The AMI QT Devotionals from January 1-7 are provided by Pastor Jason Sato of OTR in Cincinnati. Jason, a graduate of UC San Diego (B.S.) and Westminster Theological Seminary in California (M.Div.), is married to Jessica, and they have three young children: Jonah, Lily, and Ayla (three months old).
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Eyes to See
Genesis 33:1–11 (ESV)
And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two female servants.  And he put the servants with their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last of all.  He himself went on before them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.  But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.  And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.”  Then the servants drew near, they and their children, and bowed down.  Leah likewise and her children drew near and bowed down. And last Joseph and Rachel drew near, and they bowed down.  Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company that I met?” Jacob answered, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.”  But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.”  Jacob said, “No, please, if I have found favor in your sight, then 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.  Please accept my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” Thus he urged him, and he took it.
First, a joyous New Year to all!
Now back to Genesis:
In the movie Liar Liar, Fletcher Reede is a lawyer who lies to everyone – judges, clients, even his own son. But because of his son’s birthday wish, Fletcher is magically unable to lie. Throughout the movie, Fletcher does everything he can to regain his power to lie until he begins to speak about his parenting and blurts out, “I’m a bad father!” It’s the first time he faces the truth about who he is.
The night before a meeting with his brother Esau, Jacob wrestles with God. He leaves this encounter with a permanent limp, the blessing of God, and the truth. Jacob is finally able to acknowledge his sin against God and his brother Esau. Before he fled his home, Jacob had stolen the blessing of his father Isaac from Esau. Isaac had blessed Jacob, saying
May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine…Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. (Genesis 27:28-29)
When Jacob finally sees Esau again, he attempts to return to Esau his stolen blessing. He and his family bow before Esau seven times and insist that Esau receive his livestock as a gift (or blessing). Perhaps Jacob had initially thought to simply avoid Esau’s wrath, but now after his struggle with God, Jacob has a genuine desire to return to Esau what was rightfully his. For Jacob, seeing Esau’s face and righting his past wrongs would right his own wrongs with God.
Certainly Isaac, Rebekah, and Esau had a part to play in the brokenness of the family, but only when Jacob could see himself clearly that his heart and life could change.
Prayer: Search my heart, O God, and grant me grace to bring to You all that I am, the good and the bad. Please forgive me for ways that I have sinned against others in my life. Please bring healing and reconciliation in my broken relationships.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 19:5–10 (ESV): And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”  So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.  And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”  And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”  And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Question to Consider
- What was the crowd’s view of Zacchaeus?
- What was Jesus’s view of Zacchaeus?
- What was Zacchaeus’s response to Jesus’s love?
- The crowd despised Zacchaeus because he exploited his position and power to make himself wealthy.
- Jesus viewed Zacchaeus as a man lost in sin, the kind of person that Jesus came to seek and save.
- Zacchaeus repented, not simply in word but in deed. He willingly made restitution to those he wronged even though it would leave him in poverty.
Reflect on your day. Have you sinned against those around you? How can you act to restore your relationships?