Posted by: Esther | October 18, 2007

The Gift of Forgiveness

The Gift of Forgiveness

Jacob’s Sin Against Esau

In chapter 27 of the book of Genesis, Jacob sinned against Esau by stealing his birthright.

Genesis 27:30-34 Now it happened, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. He also had made savory food, and brought it to his father, and said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that your soul may bless me.” And his father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” So he said, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau. Then Isaac trembled exceedingly, and said, “Who? Where is the one who hunted game and brought it to me? I ate all of it before you came, and I have blessed him–and indeed he shall be blessed.” When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me–me also, O my father!”

Our Sin against God

The Bible says that every wrong thing we do is a sin against God (1 John 5:17). The standard for what is right and wrong according to our Creator was given to us in the form of Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and Jesus expands on these commandments in Matthew chapters 5 to 7.

The Result of Sin: Esau’s Anger; God’s Wrath

Genesis 27:41 So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

Because of Esau’s anger, Jacob, by the advice of his parents, fled to Haran, his mother’s hometown. Twenty years later (with two wives and eleven children), the Lord told Jacob to return home.

Genesis 31:3 Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.”

The Gift of Forgiveness

On Jacob’s way home God opened Jacob’s eyes to see that His angels were with him. Genesis 32:1

So Jacob should have had nothing to fear, right? Well after sending messengers to Esau in order to ask for his brother’s favor, he is told that Esau and 400 men were coming to meet him. So Jacob panics and prays, then sends gifts to Esau in order to win Esau’s favor (Genesis 32:16-20).

And don’t we do the same? The first things we do when faced with opposition, in a frightening situation, is panic and, hopefully, pray. When people realize that they have sinned against God, many try to win God’s favor. So many times I find myself serving the Lord because I want Him to love me more. But then I realize that He can’t love me anymore than He already does.

Esau had plenty of his own livestock. He did not need Jacob’s (Genesis 33:9). And so the Lord has plenty and does not need anything we want to offer Him. The Lord went before Jacob and softened Esau’s heart. This gift of forgiveness could not and did not need to be earned, and Jacob certainly didn’t deserve it. Likewise, God showed His great love for us by sending us His son to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). This is a gift; nothing we can earn or that we even deserve.

So does this mean we can go on sinning? The apostle Paul answers that question directly in Romans chapter 6, but we can learn from Jacob’s example as well.

Genesis 33: 8-11 Then Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company which I met?” And he said, “These are to find favor in the sight of my lord.”

But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.”

And Jacob said, “No, please, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present from my hand, inasmuch as I have seen your face as though I had seen the face of God, and you were pleased with me.

“Please, take my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” So he urged him, and he took it.

Jacob could have said, “Oh, well, since you don’t need any of this, I’ll just take it back.” We could say to God, “Oh, well, since you don’t need or want anything I do, I may as well just keeping on doing the things I have always been doing: lying, stealing, lusting. These things seem much easier to do than following all of your rules anyway.”

But Jacob did not take his gifts back. He had a change of heart. He was no longer offering the gifts to receive Esau’s favor, but to thank Esau for being so kind to him. It is in this heart that we must do the Lord’s will. Not because we want Him to love us more, but because He already loves us completely and He showed us how much He loves us by sending His son to die for us.


Responses

  1. Is the true God distinquished from the others by forgiveness? That is a positive for all mankind to choose : )

  2. That’s a good question. I think the type of forgiveness our Creator offers does distinguish him. The consequence of sin is death as we know from the account of the fall of Adam. So since God cannot lie, we can only be forgiven through a blood sacrifice. So God sent His only begotten Son to die in our place. To say that God can just forgive us, without the shedding of blood would mean that God was lying. So according the Islamic Allah will not ignore our good and he will forgive us, but I don’t know what the standard is. When Jesus explained the depth of the ten commandments in Matthew 5 to 7, I have to admit that I am guilty of breaking most and am mostly sinful. So my sin does outweigh my good. My very thoughts condemn me. I would not want to be in a religion that I had to live in fear of God knowing that he will (and should) judge my very thoughts.God is just, but their is no condemnation in Jesus because He is innocent. So this type of forgiveness does distinguish the true God from others.

  3. this is really a true father act
    ! i like the way you have discussed !
    its really awesome !


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