“No, please!” said Jacob. “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.”
New International Version (NIV)
The world is full of famous faces. A friend of mine told my father-in-law once, “I knew when I saw you in the congregation that you were somebody.” Frank Pollard quoted the people who say, “I recognize your face but I don’t know your name.” Frank jokingly answered, “My dog can do that.” What is the most recognizable face in the world? Queen Elizabeth II won the prize. More people recognize her face than any other, according to two different sources. Have you ever tried to envision the face of God? How do you imagine God looks? If we saw him would we know him.
Twice Jacob talked about the face of God. After he wrestled beside the Jabbok he renamed that place “Peniel” because, he said, “I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared” (32:30). Shortly afterward he faced another familiar face which he had feared. When he ran into his brother Esau, he was surprised to see the face of forgiveness. Jacob said, “For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.”
To see forgiveness in the face of another is like seeing the face of God. If we could see God’s face, we would discover that he is the God who longs to forgive us for our sins. William Cowper, the hymn writer put it this way, “Beneath a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.” If God could do anything he wanted with us he would forgive us and save us. I know this can be hard for some to imagine. We are convinced that God is angry at us. But now we see only in a dark mirror. Someday we will see God face to face. We who have trusted him will echo Jacob: our lives will be spared.
Today I pray the prayer of Aaron over us:
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord cause his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This year our Every Day with Jesus readings will follow The Bible Project Read Scripture Plan. Copies of this reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download the app at readscripture.org. Read through the Bible with us in 2019!
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