Today we continue the series, “When You’ve Been Wronged.” We’re looking at the life of Jacob—a biblical figure who, in many ways, made a mess of his life. God meets him, reaffirms his covenant with him and renames him Israel. Sometimes God needs to humble us and bring us to a point of great need in order to reconcile us to Himself—and to others.
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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.” Now, sometimes we have been wronged, sometimes we wrong others. We’re talking about a family in the Old Testament. We’re speaking about Jacob and Esau. I sure hope that you were with us last time as we discussed their relationship. Today, I’d like to just look at the big picture and make a couple of comments about human relationships.
Sometimes there has been such a betrayal of trust, that it’s best if possible for people to just separate. That’s what we find in the scripture. When Jacob was working for his uncle, Laban, they were cheating one another, and there was so much mistrust that when they finally met up, we find that they built a heap of stones and they said these words—words that are often times used and put on a plaque in a Christian home. “The Lord watch between you and me when we are out of sight, one with another.” In context, the verse means this: we’re drawing a line here. Here’s the boundary you stay on this side and I will stay on this side and God help us if one of us steps over that line. That was a permanent separation. Sometimes there is mistrust that is so deep, so persistent, that if possible, you have to separate.
There’s another lesson and that is this and I think that this should be encouraging: God often times uses a crooked stick to make a straight line. Let me ask you something. If you know the story of Jacob and Esau, who would you rather have as a neighbor? I think I’d choose Esau. He was a man’s man. He’d have been the kind of guy who, in the winter, would come over and shovel your walk. Jacob, well, you know, he was sort of a mama’s boy. He was, of course, the great favorite of his dear mother, Rebekah. Would you want him, especially because he’s a cheater and lies? No. And who does God bless but Jacob? You know, there’s something else that I find very interesting and I simply throw this in as sort of a parenthesis: Jacob married two daughters of Laban. He married, I should say Rachel about whom the Bible says she was of beautiful form, but the first marriage and this is where Laban tricked Jacob, was to Leah. It says that she was of weak eyes. That’s a euphemism for saying she was just barely pretty. But who does God bless? It is Leah who gives birth to Judah through whom Jesus Christ comes! Have you ever noticed that God doesn’t do things that you and I would do if we were God? Sometimes He blesses people unexpectedly that we wouldn’t bless. I mean, Jacob was a cheater and yet we honor him today and his name was changed to Israel and we always think of the children of Israel. So, always remember that God sometimes blesses people with whom we have disagreements, with whom we have difficult situations.
But the bottom line today is simply this—that reconciliation is always God’s will if it can be achieved. You know, the Bible says this in Ephesians 4:32: “Be tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake, has forgiven you.” Tenderhearted, forgiving one another. God wants us to be reconciled. Jesus said, “If you bring your gift to the altar and you remember that your brother has ought against you” and there’s an issue there, “…leave your gift. Go be reconciled and then bring your gift.” Today, I want to ask you this question: are you doing all you possibly can to be reconciled to people? Sometimes it might not work out and we’ll certainly talk about that next time, but do what God wants you to do in humility and faith and He will be with you. Thanks so much for joining us and as I emphasized you have to listen next time as we talk about someone with whom you cannot reconcile. But as for today you just go with God.