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, “I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me. Genesis 33:8-10
The last time Jacob saw Esau, he feared his murderous rage. He threatened to kill Jacob for stealing his inheritance. However, Esau had moved on to relinquish his need for revenge. He accumulated a degree of wealth and saw prosperity as God’s favor in his life. Only a shalom with God could prompt him to say, “I have enough favor. Keep what you have, my brother.” This moved Jacob so deeply that he called Esau’s face – the face of God.
Jacob wasn’t just being dramatic. The night before this meeting, Jacob had actually seen the face of God in his encounter with the angel. Jacob named the place of their struggle, ‘Peniel’, which means, ‘I saw God’s face and lived.’ I don’t know what Jacob wrestled with God about, but considering the timing, I suspect it was over the upcoming meeting with Esau. Before he could find peace with his brother, he needed peace with God.
So do we. Jesus came and paid the price for you and me to have peace with God. I need not fear any encounter with Abba. I need not dread the silences in prayer, wondering what He might say to me. I need not dread the face-to-face meeting after I die. Jesus suffered the pain of my estrangement with His Father on the cross when he took my curse and removed the consequences, the very curse that separated God and me in the first place.
One of my crippling issues of the past was this pervasive feeling that I was a disappointment to God, even on the other side of the cross. I was certain that one day, Jesus might be happy to see me initially, but it wouldn’t take long to see his gaze fall away and his shoulders slump. This dread I lived with was a stronghold. The tangled web of lies that created it took a while to work through, but the battle was worth it. After multiple decades, shalom came to my soul.
My relationship with you has been messy, Lord. You have been faithful to lead me through my own objections and unbelief. Your face is beyond words. Amen