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Seeds of the Kingdom

Like Seeing the Face of God

by Annalene Holtzhausen

“… For indeed, I have seen your face, and it is like seeing the face of God, since you have received me favorably.”
Genesis 33:10b, BSB

The previous time Jacob and Esau had seen each other, had been under very unfavourable conditions. Genesis 27 gives an account of how Jacob had actually stolen Esau’s blessing from their father, Isaac. Esau broke down and wept, pleading with his father to bless him too. Isaac did bless him then, but it was not the blessing that he had expected (verse 28-29). In verse 41 we read that “Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: ‘I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.” Rebekah, their mother, heard of Esau’s plans and subsequently warned Jacob, who then fled to live with her brother, Laban, in Haran. He lived there for twenty years, working for Laban. He also married both Laban’s daughters - Leah and Rachel. By the time the Lord told him to return to the land of his father (Genesis 31:3), he was a wealthy man.

Jacob was therefore not anticipating a favourable reaction from Esau after many years of them living apart. He sent messengers ahead of him with many gifts from his flocks and herds for Esau, but the messengers returned with the news that Esau was already on his way with an army of four hundred men (Genesis 32:4-6). ‘Jacob was terrified at the news’ (Genesis 32:7a). He prepared his household and flocks into two groups, and then prayed to God, asking for His protection, and reminding God of His promise to him: ‘“But You promised me, ‘I will surely treat you kindly and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sand along the seashore - too many to count’” (Genesis 32:9-12).

The following day, he instructed everyone in his household on what to expect and planned the meeting with Esau very well, preparing as best he could for a possible attack. In Genesis 33, we read that, when he saw Esau approaching with his four hundred men, he went on ahead, approached his brother and bowed to the ground seven times before him. ‘Then Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. Then they both wept’ (Genesis 33:4).  The Lord had been faithful in His promise to Jacob and protected him and his household. Esau’s reaction brought about a beautiful reconciliation and Jacob saw the Lord’s trustworthiness being demonstrated.

Jacob’s words: “It is like seeing the face of God” were like a light shining when I read this verse. It made me wonder how our own reactions, words, and demeanour affect the people we meet. Can someone else say this of us, especially when they are actually expecting judgment, anger, or rejection? Even though Jacob prayed to the Lord and trusted Him, Esau must also have enquired from the Lord regarding his reaction. We each have the responsibility of treating people the same way Jesus would have treated them. Let us follow in His footsteps of ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control’ (Galatians 5:22-23). ‘Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do’ (Ephesians 5:17 NLT). Let us also be to others the ‘face of God’.

Annalene Holtzhausen is on the Associate Team at Ellel, Africa. She is married to Renier, who introduced her to Ellel Ministries. She is a full-time mother to their two boys. Her passion is for the restoration of women’s hearts and for people to find their worth in the Lord.

 

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