This past week, I read Genesis 25-42. I'm so thankful for the richness and relevance of God's word. It's truly timeless and contains all of the answers to life's questions. There were so many awesome nuggets throughout those 17 chapters, but there is 1 main theme that struck me the most...
Starting with the first siblings in the Bible, Cain & Abel, sibling rivalry has been a very real consequence of the fall.
In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. Genesis 4:3-5
Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Genesis 4:8
Cain allowed his rage and jealousy to overshadow his relationship with his brother. So much so that it resulted in him killing Abel. His one and only brother.
So it was no surprise to me when sibling conflict reared its ugly head again between Isaac and Rebekah's twins, Jacob and Esau. The boys even had conflict while in Rebekah's womb.
The children struggled together within her, and she said, "If it is thus, why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger." Genesis 25:22-23
The next few chapters in Genesis detail the ongoing conflict in Jacob and Esau's relationship, from Jacob demanding the birthright from Esau (Esau was born first and there are certain blessings that come with being the firstborn) to stealing Esau's blessing and deceiving their father Isaac.
The reason this theme stands out to me so much is because I don't have a healthy relationship with my own brother...actually, forget healthy...we don't have a relationship at all...healthy or otherwise. He's my only sibling and it really breaks my heart that our relationship is suffering...and has been for many years. He's struggling to find his place and path in life and, in the mean time, tends to blame everyone around him (including me) for the choices he's made and the consequences that followed. He goes about life as if someone owes him something and, frankly, that really bothers me. At this point, I'm not even really sure how to have a relationship with him or how to resolve some of the long standing conflict between us.
I long for the kind of relationship with my brother that many of my friends have with their siblings.
But for the first time in a long time, I've realized something. There is a lesson for me in this. Not sure what, when, why, how....but there is a lesson. And a test. And now that I've recognized that, I've been thinking hard about my role in resolving the conflict. This week, I feel that the Lord made the answer clear to me through Genesis 33:4:
But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.
After being separated for nearly 20 years, Jacob and Esau were reunited. Jacob was fearful for his safety and the safety of his family and livestock. He was afraid that Esau would harm him because of what he had done to him 20 years prior. But rather than harm him, Esau did the unthinkable...he welcomed Jacob with open arms, embracing and kissing him.
So that's my answer. I can't give up on my brother. I can't. I need to continue to pursue him and let him know that he's loved. And when he's ready to be apart of my life, I need to be ready to welcome him with open arms. Just like Esau.
If you remember me in your prayers, please pray for me & my relationship with my brother. For understanding. For patience. For reconciliation. And ultimately, for his salvation.
Now it's time to link-up!