“5 Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. ‘Who are these with you?’ he asked.Jacob answered, ‘They are the children God has graciously given your servant.’6 Then the female servants and their children approached and bowed down. 7 Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down. Last of all came Joseph and Rachel, and they too bowed down.8 Esau asked, ‘What’s the meaning of all these flocks and herds I met?’‘To find favour in your eyes, my lord,’ he said.9 But Esau said, ‘I already have plenty, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself.’10 ‘No, please!’ said Jacob. ‘If I have found favour 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 favourably. 11 Please accept the present that was brought to you, for God has been gracious to me and I have all I need.’ And because Jacob insisted, Esau accepted it.” NIV
‘’…to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favourably’’ (10)
This verse reminds me of a story told about the famous author, Edgar Wallace. He had a neighbour who was a Christian. Wallace apparently said, ‘As long as I live in the same street as that old man, I cannot doubt that there is a God.’
There is something of God-likeness in the welcoming of another, and in showing them kindness – whether or not they deserve it. This is what God is like. He is gracious. Grace is undeserved favour. God welcomes all who trust in Jesus, whatever they have been or done.
As we have previously noted, Esau did not require Jacob’s lavish gifts (8,9). He was accepting of him anyway. Similarly, our attempts to ‘buy-off’ God are futile and unnecessary. He accepts us on the basis of Jesus’ sacrificial death alone – not on our attempts to earn his approval.
That said, it is right to acknowledge God’s bountiful blessings to us (5b), and to want to generously share what we have been given. But Esau’s acceptance could not be bought; and neither can God’s.
PRAYER: Lord God, may I be so filled with your Spirit that other people see you in me. Make my life compelling evidence for your reality, I pray