Summary: If you’re looking for the face of God in your life, look for it in the face of forgiveness on your brother; look for it in the face of favor on your sister; and look for it in the face of fellowship with your brothers in sisters in Christ.
Some time ago, a small east coast community was struggling financially, so they called an open town meeting to discuss the problem. A couple dozen people were there, including a stranger that no one seemed to know. Most assumed he was a tourist who had just dropped in on the meeting. He started to make a comment when various ideas were offered, but he was interrupted, so he just kept quiet for the rest of the meeting and ended up leaving early.
Just as the stranger left, a late arriving resident came in and asked with excitement, “What was HE doing here? Is he going to help us?”
The others said, “Who are you talking about? Who was that man?”
The latecomer replied, “You mean you don’t know? That was John D. Rockefeller. His yacht is in our harbor. Didn’t you get his help?”
Now, John D. Rockefeller happened to be one of the richest men in the world at the time. So someone cried out in despair, “No, we didn’t get his help, because we didn’t know who he was.” (Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, #4162)
My dear friends, God often shows up in our lives, and in our church meetings, desiring to help us and bless us richly. But so often, we ignore Him like some “ignorant tourist” and miss out on the blessing, because we don’t recognize who He is.
Oh, if only we had a way to recognize the presence of God. If only we knew what His face looked like, then we wouldn’t miss out on so much that He has to offer.
Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Genesis 33, Genesis 33, where our friend, Jacob, sees the face of God. He had been wrestling with God all night, but it was dark so Jacob couldn’t see very clearly. Then the sun rises, and Jacob sees God’s face in the full light of day. What does he see?
Genesis 33:1 – “Jacob looked up and there was Esau…” Jacob sees the face of God on his brother, Esau.
Genesis 33:1-3 Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two maidservants. He put the maidservants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. (NIV)
Jacob is still not sure how his brother, Esau, is going to respond – in anger or with a warm welcome. So he lines his family up, in order of importance to him, from the least to the most important. He puts his beloved, Rachel, in the safest place – last, behind everybody else, and Jacob himself bows before his brother 7 times! 20 years previously, Jacob stole Esau’s right to be lord and master of the family through trickery and deceit. Now, Jacob behaves as if Esau IS his lord and master, hoping to appease his anger.
Genesis 33:4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. (NIV)
Esau was not angry. He was happy to see his brother, and together they weep tears of joy!
Genesis 33:5-7 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.” Then the maidservants and their children approached and bowed down. Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down. Last of all came Joseph and Rachel, and they too bowed down. (NIV)
Esau meets all of Jacob’s family and welcomes them with open arms.
When Jacob sees the face of God, he sees the face of his brother full of forgiveness and love. And that’s what we will see when we see the face of God. Dear friends, if you’re looking for the face of God…
LOOK FOR THE FACE OF FORGIVENESS in your brother.
Notice the countenance of mercy. See the face of pardon. For when God shows up, brothers and sisters forgive one another, because that is the nature of God Himself.
That is Jesus dying on a cross for our sins, saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” That is God removing our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.
Psalm 103 says, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:10-12, NIV).