URC Daily Devotion Friday 12th June 2020

Friday 12th June 2020 –  Esau and Jacob 6

Genesis 33: 1-17

Now Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. He put the maids with their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last of all. He himself went on ahead of them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near his brother.

But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. When Esau looked up and saw the women and children, he said, ‘Who are these with you?’ Jacob said, ‘The children whom God has graciously given your servant.’ Then the maids drew near, they and their children, and bowed down; Leah likewise and her children drew near and bowed down; and finally Joseph and Rachel drew near, and they bowed down. Esau said, ‘What do you mean by all this company that I met?’ Jacob answered, ‘To find favour with my lord.’ But Esau said, ‘I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.’  Jacob said, ‘No, please; if I find favour with you, then accept my present from my hand; for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God—since you have received me with such favour.  Please accept my gift that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have everything I want.’ So he urged him, and he took it.

Then Esau said, ‘Let us journey on our way, and I will go alongside you.’ But Jacob said to him, ‘My lord knows that the children are frail and that the flocks and herds, which are nursing, are a care to me; and if they are overdriven for one day, all the flocks will die.  Let my lord pass on ahead of his servant, and I will lead on slowly, according to the pace of the cattle that are before me and according to the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.’

So Esau said, ‘Let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.’ But he said, ‘Why should my lord be so kind to me?’ So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir. But Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built himself a house, and made booths for his cattle; therefore the place is called Succoth.


What might forgiveness look like?

A man has his birthright stolen.  His brother, the thief, sneaks off in the night, leaving the other behind, hurt, angry and bereft.  Years later the victim receives news his brother is returning, with his family in tow.  What will his response be?  Have the years hardened his heart against his brother?  Does he need to confront him about the theft?  Will anger shaped their reunion?  Will he punish his brother for the crime?  As the thief makes his way toward his family home, these may be the questions chasing around in his head. 

What might forgiveness look like?

A man running to embrace his brother, to welcome him home without a need for restitution or explanation;  a man running to the brother who wronged him,  looking into his eyes and seeing the love they once shared as twins;  a man who embraces his brother again and invites him into the family he has been missing,  completing the family circle once more.  

What might forgiveness look like?

Perhaps examining our own hearts.  Taking out that hurt that still lodges there and seeing if we can let it go.  Is it appropriate to hold onto the hurt or to forgive?  Asking God whether God can remove the hurt from us and create an openness in our hearts which can take the place of the pain.  

Perhaps forgiveness looks like Esau, the one deeply wronged, who moves willing toward the one who wronged him, demanding nothing in return.  Perhaps forgiveness looks like the “Stranger” who catches hold of us in the middle of the night, who challenges us, wrestles with us and leaves us changed.  Perhaps forgiveness looks like each of us, finding a way to live open-heartedly and loving with those around us.


God, you move toward us with warmth and welcome.  You look us in the eye knowing the pain we have caused and the hurt we carry.  You embrace us with love.  Give us the courage to wrestle with our hurt, allowing your grace to shape our move toward forgiveness.  As we are welcomed and known, help us welcome and know others.  Amen.


Today’s writer

The Rev’d Martha McInnes, Minister, Cardiff and Penarth Pastorate


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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