Who Kissed Me?
January 25th, 1989 @ 7:30 PM
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1-25-89 7:30 p.m.
And once again, welcome to the throngs of you who share this hour on radio. We welcome you now as a part of our dear First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message entitled Who Kissed Me? It’s not as bizarre as you might think. Who Kissed Me?
In the twenty-seventh chapter of the Book of Genesis – and on Wednesday night, we’re preaching through the Book of Genesis – in the twenty-seventh chapter of the Book of Genesis, beginning at verse 24:
And Isaac said, "Art thou my very son Esau?" And he said, "I am."
And he said, "Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee." And he brought it near to him, and he did eat; and he brought him wine and he drank.
And his father said unto him, "Come near now and kiss me, my son."
And he came near and kissed him; and Isaac smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him and said: "See, the smell of my son Esau is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed;"
And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.
And he also had made savory meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, "Let my father arise and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me."
And Isaac his father said unto him, "Who art thou?" And he said, "I am thy son, thy firstborn, Esau."
And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, "Who? Where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it to me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him?"
And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, "Bless me too, oh, my father."
"Who kissed me?" The kiss: nashaq. In the poetic imagery of the Old Testament, you will meet it frequently. In Ezekiel 3:13: "The wings of the cherubim tenderly touch each other." Nashaq: they kissed each other. In Psalm 85:10: "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." In Proverbs 24:26: "Every man shall nashaq, kiss his lips, that giveth the right answer."
There is a poetic description from the Talmud. It is found in the Midrash on the death of Moses. The Midrash in closing Deuteronomy says, "Moses died with the kiss of God upon his lips." What a beautiful way to say it. God kissed his breath away. But mostly, nashaq as we know it, is a tender caress with the lips.
The first time it is used in the Bible is in the passage we have just read: "Come near, my son, and kiss me, and he came near and kissed him" [Genesis 27:26]. And here in this story is a strong, strange illustration of the two-fold meaning of the kiss. It can be a kiss of deception, or it can be a kiss of deepest love and blessing and commitment.
First, in the Bible, the false and tragic employment of the kiss. It can be an artful token of the hypocrite, the seducer, feigning a false love. In the tragic story of Absalom, the beloved son of David, in 2 Samuel 15:5-6 Absalom receives and kisses the men of Israel as they come to David for judgment. "So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel."
Again, in 2 Samuel 20:9-10, Joab, the captain of the host of David, kisses Amasa who’s the captain of the army of Absalom that has rebelled against David; and as he kissed Amasa, he ran his sword through his body and slew him.
In Proverbs 7, the entire chapter, the seventh chapter of Proverbs, is a description of the tempting ways of the harlot, the prostitute: "So she caught him and kissed him" [Proverbs 7:13]. In Matthew 26:48: "Now he that betrayed Jesus, Judas, gave them a sign, saying, ‘Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He; hold Him fast.’ And forthwith he came to Jesus and said, ‘Hail, master!’ and kissed Him" [Matthew 26:48-].
It is also a sign of the worship of idols. In 1 Kings 19:18, God says to Elijah, "Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees who have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him." And in Hosea 13:2, speaking of Israel: "They sin more and more. They make molten images of silver and idols . . . and they say of them, ‘Let the men that sacrifice kiss these calf images!’"
Have you ever been to the Vatican in Rome? Have you ever been in St. Peter’s great cathedral? Right there before the center of the high altar is a statue, a seated statue of Peter; and in the statue, why, his big toe hangs over the base like that. And they have kissed that big toe so many times that they’ve worn it away, and they keep replacing the big toe on that statue so the people can come and kiss it away. Sounds like what they were doing in the Old Testament before the idols.
But it is also a token of true and beautiful and tender love, personal affection, and endearment. In Genesis 29:11: "And Jacob kissed Rachel" and served seven years for her [Genesis 29:11, 18-20]; and when Laban deceived him and gave him Leah, he served seven more years just for Rachel [Genesis 29:20-30]. Fourteen years he served for Rachel and kissed her. In the Song of Solomon, the first chapter, verse 2: "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth – for thy love is better than wine."
Do you remember, you kids who have studied English, do you remember the beautiful poem by Robert Browning, "Summum Bonum" – "The highest joy, the highest gladness, the highest good"?
All the breath and the bloom of the year in the bag of one bee:
All the wonder and wealth of the mine in the heart of one gem:
In the core of one pearl all the shade and the shine of the sea:
Breath and bloom, shade and shine, – wonder, wealth and – how far above them –
Truth, that’s brighter than gem,
Trust, that’s purer than pearl, –
Brightest truth, purest trust in the universe, – all were for me
In the kiss of one girl.
["Summum Bonum," Robert Browning]
It’s also a sign of family love. Genesis 45, verse 15: "Moreover, he," Joseph, "kissed all of his brethren and wept upon them" when they had their reconciliation in Egypt. In Luke 15:20, the story of the prodigal son: "And the prodigal arose and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion on him, and ran and put his arms around him and kissed him."
It’s also a sign of faithful friendship. In Exodus 18:7: "And Moses went out to meet his father-in-law," Jethro, for whom he worked forty years "and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare." In 1 Samuel 10:1: "Then Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it upon young Saul’s head, and kissed him and said: ‘It is because the Lord hath made thee captain over his inheritance.’" And in 2 Samuel 19:39: "And all the people went over Jordan. And when the king was come over, the king kissed aged Barzillai who had taken care of him in his refuge [2 Samuel 17:27-29], and blessed him, and he returned to his own place."
The kiss is also a farewell in life. In Genesis 31:55: "And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and returned to his place" after they built that heap called Mizpah [Genesis 31:43-54], "the Lord watch between me and thee" [Genesis 31:]. And in Ruth 1, verse 9: "Naomi kissed her daughters-in-law, and they lifted up their voice, and wept;" in 14: "And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, Naomi, but Ruth clave unto her" [Ruth 1:14]. The kiss of farewell in 1 Samuel 20:41 – and David and Jonathan "kissed one another, and wept one with the other . . . and Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace’" [1 Samuel 20:41-42]. And in 1 Kings 19, verse 20: "And Elisha ran after Elijah and said, ‘Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee.’"
In Acts 20, verses 36 and 38, one of the prettiest passages in the Bible: "And when Paul had spoken, he kneeled down and prayed with them all. And they wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they see his face no more" [Acts 20:36-38]. It’s just a sign of sweet endearment, and, of course, a farewell in death. In Genesis 50 and verse 1, the last chapter of the book: "And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his physicians to embalm his father. And the physicians embalmed Israel" [Genesis 50:1-2] and took him to Machpelah where he rests today [Genesis 50:13].
Now, last, the kiss is a sign of sweet religious devotion to our Lord. It can be personal. In Psalm 2 that you just read: "Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice in trembling. Kiss the Son – our Savior – lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way . . . Blessed are all they who put their trust in Him" [Psalm 2:11-12]. And in Luke 7:37-38 – I preached on this about a Sunday ago:
Behold, a woman who was a sinner
– who was a prostitute, who was a whore –
she brought an alabaster box of ointment,
And stood at His feet weeping; and began to wash His feet with tears, and to wipe them with the hairs of her head; and kissed His feet and anointed them with the ointment.
And it is as a sacred family in the body of Christ – a sign of Christian charity and loving holiness. You see it so often. Romans 16:16: "Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you." First Corinthians 16:20: "All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with an holy kiss." Second Corinthians 13:12: "Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints salute you" [2 Corinthians 13:12-13]. First Thessalonians :26: "Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss;" and 1 Peter 5:14: "Greet one another with a kiss of charity – agapē, with Christian love – Greet one another with a kiss of agape. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen."
And I conclude. The show of kindness and affection is more dynamic and more powerful to reaching human hearts than all of the doctrine and all of the preaching that we’ll ever, ever be able to expound or to deliver: sweetness, love, affection, kindness. For example, the whole story of Ben Hur – one of the finest novels ever written. The whole story of Ben Hur begins with when he’s being dragged into slavery and to the galley. He meets the Lord Jesus, and Jesus goes out of His way to give him cold water to drink – and he’s so thirsty – and to be sweet and kind to him. That’s the whole story of Ben Hur.
I heard a physician say one time, "I was won to the Lord by the preaching of the gospel and by the loving tender care of this: my father, a beloved physician." I’m not saying anything but what God’s Book repeats. Our sweetness, and our kindness, and our affection, and our personal interest in other people does more to win them to Christ than everything that you’ll ever hear from this pulpit or anything that we’ll ever present as an argument for our Lord.