Formations Lesson for August 29- Closure
August 13 2010 by Don Gordon, senior pastor, Yates Baptist Church, Durham

Focal Passages: Gen. 33:1-17; 35:27-29  

If you are using the Formations you have been studying the life of Jacob/Israel for the past 5 weeks.

Jacob, his mother’s favorite, has moved from conniving scoundrel to a man with a new name and a new heart.

Israel, as he will be called henceforth, finally comes face to face with his longtime estranged brother Esau.

As a buffer he puts his lesser loved wives and children in front, and his more beloved wives behind them.

Favorites Rachel and Joseph will bring up the rear (33:2). Israel is a changed man, but there’s no point in being careless!

He doesn’t know how Esau is going to respond to his gifts and appeals for friendship.

In a stunning act of reconciliation and forgiveness, Esau runs to Jacob (Esau doesn’t yet know of the name change), hugs and kisses him with abandon (33:4).

Together they weep for joy in the reconciliation. And they weep in sadness for all the years they wasted in hostile estrangement.

When the tears have been wiped clean and Esau can see clearly he notices all the women and children surrounding Jacob. He asks, “Who are these with you?” (33:5).

Jacob introduces his wives and children to Esau as they bow down in ritualistic subservience. Jacob wants to give Esau droves of animals as a gift “to find favor in your eyes.”

Esau doesn’t need nor does he want the gift. It is gift enough to have his estranged brother back as a wiser, more humble person. But Jacob insists. He reveals the depth of his gratitude, putting it on the same level as divine offering, saying, “For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably” (33:10).

These words of Jacob bring closure to the enmity between him and his brother because they reveal he finally understands the interrelatedness between earthly brother and heavenly father.

He sees God in his brother and he sees his brother as divine gift. This is true closure.

It ties all the loose strings of sin and failure into a gracious knot of holy reconciliation. These two brothers are one again. They have seen God in one another and they have received God’s grace by receiving one another as brother. Closure isn’t simply about putting an end to things, putting something deep in the closet of our minds. It’s about ending things well, giving them proper placement in the great scheme of God’s providence.

This week, think about what needs to end well in your life. Name it and give it the kind of closure that will honor God.
8/13/2010 4:37:00 AM by Don Gordon, senior pastor, Yates Baptist Church, Durham | with 0 comments

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