Last week we left Jacob walking in the morning light after his life changing encounter with God. He has a confidence in him that he never knew he could have. And there will be more surprises ahead for him… for… This. Is. His. Reconciliation Day!
Years ago he left town with just the staff in his hand and the clothes on his back. And though He has made a good life since then, something has been holding him back. That something was the need to go back home and make things right with his brother Esau.
But as we have learned… and is repeated in this chapter’s text… Esau has rounded up a welcome wagon consisting of 400 men. 400 armed men. Hell’s angels on horseback.
The hairs on the back of Jacob’s neck had to have been standing straight up as he enters into this meeting with his brother. He pushes his family out in front. (Least favorite wives and their kids in the front… thanks a lot dad!) And then he himself steps toward his brother…
He is now staring… in the face… the challenge of reconciliation. And amazingly… that face is smiling!
4 Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. … 10 Jacob said, “No, please, if now I have found favor in your sight, then take my present from my hand, for I see your face as one sees the face of God, and you have received me favorably.
Esau’s face was the face of God to Jacob. He could see that it was ultimately God that was gracing him through the miracle of reconciliation with his brother, Esau.
He could see the hand of providence in the situation. Reconciliation is not a common thing in our world. In our own strength we get mad and stay mad. To me “reconciliation” is a mark of a true Christian. And it proves to me that the Gospel works. BLESSED are the peacemakers, Jesus said.
Now… this doesn’t always mean you trust everybody and make yourself vulnerable to someone that has hurt you. Verses 12-17 seem to indicate that though there was a pleasant outcome, Jacob still keeps himself and his family a safe distance from his brother.
Reconciliation is complete only when trust is rebuilt between two willing hearts… and that can take time. Take your time and do it right. “Love your neighbor as yourself; but don’t take down the fence.” (Carl Sandburg)
But having said that… you will never reconcile by wishing your neighbor ill. Reconciliation begins when we wish for the other party the love of Jesus.
Sue Martinuk shared in Christian Reader about a tiff she had with her roommate in college. They dealt with the anger by not communicating with each other. She came in one night and found a note from her roommate: “I wish you Jesus.” She cried. Then wrote a note asking her for forgiveness. She placed it on her pillow and went to sleep.
Later, her roommate came home and shouted from the hallway that she had left a note on her desk–“Your sister called and asked me to send her the music for “I Wish You Jesus”!” Sue remarks: “We both had a good laugh–and were reconciled.”
What do you wish for others? If it is Jesus… it is bound to be the solution to a lot of conflict.
Is there someone in your life that you need to reconcile with? Can you begin by “wishing them Jesus?” Here is hoping that you will see the face of your enemy “as the face of God.”