Mending Broken Relationships | Morning Routine Daily Devotional for February 12

And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So, he divided…

And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So, he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two female servants. And he put the servants with their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last of all. He himself went on before them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. — Genesis 33:1-4 ESV

Broken relationships are common to us as humans, and it’s no surprise we find dysfunctional relationships honestly, throughout scripture.  The very first family had Cain and Able, but in today’s passage it’s Jacob and Esau. Even at birth, these twins appeared against each other, Jacob grasping Esau’s heel. Later in life, Jacob cheated Esau out of his birthright, trading it for a mere bowl of soup! And their story only escalates. Isaac, their father, in his old age, sought to bless them before he perished. Knowing this, Jacob and Rebekah (their mother) plotted to cheat the blessing from Esau since he was the firstborn. So, Jacob disguised himself as Esau, lied to his father, and stole the blessing intended for Esau. Before we get to today’s story, the last face-to-face interaction between the two brothers ended with Esau’s hatred of his brother and intent to murder him. Now, Jacob awaits the arrival of his brother, Esau, and his four hundred men. 

And so, the narrative leads us to wonder whether Esau is coming to take revenge upon his brother. Can you blame Jacob for carefully preparing in case things go south? However, the story unfolds very differently. As Esau and his men march towards Jacob, Jacob prepares to plead for forgiveness and mercy, which he does. But Esau runs up to Jacob, embraces him, and weeps. Their animosity is put away. We’re not told why Esau was kind to his brother, though their mother predicted he would eventually forget about what happened. And both brothers speak of having all that they need. “God has dealt graciously with me,” Jacob said (Gen 33:11). Their relationship is restored through God’s provision and through the passage of time.  

Every one of us has experienced a broken relationship at some point—whether a family member, or spouse, coworker, student, or fellow church member. We live in a broken world full of broken people in broken relationships. The good news is that reconciliation doesn’t start with us; it begins with God. Jacob expected Esau to take revenge. And we may expect the people of our broken relationships to come swinging, too. But that may not always be the case; the unexpected can happen with God. May the Lord bring healing to you, and continue His legacy of restoring relationships.