Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah. Genesis 25:9
This tiny gem of a verse can be missed. It’s sitting on the edge of a long genealogical list and normally, it’s the part I’ll skip over. This morning, the meaning of the sentence hit me. The two brothers had been alienated from each other. Their estrangement began with fighting and Sarah would have none of it. She told Abraham to cast out Ishmael, and his mother, from their household. Hagar and Ishmael nearly died during their exile in the desert and, in fact, would have if an angel hadn’t rescued them. Did hatred and resentment run deep in Ishmael’s heart? That would be human nature.
And yet in this part of their story, they come together to honor and bury their father. In their grieving, they found something in common.
How difficult it was to be siblings in the O.T. Cain killed Abel. Jacob and Esau’s rift was legendary. Joseph’s brothers hated him enough to sell him off to slave traders. Only Moses and Aaron were a successful pair, leading the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Are you at peace with your siblings or are there hurts that run deep? A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred Gates of a citadel. Proverbs 18:19 Family wounds are old, personal, and usually entrenched.
Not all family wounds will be healed. It takes two to reconcile and each must deal with the truth of the offenses. But it only takes one to forgive. By forgiving, I poise myself on the line of reconciliation and pray for my brother, or sister, to meet me there in truth and humility.
Nothing is too hard for You, Lord. Reunite and bind together what is broken. Loose families from grudges, misinformation, and pride. Amen