NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.
Bible Passages: Genesis 33:1-15
— What makes reconciliation with another person so difficult? Is it harder to be the offender or the offended when it comes to a broken relationship? Explain.
— How can reconciliation with others foster personal spiritual growth?
Food for thought:
When we think of some of the more known feuds, names like the Hatfields and McCoys, de Havilland and Fontaine, Capone and Moran, Hamilton and Burr, and Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots seem to come to the forefront. Most of these feuds have some type of family connection in the background. The Hatfields and McCoys intermarried, de Havilland and Fontaine were sisters, and Elizabeth and Mary were cousins. These feuds illustrate the pain that results when people, especially family members are unable or unwilling to reconcile.
God had directed Jacob to return to his homeland. The promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all related to that homeland. To do so, he would have to face Esau. In Genesis 33, we find Esau and Jacob restoring their broken relationship. Twenty years had passed since Esau vowed to eliminate his younger brother. Jacob fled more than 400 miles at the insistence of his mother.
In those 20 years, lots had changed. They both now had families. They both had prospered. Their mother had also died, but Jacob was unaware because of his exile. Twenty years can soften a person’s heart but it can also harden it. Jacob had no idea which category his brother was in, so he prepared for the worse. God prepared Esau for this encounter. The two brothers put aside their pride and hurt, and found a way to restore their relationship.
God promised Jacob that He would protect him when Jacob spent that night in Bethel some 20 years prior (see Genesis 28:15). God demonstrated His faithfulness to His promises by softening Esau’s heart. Once again, Jacob was reminded of God’s purposes, promises and ability to deliver on those promises. Reconciliation with Esau was yet another step in Jacob’s spiritual pilgrimage.
God can be trusted at all times, even when reconciling with a once angry brother.
Explore the Bible
Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/ExploreTheBible.