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B'resheet/Genesis 32:4 And Ya'akov sent messengers ahead of him to Esav his brother (CJB)
There are some things that can only be done face-to-face. Not by email, nor by telephone or letter; simply face-to-face, in person. One such was the resolution of the conflict between Ya'akov and his brother Esav. Reading both last and this week's parashiyot, we find Ya'akov seeing the face of G-d as he struggles with the Messenger of the L-rd, and seeing the face of G-d in Esav's face. It is mentioned here in this first phrase from the reading, "ahead of him". The Hebrew word literally means 'to his face' and is used in many places in the Hebrew Scriptures to mean 'before' or 'in the presence of' as well as the meaning here.
Sometimes, you have to look someone square in the face before you know exactly who they are or whether they mean what they say. Only when you look them straight in the eye do you feel a level of confidence. Perhaps this was one of the purposes for the event known as the Transfiguration related in the first few verses of Matthew 17. Yeshua took just three talmidim up into a high mountain and there His glory was revealed as He spoke with Moshe and Elijah. Matthew tells us, "He began to change form - His face shone like the sun, and His clothing became as white as light" (Matthew 17:2, CJB). The talmidim saw Yeshua revealed as they saw His face.
Rav Sha'ul points out that this same glory has been placed in each of us, "for G-d, who said, 'Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in each of our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of G-d in the face of Messiah" (2 Corintians 4:6, NASB), and he goes on in the next verse to talk of us as "jars of clay" so that G-d's glory may be seen and recognised for what it is. Not only do we have the light and knowledge in our hearts, but others are to see the face of Messiah in us; when they search our eyes, they are to find Yeshua looking out at them. Yeshua Himself said, "You are the light of the world" (Matt 5:14, CJB) - how is this to be? When other people look intently at us, when they want to know who we really are, whether they can trust what we say, they want to catch our eye, to look as square in the face, to see whether we will engage them without flinching or turning away.
Just as Ya'akov sent messengers ahead of him to Esav, we are the messengers sent ahead by Yeshua to prepare for His coming. What do people see when they look into our eyes?
Further Study: 1 Corinthians 13:12; Matthew 5:14-16
Application: Before we can share the face of G-d with others, we need to know His face for ourselves. Ask G-d today for a fresh revelation of the face of Yeshua in your life and spend those extra few minutes relaxing in His presence and soaking Him into your heart.
© Jonathan Allen, 2003
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