Friday 2 August, 2019

Genesis 35:27-29

27 Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, near Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. 28 Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. 29 Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

This is the conclusion to the story of Isaac.

What interested me about this passage was despite a relationship breakdown Isaac’s sons Jacob and Esau reconciled their differences in time to bury their father. I went back and read the entire story of Jacob and Esau. What a relationship train wreck. Jacob scammed Esau out of his rightful inheritance and Esau held a murderous grudge against Jacob causing him to flee the land for more than twenty years.

Despite all this dysfunctionality Jacob eventually found the courage to approach his brother for forgiveness and Esau demonstrated a desire to unconditionally reconcile with Jacob.

Family relationship breakdowns are difficult. Only recently I experienced my own sibling dispute and was surprised how powerful the temptation to either strikeout in anger or run away from the issues can be. Christians are not immune to these problems, but they do have a responsibility to reconcile disputes. It takes courage to face the issues, forgiveness to overcome transgressions and practice to maintain healthy relationships.

So, take the time today to consider any unresolved family disputes you might have.

Lord, help us to have courage, forgiveness, and wisdom to reconcile family disputes before it is too late. Amen!

Written by David Newton

2 replies
  1. Justin Ware says:

    Thanks so much David for sharing your wisdom here.

    Family is indeed a complex relational thing. I find it interesting in this passage that the place they are reconciled at seems to have fond memories for both of these men.

    Indeed the place referred to as Mamre appears first in Genesis 13. Abraham has a couple of encounters with God here and later in Genesis 23 he buys the land there and buries Sarah, his wife.

    From this point on the place becomes somewhat of a family meeting place and burial plot.

    I wonder that maybe through this narrative, maybe God is trying to teach me that, in order to reconcile family relationships, we need to go back to our foundations, to something even deeper than our values, but the the virtues that we hold.

  2. Andrew says:

    Thank you. Very helpful reflection even though I am coming to it a bit late. Also liked Justin’s comments.

    The thing that this passage, and your comments reminded me of was Ishmael and IsAAC. They had a shocker of a relationship. Similarly the eldest Ishmael missed the inheritance (because his mum was the servant). And st the previous generation the two mothers had a shocking relationship, to the extent that Sarah casts out Hagar and Ishmael (with dad Abraham’s knowledge) and Hagar and Ishmael nearly die in the desert (thanks dad, thanks Sarah).

    And yet the Bible clearly says that Ishmael and Isaac together bury their father.

    Death of family is clearly a motivator to reconciliation.

    Dear lord. Please help me to be reconciled to all, including family as issues arise and not wait until someone dies.

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