God used circumstances in Jacob’s life to force him on a journey back home to reconcile with his estranged brother. He could no longer hide from his wrongdoings. On the way, he wrestles with God and is left in a dependent state. For the first time in Jacob’s life, he cannot rely on his own devices or schemes—and despite his fear, he has to reconcile with Esau God’s way. God has reconciled us to Himself, and He is the author of our reconciliation with each other.
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us again today as we discuss the topic “When You’ve Been Wronged.” If you were with us last time, you know that we talked about a family, of course, there was Rebekah; there was Isaac, they had twins. Esau and Jacob were estranged because of Jacob’s sin and manipulation, and now God is beginning to use circumstances in Jacob’s life so that he has to go back home and confront the brother whom he had wronged.
On his way, he begins to pray. If you look at Genesis 32, you know that Jacob is so afraid of his brother. After all, he had wronged him 25 years ago and time does not heal all wounds. Jacob was so afraid he began to call on God and I think that there is a great lesson there and the lesson is this that if you desire reconciliation, you need God’s help you need his wisdom, and if you’re the one who did the wrong as Jacob was, you especially need God’s wisdom and intervention. Well, what Jacob does is he sends messengers ahead trying to find out what Esau’s mood is like, waiting for the reconciliation, but it’s that night that Jacob encounters God and it’s a very famous story.
Of course, in Genesis 32 Jacob is wrestling with God and he doesn’t know. This strange man comes to him, but in the midst of it, as they fight all night, Jacob begins to realize that this is not just a man. This is actually God. We call it a pre-incarnate manifestation of God before Christ, but it is a man wrestling with him and the man says I will not let you go—Jacob, actually, says, “I will not let you go until you bless me.” And then Jacob’s name is changed. What does the name Jacob mean? It means a deceiver, a cheat. And God says, “You will no longer be called Jacob, but from now on you’re going to be called Israel.” Of course, this is the first time in the Bible where the name Israel is used, and we always speak of the descendants of Jacob as Israel and then the Bible says that Jacob is touched in the socket of his thigh and he goes away limping. What’s the point? God is saying, “Jacob, when you meet your brother, you won’t be able to fight him. You are weakened. You are limping; you’re going to have to depend on Me in a new way. This is the end of your manipulation. This is the end of all of your schemes. You are going to depend upon me.” And, by the way, God always wants us to do that and often times brings great difficulties into our lives until and often times brings great difficulties into our lives until we understand that and we depend wholly and totally on Him.
Now, to hurry through the rest of the story. What you find is seems to be a sense of forgiveness, but there was never any true reconciliation. This is a very interesting story because Esau says, “I’m going to go ahead of you and you follow me.” And Jacob says, “No. No,..” he says, “you know, my wives and my flock, they go more slowly than yours. You go.” And the Bible says that Esau went to mount Seir and what does Jacob do? He goes in a different direction. The brothers never meet again until Isaac dies; they meet at their father’s funeral.
What’s the bottom line? Sometimes there cannot be full reconciliation, but I want to tell you today that even partial reconciliation is better than none at all. Sometimes we can do what we can and there’s so much mistrust, but still, at least we’ve done our part and we are partially reconciled and we go on from there. But a final word don’t ever think that you can reconcile without bringing God into the equation. Because God is the one who’s going to bring it about. God is a God of reconciliation. He reconciles us to Himself and then He says, “You be reconciled to others.” And I want you to stay with us for the next episodes because we’re going to be talking about some people that you can’t even reconcile with, but today, take some steps to reconciliation and ask for God’s help. Thanks so much for joining us, I hope that you indeed do join us again next time. but as for today you just go with God.