“And he said, ‘What do you mean by all this drove which I met?’ And he said, ‘These are to find grace in the sight of my lord.’ And Esau said, ‘I have enough, my brother; keep that you have to yourself.’ And Jacob said, ‘No, I pray you, if now I have found grace in your sight, then receive my present at my hand—for, therefore, I have seen your face, as though I had seen the face of God and you were pleased with me’.”
Grace offered cannot be enjoyed until it’s received.
Nowhere in the Bible do we find a more beautiful picture of Grace-in-action than we do in the one described in today’s Manna. Esau had pledged over 20 years earlier to kill Jacob for stealing his birthright and blessing after their father, Isaac, died (Gen. 27:41). And, for 20 years Jacob had lived with the guilt of his treachery and the fear of his brother’s revenge.
No wonder he was nervous about returning home when God commanded him to do so (Gen. 31:3, 13). And, this fear was greatly heightened when he sent messengers back home to tell Esau he was coming—and learned that he was coming to meet him with 400 men (32:3-7)! We would have been, too!!
It’s also interesting to read Jacob’s description of himself and references to Esau during all this. Eight different times he refers to his brother as “my lord” (32:4-5, 18; 33:8, 13-15) and five times to himself as “your servant” (32:4, 18, 20; 33:5, 14). Quite a change from his previous shrewd, slick-talking ways, wasn’t it?
Such is always the case when Grace is in operation in our lives.
However, in Jacob’s case he still thought he had to appease Jacob by offering to him numerous gifts (32:5, 13-20; 33:8). They were his “bargaining chips,” if you will, so he might “find grace in Esau’s sight” (32:5b; 33:8, 10) and “be accepted by him” (32:20c).
Oh, dear Pilgrim, even though we know Grace “is God’s Gift of His Son, Jesus, which can’t be earned” (Jn. 3:16; Eph. 2:8-9), do we still act as Jacob did? Do we sometimes say, “I know God has forgiven me, but I can’t forgive myself?”
If so, do not be surprised if such fear often robs of His inward “love, joy, peace. . .” (Gal. 5:22-23). Ironically, it’s Esau. . .the one who’d vowed to kill Jacob. . .who showed great Grace in their reunion. Like the prodigal son’s father, he “ran to meet Jacob, embraced him, hugged him and kissed him as they both wept” (33:4; Lk. 15:20).
Was it Esau’ polite refusals of Jacob’s offerings that so greatly moved Jacob? Or, was there something in the way he looked and talked that caused him to say “for when I saw your face it’s as though I’d seen the Face of God and you were pleased with me”?
Most likely, it was Esau’ eyes. Perhaps the glistening tears that streamed down his cheeks helped Jacob see what Noah saw that day (Gen. 6:8) and what we also see when we look into the loving Face of Jesus. Why not spend a few minutes right now, closing your eyes and look into those Eyes? Then allow His Grace to flood your soul, calming your doubts and fears.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated September 25, 2009