Genesis . . . “Esau, ESPN and El Shaddai”
I watched and listened earnestly to the discussion between ESPN personalities Monday morning while walking on the treadmill at the gym. On a media network devoted to sports the conversation was highly charged by the weekend events in Charlottesville, Virginia and the continuing saga of sports stars refusing to stand for the National Anthem. I found this repartee intelligent, honest and valuable. I soon finished my time on the treadmill and went on to my yoga class where the instructor called on us to breathe and empty our thoughts to focus on the yoga practice. This was hard today. I despaired for lives lost and injured and for the graphic picture of peoples driven to extremes, to confrontation and doing harm motivated by beliefs based on moral equivocation. Sadly down dogs, triangle pose or planks do not change current events, debates about moral equivalence (moral equivocation in my opinion) or the heart of man.
Genesis tells many stories of lives changed and unchanged. As Pastor Ed alluded, Esau disrespected his heritage, his lineage and value even selling his birthright for a bowl of stew. Disenfranchised, Esau likely harbored deep hurt, hate and heartache for Jacob. After all, he did come to “the meeting” with 400 hundred of his men. If revenge was on his mind, if righting a relational wrong was in his heart, or proving his superiority was his aim, then Esau approached with moral equivocation. Jacob approached with similar moral equivocation. Jacob made his way through life with conniving, con jobs, and conspiracy mixed with some righteousness. Although not clearly stated in Scripture, haunted by his past choices, Jacob likely felt fearful, guilty and exposed in seeing Esau. He did come to “the meeting” putting his wives and children first in line, in harm’s way, thus protecting him.
In the 24-hours before “the meeting” Jacob has his pivotal encounter with God – El Shaddai. Jacob is profoundly changed. He has a different physical stance; he has an altered view of himself and a new and deep understanding of the nature, character, principles and person of El Shaddai. Jacob steps up and forward humbling himself and opening his heart to Esau. As Pastor Ed describes, Esau is literally and figuratively disarmed. Connection, reconciliation and restoration of family and relationship happen. There is no more equivocation because the moral view is now God’s view. This clarity yields wholeness and worth.
Racism is wrong; hatred is wrong; revenge is wrong; violence in response to opposing views is wrong; disrespecting another human is wrong; refusing to listen is wrong and justifying and excusing wrong is wrong. It is wrong because it is not who God is and what He sets forth as right living. How do we Christ-followers respond and act in the face of such divisiveness? We speak up and clearly proclaim the love of Jesus. We also must show the world what Christ-likeness does. Esau stood down when he saw Jacob step up as a changed man. I may not be able to change the KKK or the “far left” but I believe I can be an instrument to change the view of one disenfranchised, discouraged, discounted or damaged human being in our community. How about you, GateWay? That person is likely sitting right next to you at Sunday Service.