Seeing the Face of God
Chaplain Jim Corbett
Walker Baptist Medical Center
Jacob’s story is one of the great stories of all time. We all know the stories of tricking Isaac into thinking Jacob Is Esau (the older brother) with his mother’s help, then fleeing in fear of retaliation. Many years have passed and Jacob is returning for the first encounter since that day with his older brother whose birthright he had stolen. He has sent messengers ahead to his brother and they have returned warning him that his brother is coming with 400 men. Is his trickery about to catch up with him?
He prepares the camp dividing his belongings, animals and family to avoid losing everything if attacked. He sends a massive amount of animals as gifts to win his brother's favor. After this, he goes beside the river Jabbok alone and afraid where he encounters “a man” and wrestles all night with him. He asks for a blessing and is given a name Israel which means “he who strives with God”. Then he asks the man’s name and is given a blessing. Afterward we read he saw Esau coming with 400 men. He went to meet his fate bowing to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.
The most astonishing twist to the story comes next: "But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept." (Genesis 33:4 RSV)
What a fantastic and astonishing scene. After years lived in terror of what would happen when the brothers met, Esau has completely forgiven his brother. He meets Jacob’s family then ask why all the gifts saying he doesn’t need them. Jacob insists he keep the gifts saying in Genesis 33: “For truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God, with such favor have you received me (32:10)”.
In John 14:34-35 Christ speaking to his disciples preparing them for his coming death: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
In the love and forgiveness of Esau, Jacob saw God’s face. Do others see God in our faces?