Just a little observation for you today, from Genesis 32:22-33:17. Here Jacob wrestles with God and is then reunited with his twin brother Esau. What links these occasions? Many things probably, but what I noticed was a few lines in the text. When Jacob, now Israel, has wrestled with the man/angel/God he names the place where it happened Peniel, meaning the face of God because ” I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” Then later when he meets Esau, who he had greatly feared yet who welcomes him graciously, he tells him “truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God—since you have received me with such favour.”

Jacob does not only see God in his visions and visitations, but in the face of his brother, in the greeting filled with forgiveness and love. It shows me God is not only to be seen in religious experiences, but in all of life.

What’s more, though Jacob had seen God twice before, it is only after this meeting with his brother that he can begin to settle. God has been with him throughout his fleeings from this place and that, but it is seeing God’s face in his brother’s that truly moves Jacob, and that perhaps changes him most of all.

May you look for and behold the face of God in the places you most fear.

Amen.

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