How Can God Reunite a Broken Family? (Genesis 33:1-20)

How Can God Reunite a Broken Family? (Genesis 33:1-20)

  1. Battle from the womb
  2. Parents played favorites
  3. Both bad guys – con man vs murderous polygamist
  4. 20 years later Jacob toughens up, hears from God, heads home

= Jacob’s prayer answered Gen. 32:9-12


Genesis 33:1-3 And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred 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. He himself went on before them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

Family –When family is the problem, get wise counsel outside the family

Fear – Returning Home Prayer: Gen. 32:11 Please deliver me from the hand of my brother…Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children.”

  1. Fear begins when sin enters the world: Gen. 3:10 “I was afraid”
  2. Fear will come upon you, but must not live in you.
  3. Fear can do more harm than the person/thing you fear (Laban’s 20 yr abuse)
  4. Fear can come w/a demonic spirit of oppression & unhealth
    • 2 Tim. 1:7 God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
  1. Fear is often a false prophet (Gen. 27 mom said Esau cool down, return soon)

= WHO/WHAT do you fear????


  1. Now praying, worshipping, seeking God’s will (building altars)
  2. God is revealing (angels, words, dreams, visions)
  3. Not trying to control outcome, but do right (overt, gifts, bowing 7X)
  4. At some point, you have to confront your fear in faith

-Boston U study -College students – anxiety up 135% & depression up 110% last 8 years

= hypochondriacs (don’t believe see, hear, read, feel)



Genesis 33:4-11 But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.  And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” Then the servants drew near, they and their children, and bowed down.  Leah likewise and her children drew near and bowed down. And last Joseph and Rachel drew near, and they bowed down.  Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company that I met?” Jacob answered, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.”  But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.”  Jacob said, “No, please, if I have found favor in your sight, then accept my present from my hand. For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me.  Please accept my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” Thus he urged him, and he took it.

  1. Esau – not a believer, but has moved on & forgiven
  2. Jacob – not perfect, but making progress
  3. Extended Family – from broken to blessed
  4. God – blessed both men

=We often get typecast w/family & don’t let us mature into someone else. Not here



Genesis 33:12-20 Then Esau said, “Let us journey on our way, and I will go ahead of you.” But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are frail, and that the nursing flocks and herds are a care to me. If they are driven hard for one day, all the flocks will die.  Let my lord pass on ahead of his servant, and I will lead on slowly, at the pace of the livestock that are ahead of me and at the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.”  So Esau said, “Let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But he said, “What need is there? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.” So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir.  But Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built himself a house and made booths for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth [booths/tents]. And Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, on his way from Paddan-aram, and he camped before the city.  And from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, he bought for a hundred pieces of money the piece of land on which he had pitched his tent.  There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel [the God of Israel].

  1. Parents no longer controlling this relationship. Adults deciding their own
  2. Jacob left & they were 1 family. Today they are 3 families w/differentiation.
  3. Positives – Negatives – Neutrals (were both Negatives, now both Positives)
  4. Not wonderful or awful relationship, but a functional relationship. “good enough”

-Altar built where grandpa Abraham built altar (Gen. 12:6-7)

-was supposed to go to Bethel not Succoth (ominous)

Faith, Forgiveness, & Friendship points to Jesus Christ

=Jesus Son of God our Big Brother – we acted like Jacob & Esau

Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them…” & died to answer His prayer


  1. Cancel Culture          2. Works Religion                 3. Karma                    4. Hell


Col. 3:12-14Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy & beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, & patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

  1. Forgiveness allows you to move on with or without the other person (Laban v Esau)
  2. Forgiveness is how you pass the case to God’s court to judge (sin vs crime)
  3. Forgiveness starts one day, but happens many days (70X7)
  4. Forgiveness is choosing to heal from so you don’t hurt others
  5. Forgiveness opens you to blessing enemy = test of forgiving (Lk. 6:28)
  6. Forgiveness is a gift to the person who hurt you, and to yourself

-Physically.          -Mentally.       -Emotionally.             -Relationally.

Hell up? Heaven down? (Matt. 18 story)

  1. What was done?
  2. Who did did it?

Stand to Forgive (silently name)

Mark Driscoll
[email protected]

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