If someone said to me, “When I saw your face, it was as the face of God smiling on me,” I’d be looking for the catch! Yet that is what Jacob said to Esau when they finally met up (Genesis 33:10 – The Message). He was so relieved. Having cheated his brother out of his birthright and blessing all those years ago, Jacob had kept well out of Esau’s way, as his brother had threatened to murder him.
Now, after much apprehension and anxiety on Jacob’s part, they had come together; and Esau appeared delighted to meet up again with his long-lost brother. Being received favourably was more, far more, than Jacob could have hoped for; yet here was Esau, plainly glad to see him, the deserved anger had faded with the years. So Jacob went for this seriously over-the-top response to him.
What Jacob had received from Esau was grace. He didn’t deserve the kindness, but Esau extended it anyway. And Jacob was very, very appreciative! He had prepared to give Esau a very large gift of livestock in the hopes of ameliorating him. Esau was not in need of any amelioration, so the livestock had now become a very generous brotherly gift, in grateful thanks for his kind reception.
Strange as his comment to Esau was (that his face was like the face of God) it was in a way prophetic. For God Almighty extended amazing grace to us, when Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for our sins. Sometimes when people first come to realize what God has done for them in forgiving them, they are as appreciative as Jacob was: thrilled at their newly restored relationship, saved from the fear of the penalty of death, overjoyed in what he has done for them. These people want to give their all to God, humbly and gladly laying their whole lives down to his service, wanting to reciprocate his grace with the most generous gift they can offer.
After a while though, we can easily become accustomed to our new status of salvation, and glad though we are, we begin to take it for granted, and get ‘comfortable’ with it.
O Lord, give me a fresh awareness of all that you have done for me. Thank you for your grace. Help me to appreciate it anew, and to offer you myself, wholeheartedly, holding nothing back, to thank you for all you have done for me.