Genesis 33 — Embracing Those Who Wrong You

by | Sep 24, 2020

READ Genesis 33

But Esau ran to meet him, hugged him, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. Then they wept. (Genesis 33:4)

One of the more heartbreaking stories in the Bible has to do with two brothers, Jacob and Esau. They were twins that had a major falling out when Jacob, the younger brother, deceived Esau, the older brother, and robbed him of his inheritance (Gen. 27). However, in Genesis 33, having spent years apart the brothers are finally united. Jacob was returning home without knowing exactly how things with his brother would turn out. The last time Jacob was near Esau, Esau wanted to kill him (Gen. 27:41). Despite Jacob’s fears when he returned, “Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept” (Gen. 33:4). This was a sign of their reconciliation.

Having understood his own sin Jacob offers gifts to Esau but Esau tells him that he has enough. That’s when Jacob responds with these words, “No, please… accept my present from my hand. For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me” (Genesis 33:9). In the previous chapter he declares, “I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered” (Gen. 32:30). So how is seeing Esau like seeing God? It is like seeing God because Jacob had wronged Esau and he recognizes that Esau is right to be angry, but rather than remain angry and punish his brother, Esau graciously embraces his brother. It makes me think about ways that we can display God to people. We display God to the world when we, like Esau, embrace and forgive those who have wronged us.

Now this is not the climax of the story. If you continue in the Bible you find that not all is completely well between Jacob and Esau and their offspring. However, in this little sliver of Scripture, we get a hint at something that all of us need. All believers are recipients of undeserved grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that Christ died while we were still in sin (Rom. 5:6-8). Now, every time someone wrongs us we do not need to see that as a time to seek revenge but rather an opportunity to show the same kind of grace that God showed us.

Get Daily Boost posts in your inbox