In Genesis chapter 33, Jacob is very fearful at the thought of meeting his brother, Esau. After all, Jacob had cheated his brother out of his birthright and his blessing, and now Esau had the power and right to make Jacob pay for all he had done.
Then comes the moment of truth, as Jacob sees his brother Esau in the distance running toward him. Jacob assumes his life is over and braces for Esau’s anger. But Esau, his judge, and jury, receives Jacob with open arms and a heart of forgiveness. Jacob had braced for the worse only to receive the best.
The same was true for the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. The prodigal son threw away his life and his father’s inheritance on partying and despicable things. Finally, when he had nothing left, he left the far country and came home, ashamed and embarrassed. He deserved the father’s worst but received the father’s best. He deserved the father’s lash but received the father’s love.
We, like Jacob and the prodigal son, have done our own thing. We have hurt others, been selfish and demanding, and we deserve the worst. But when we humble ourselves, leave our far country, confess our wrong, and ask for mercy, we will receive God’s best…not His worst. Though we deserve judgment, we receive mercy. Though we deserve death, we receive life. When we are willing to trust our lives to Christ, we become family. We’re no longer the enemy. (Gal. 3:26-29) (Gal. 4:6-7) (Eph. 1:5-8)
Does the thought of facing God raise your fear or your faith? If you will come to God and submit yourself to Him, He will receive you with open arms and an open heart.
Bret Legg is the Teaching and Counseling Pastor at Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, GA.