In the passage from Genesis below, Jacob prays for rescue from the hands of his Brother who he fears is coming to attack him. He has just had a similar encounter with his Uncle who had cheated and abused him for twenty years.
In the passage from Matthew, Jesus foresees the conflicts that can arise when a single family member begins to change their focus and behaviour in response to their new faith. It can be very hard to reconcile new faith with the reality of strong opposition from those we love and with whom we share our lives.
Genesis 32:9-12 NLT
Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O Lord, you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.’ I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! O Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. But you promised me, ‘I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore—too many to count.’”
Matthew 10:34-39 NLT
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
I need to remember that God can and does talk to those in our family who might be in opposition as he did to Jacob’s Uncle Laban – Genesis 31:24 NLT: But the previous night God had appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and told him, “I’m warning you—leave Jacob alone!” As a result of this warning Jacob and his uncle made peace and sealed it with a lasting covenant to respect each other. I want to believe that if I give up my life to God, then I will find the life God wants me to live. I need to trust that God can and will resolve any conflicts or opposition that might appear to threaten the well being of my family. I believe (as Jacob did) that my family, who I love is a gift from God, I believe He wants us to have both the love and support of our families along side his love and protection.
Genesis 31:17-32:12, Matthew 10:24-11:6, Psalms 13:1-6, Proverbs 3:16-18