podcast

#1,274 – The Gospel of Reconciliation (Genesis 33:1–4)

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“Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked and behold Esau was coming and 400 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. Himself, went on before 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.”
-Genesis 33:1–4

What a scene. Remember, Jacob, at this point is frightened. He’s Scared for his own life and for the life of his family, because he’s going to meet Esau, and last time he was near Esau, Esau wanted to kill Jacob. It’s part of why he fled. And now he’s coming back, he’s prayed to God for safety and protection, as he meets Esau, yet he’s prepared for the worst.

And in verse four, Esau runs to meet Jacob, embraces him, falls on him, and they weep together. This powerful reunion that happens between these two brothers who were enemies, one desiring to kill the other one, having deceived the other, now reconciled together. And as I read this story, I can’t help but to think that there are likely many people who are listening right now, about to pray together and you have relationships in your life. Maybe it’s one particular relationship, or maybe it’s multiple relationships that are fractured and broken or tense and in need of reconciliation, in need of reunion, where there is hostility based on things in the past. Where there is just separation and division based on so many different factors. Ultimately, God knows all that those factors involve, but I just want to lead us to pray now for reconciliation of broken relationships, knowing this is ultimately possible only in Jesus. That through Jesus, we are reconciled to God and reconciled to one another.

So for relationships with other followers of Jesus, the power is there in the gospel to bring about that reconciliation. At the same time, I’m assuming that there are also relationships with people who are not in Christ. People who have not trusted in Jesus, and so the same gospel foundation is not there. And even still, I want to pray. Lead us to pray for the power of the gospel to be shown in that person’s heart and life. And for God to give you and me grace and wisdom to humbly work toward that kind of reconciliation. God, we know only you can do this ultimately in any of our relationships. So God we lift right now, broken relationships to you with sorrow in our hearts. God, I just think about different circumstances, different examples of this, God, where there is separation from people we love. Separation from people we once enjoyed such sweet friendship with, maybe in family such sweet family bonds, and now they’re stripped or torn or just broken or frayed.

God, we pray for reconciliation in these relationships. God, we pray for the power of the gospel to be shown, to be made evident. God I pray specifically for relationships between your sons and daughters, between those who’ve trusted in you, who know you. God, we know the power is there for reconciliation. We pray that you’d bring it about, and you would give wisdom to each person listening right now. Humility, Lord to let go of bitterness or unforgiveness. God we pray for that for all involved and God we pray for a love for each other and a restoration to each other. God, we pray for broken relationships with people who don’t know you. God, we pray for their salvation, we pray for their trust in you.

We pray that you would open their eyes to your love for them, that you have pursued them. That the relationship that is broken between them and you, you have made a way to be restored through Jesus’ love, through Jesus’ blood on the cross to cover over their sins. So that you would reconcile them to yourself and God that you would give wisdom, humility, grace, help to those who are praying right now to know how best to pursue reconciliation and redemption in that relationship. God, we see so many effects of sin in this fallen world around us, including the hurt we experience in relationships with each other. God, we pray for a mending and a binding and a healing of relational wounds and a restoring of relationship among family members, among friends in your church. God, we pray for all of this, according to your word in Jesus’ name, amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.
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