How would Esau respond?  Esau was a skilled hunter – would he avenge himself for what was stolen from him?  Jacob of course didn’t know what Esau would do, but I highly doubt that Jacob would have ever expected Esau to do the following:

[Gen 33:4-9 ESV] 4 But Esau ran to meet [Jacob] and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. 5 And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” 6 Then the servants drew near, they and their children, and bowed down. 7 Leah likewise and her children drew near and bowed down. And last Joseph and Rachel drew near, and they bowed down. 8 Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company that I met?” Jacob answered, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.” 9 But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.”

What happened?  Esau had forgiven Jacob and in so doing had broken his brother’s yoke from his neck.


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