Genesis: Under The Radar – Part 11 “Like seeing the face of God…” Genesis 33:1-20 November 19th, 2017
I. Some WATER under the BRIDGE. (Gen. 27:41-45; Gen 32)
A. THINGS haven’t IMPROVED in 20 years? (Gen. 27:41-45)
B. Gifts to SMOOTH things OVER. (32:1-21)
C. Jacob’s PAINFUL God ENCOUNTER. (32:22-32)
It’s only been a week since we’ve looked at the life of Esau, but we pick up our text today 20 years later. Both Jacob and Esau have established themselves, but God calls Jacob to return. There is obviously some fear and trepidation in that process. 20 years of not talking can leave a lot of questions hanging in the air.
1. Think about who you were 20 years ago. In what ways have you changed? What caused those changes?
2. What do you think about Jacob’s sending the gifts ahead to smooth things over? Good idea? Manipulation?
3. When have you “wrestled” with God about something? What was that like? How has it shaped you?
II. The REUNION Jacob had FEARED. (33:1-20)
A. Jacob’s FEARFUL HUMILITY. (32:1-33:3)
B. Esau’s WARM ACCEPTANCE. (33:4-15)
C. Yet Jacob KEEPS his DISTANCE. (33:16-20)
Turns out the reunion wasn’t what Jacob had feared. If anything, it goes amazingly well. We see Jacob completely humble and contrite, which is a nice change from what we’ve seen in the past. And Esau seems to have let all his vengeance go. He calls Jacob “brother’ and seems truly happy to see him. Jacob is thankful to God, but still hesitant to jump in with both feet.
4. What is Jacob communicating with his “blessing” of Esau? Is there a difference between this type of humility (out of fear) and real humility?
5. What surprises you about Esau? When have you pre-judged someone based on what they did in the past? How can you keep your heart open to people as they are in the present?
6. Why does Jacob not go with Esau? Was that a wise move? Look through the text and see if there are other reasons he didn’t go to Seir?
III. SEEING God in ESAU? (33:11; Luke 15:20)
A. God shows HIMSELF in UNLIKELY places. (33:11; I Kings 19:11-13)
B. Jacob has RUN AWAY. (Gen 28:10; Gen 3:10)
C. He WANTS to RETURN…. (Gen 31:3)
D. …but on his OWN TERMS. (Gen. 32:3-21; Is 64:6; Eph. 2:8-10)
What? Esau is not the example of God here is he? Isn’t he the impetuous irrational child we saw last week? Looks like God has done something in him, something that causes Jacob to say that seeing Esau’s face was like looking into the face of God. Even the wording used to describe Esau when he sees Jacob seems to remind us of another story…
7. When has God shown you Himself in a way that surprised you? Who is your “Esau”? Are you open to God teaching you through that person?
8. Do you think that we often try to work for God or please God on our own terms? Why does that happen?
IV. Responding to the FACE of GOD. (Ps. 105:4)
A. PROTECTING myself or RECEIVING grace? (Gal. 1:10; Col. 3:3)
B. Walking WITH or maintaining a safe DISTANCE? (v.12-15; Mk. 3:14; Mt. 28:20)
C. Hiding TRUTH or living HONESTLY? (v.12-20; Heb. 4:12-16)
How do we respond when we see the face of God in a place that we didn’t expect it? Can we let go of all that we are trying to do to get through this situation safely and let God run to us, embrace us, walk with us? Sometimes receiving is hard to do.
9. “Nothing you can do will make God love you any more. Nothing you can do will make God love you any less.” What is your reaction to that statement? Do you believe it to be true? If so, do your actions, thoughts, and feelings reflect it?
10.What area of your life do you need to receive grace in right now?
11. How do we keep God at a safe distance? How can we stop doing that?