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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Amish Cart
Yesterday we got stopped in traffic at an intersection along a busy highway in "Bird in Hand" (yes, that really is the name of the town which is between Smoketown and Intercourse in Eastern Lancaster County.) We got behind this Amish boy who was wanting to get his pony and cart to cross the road but couldn't get a break in the traffic flow. He looked back toward us as if to say "Sorry!"  He finally got a break and dashed across the road running alongside the pony.

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"The Incredible Joy Of Reconciliation"

"But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept" (Genesis 33:4).

The need for reconciliation is a recurring discussion Brooksyne and I have with employees through our chaplain ministry. Recently, in a personal discussion with an employee, we discussed the vital need for reconciliation to occur among his family members.  This is extremely important when death is near (as it was in this case), but since we don't know when a death may occur, we need to make reconciliation a priority in life every day.

What an intense and emotional meeting is described in our daily text!  Jacob had last seen his brother Esau at the time he stole his blessing. Tragically, it was Jacob’s mother who dreamed up the deceptive scheme and helped Jacob carry it out. Filled with rage Esau threatened: "I will kill."  For fear of his life Jacob fled to his Uncle Laban's in Haran where God prospered his long sojourn.

Now, after many years of no communication, Jacob was to meet with Esau. He had been dreading this meeting for years, expecting the worst.  The entire 32nd chapter of Genesis is devoted to the preparations for this inevitable confrontation. It also tells of the remarkable encounter Jacob had with a heavenly wrestler who provided divine assurance and changed Jacob’s name to Israel.

The emotion between the brothers is intense and so colorfully described in our daily verse that we can easily imagine the touching scene.  When Jacob first saw Esau he approached his older brother with fear, humility, and trepidation.  But what a pleasant surprise he was in for! 

Jacob and Esau's reconciliation
Esau ran to greet him, embraced him, threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. Wow, that must have been a huge relief to Jacob and what incredible joy must have filled his heart.

They wept together.  What a beautiful picture of reconciliation. Scripture reveals a great deal about   Jacob's life and his spiritual growth, but we have little information about Esau.  But God was molding character in Esau’s life over the long years of separation and we witness this in the reconciliation scene and the verses that follow.

Reconciliation is changing for the better a relationship between two or more persons. Theologically it refers to the change of relationship between God and man. Socially it refers to the change of relationship between people.

Two truths to consider today:

1) Let's thank God for His reconciliation.  His offer for reconciliation stands ready and remains steady.  He's waiting for our move. A great detail in the Parable of the Prodigal Son is when the father (representing God) runs to meet the returning son.  "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20).

2) Do you have someone in your life to whom you need to be reconciled? I particularly consider families that are broken by strife and long-term division.

It's hard, but God can work in both hearts.  Surely Jacob had no idea of the change that had taken place in Esau's life, and in reality the need to meet his brother was more a matter of expediency than a willful desire to reconcile.  Begin to take the initiative in reconciliation.  Reach out and experience the incredible joy of reconciliation.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, you have called us to live at peace with all people, in as much as it is possible.  As people of free will we cannot force reconciliation but we can facilitate reconciliation.  Help us to lay aside pride, prejudice, procrastination and preconceived ideas of the outcome so that we take the first step toward reconciliation.  We want to trust You to guide us in this most important endeavor as we attempt to live at peace with all people.  In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

A bit more on reconciliation from a theological perspective: We are naturally children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), and are at enmity with God (Ephesians 2:11-15); but, “…we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…” (Romans 5:10). Because of the death of Jesus, the Christian’s relationship with God is changed for the better. We are now able to have fellowship with Him (1 John 1:3) whereas before we could not. So, we are reconciled to Him (Romans 5:10-11). The problem of sin that separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2) has been addressed and removed in the cross. It was accomplished by God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Larry & Becci Stair

Yesterday in the late afternoon we had a visit from Larry and Becci Stair, friends we had met several years ago while pastoring a church in an interim role in York County. Larry turned to the Lord about three years ago and testifies to a tremendous change in his life. Yesterday was his 44th birthday!  Larry and Becci are high school sweethearts and just celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary. Their enthusiasm in serving Christ is contagious (in a good kind of way.)

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"When God Ran"
  Video   Audio   A beautiful song of reconciliation!

"That's Why We Praise Him"  Audio

Bird In Hand Pennsylvania

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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