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Earlier this morning, I read my 3YD chapters. Today is Week 11 Day 4 and the chapters are Genesis 33-34. Family members reconnecting and reconciling is a beautiful thing! In these chapters two estranged brothers, Jacob and Esau, reunite. Jacob, because of his earlier questionable choices and words that were spoken, was fearful to see Esau. When they met, Esau chose to forgive and embrace. Good job Esau! With so many of you spending time with family this holiday season, I pray that some reconciliation as needed will happen as well. One thing that certainly helped with their strained relationship was Jacob’s decision to humble himself. Good job Jacob. It is harder to stay mad at someone who is willing to no longer defend themselves and rather choose humility.
Something else in this story we see in the life of Jacob is a shift when it comes to running away and avoiding conflict. In earlier chapters, Jacob lived up to his name which meant ‘deceiver’. He had a pattern of deception which led to conflict, which than led to him running from tension rather than facing it and attempting to resolve it. We see this over and over. At the core of his pattern of deception was his deep insecurity. He longed for someone to see him and bless him for who he was. We all desire that. In Genesis 32 (yesterday’s reading) we see him finally have a wrestling match with God! In our lives, although we focus on everyone else with our frustrations and wrestling matches, it would help us (as it did Jacob) to go to God with our issues and insecurities.
In this interesting and life changing ‘dialogue' with God, God does two things which is huge! One - he makes sure Jacob can’t run away from anything any more. “Jacob, you have been running all your life. Those days are over. As you move forward and play a larger part in my redemptive story, it is time to face your issues, challenges and tensions and deal with them head on. As a reminder of this shift I want to see in your life, I will cause you to live with a limp. No longer will you be able to run from a mess, at best you will have to hobble away. But I would prefer you to stay and see what can happen when you face what needs to be addressed. And first up, I want you to go and get back in touch with Esau and do your part to resolve the relationship."
The second even more powerful thing God did was to rename Jacob ('Deceiver') to Israel ('Prince of God"). “Jacob, I love you. You are not illegitimate and you are not overlooked by me. I want your worth to be based on my relationship with you and no one else's … and from that foundation of love and acceptance, I want that security to spill over to the rest of your relationships."
There is more to that story … but that is enough before Thanksgiving day unfolds. As I pause and consider what I am thankful for today, I’m grateful to be partners with you as a local church body to grow together, serve together and be a light for Jesus Christ.