The Face of God!

Meeting of Jacob and Esau (1844) Pinacoteca To...

Today, I sat down to read my Bible.  Day 11 of my “Read through the Bible in a Year” plan.  The plan starts in the book of Genesis which seems to me to be a pretty logical place to start.  I have been blown away at many spots about God’s interaction with man.  The relationship God wants to have with us is pretty special.  Today I read Genesis 31-33.  We’re really starting to get to the heart of some of the Patriarchs and some of the greatest stories of faith in all of Scripture in these chapters.  Joseph’s story is just around the corner and I can’t wait to read it again.

I digress.  In Genesis 33, there is a verse that reached up and slapped me in the face.  I mean that in the best way possible.  In this chapter, there is a reunion of two brothers, Jacob & Esau.  It’s a beautiful reunion after an ugly break up around 20 years earlier.  Jacob had stolen Esau’s birthright and the last time they talked, Esau had committed his life to killing Jacob.  Now, Jacob was going back home with his family; wife, children, servants and animals.  Their reunion is one of the heart-warming stories of the Bible, full of restoration, forgiveness and love.

Verse 11 really got me thinking.  It says…

But Jacob insisted, ‘No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me.  And what a relief to see your friendly smile.  It is like seeing the face of God!’

The night before, Jacob had wrestled with “God.”  In fact, after the wrestling match, God renamed Jacob, Israel because he had fought with God and men and had won.  Jacob, now Israel, named that place, Peniel, which means, ‘face of God.’  To me, that’s fascinating.

This made me ask myself the question, “When people see me, what do they see?”

Seriously, when people see us (followers of Christ) coming toward them, what do they think?  Are they excited because we are coming?  Do they see us and light up because they know they are going to have a positive encounter with someone when life is tough?  Or do they look at us and think, “Oh crap, not him/her again”?

What face do we give to people?  How are we helping them see God in the way we live and in the very smile on our face?

Does the waitress go home sad because of her encounter with you?

Does the flight attendant have to send someone else because of your bad attitude?

Do your co-workers dread sitting next to you in a meeting?

What face are we giving God?  Because when we say we believe in God and that we are Christians, then we follow that up with anger, bitterness, an unforgiving spirit or a constant frown and pessimism.  And when people make that connection, how does that change their view of God?

I have more questions probably than answers, but this verse really got me thinking.  I want people to see God in me.  When I come into Starbucks, I want the workers to be excited that I’m there.  When I walk into church, I want people to see me and feel glad that I work with them.  I want friends who are hurting to be able to see me coming toward them and know that they are going to get a dose of encouragement and love.  When I come home at night, I want my wife to smile.  I want my kids to meet me at the door with hugs.  I want them to feel that when dad comes home, when hubby comes home, then so does a piece of God.

Maybe we all need to think about what impression of God we are giving off.  Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way.  But when two brothers, estranged for 20 years, threats of murder the last time they talked, can see each other for the first time and proclaim, “Your smile is like the face of God,” how much more should we be the face of God to people in our broken world.

What do you think?

Examples I missed?

What would you add?


About Stan Rodda

Follower. Husband. Father. Shepherd. Apostle. Husker.

Posted on January 11, 2011, in bible, disciplines, Family, God, Jesus, Life, love, marriage, outreach, relationships, social settings, the basics, the culture, the nation, the world. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Reading this makes me want to share something with you that recently happened to me that I was very excited about! As you probably know I had a dear friend pass away and I had put on my facebook about how sad I was. A girl that I am acquaintances with wrote me, she had lunch this summer with my dear friend and she wanted to tell me how he talked highly of me and how much he believed in me. This time last year, I was at the lowest of low’s. Wasn’t sure I had the will or strength to pull myself out of it, God intervened and saved me in several ways! 🙂 Anyway, during her letter to me she contuined to tell me how strong I had become and she could see the changes in me. But also, that I was the kind of person that made this world worth living in. I don’t know about you but that’s about as high of a compliment as you can get!! I was floored and humbled that someone would think so highly of me! I am the opposite of the “ideal” christian. God knows my heart, and understands my struggles and still wants me. So the whole point in me sharing this is, Yes I think people see God in you and know when your around they get to be a little closer to God thru you. I don’t even know you at all except for FB and twitter and I feel that way. It’s why I read your blog, it’s insightful and thought provoking. So thank you for writing it.

    • Wow, Jaime. Thank you so much for sharing that. I really appreciate the compliment. And I’m sorry for your loss. Misty spoke very highly of Casey and was very sad about his passing as well. Thanks again for sharing.

  2. I hope and pray that when people meet me they walk away with a different tone to their mood and look on their face. I want them to know that I am a generous tipper and i appreciate what they have done. Plain and simple: without a spoken word i want people to know I have been with jesus. Good thoughts Stan. Did this read through last year.

  3. I’m an extreme introvert, so I set the bar low for myself! I try to leave everyone feeling as if I was actually IN a conversation with them, not just another guy going through his day on autopilot! I do my best to just look people in the eye and use their name at least once. (I keep a name-list in my phone of random people I run in to, like waitresses, baristas, bank tellers, etc)
    If it’s an actual conversation I avoid “boxed” responses, like saying I’m doing “fine”, or I’m “keeping busy”, or ever mentioning the weather.. nothing makes an encounter more meaningless than small-talk. It’s also one of my new years “goals” to say something personal and positive to everyone I talk to, and to never again say anything negative about anyone unless it’s in a Godly and constructive way… it’s sounds commonsense, but complaining is a pretty easy trap to fall into!

  4. Well written. This is so much of the reason I have chosen the word “Joy” as my theme for 2011. I can be so incredibly negative and suspect that I often leave people feeling worse, not better, after they’ve been with me. I’m praying for more joy in my life, so I can have a more positive impact on people, especially my family.

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