Bitter or holy? (Hebrews 12:14-17)Timo Keskitalo, July 29, 2012
Part of the Exposition of Hebrews series, preached at a Sunday Service service
Bitter or holy?
The character of Esau is here used as a warning example. Remind yourself of the story of Esau. Discuss through the details of his life.
- Remember his position in birth (The anger later in his life is in a way justified)
- His character as compared to Jacob (he is the real man)
- The one unfortunate incident when he comes home hungry (this was just one tiny error from his side in a moment of weakness)
- The deception of his brother with the assistance of their mother (the whole world seems to be against him)
- His encounter with his brother over 14 years later (crimes against him do not fade away, do they?)
When were the seeds of bitterness sown in his heart?
Esau seems to do well in life after all. Is that a sign that he is OK with God?
Do you think Jacob trusted Esau after the meeting at his return to the promised land?
Did you know how the story of Esau continued in the generations to come? His grandson was Amalek. Does that ring the bell? Look up the battle in Sinai in early stages of the journey back to the promised land. Saul was supposed to kill all the Amalekites. Do you remember what happened? Did you know that Haman was an Amalekite, the Haman who tried to kill all the Jews in the days of Esther? Did you know that king Herod, who killed the baby boys in Bethlehem, is from the same family root. Discuss the legacy of bitterness. How wide can our bitterness spread!
So how to practice holiness and peace?
In what sense can holiness be the opposite and even cure of bitterness?
Holiness is of utmost importance, as it may influence our possibility of seeing God.
How did Joseph respond to his brothers when he could have turned bitter and take revenge?
What did Jesus do with matters which might have caused bitterness?
Consider grace and forgiveness as key aspects in pulling the roots of bitterness from your heart.
Look at Jesus crucified. Let him be your cure from wounds in your memories.
Commit together in your group to give up bitterness and allow the grace of God to cover it all.
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14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. (ESV)