"His Shining Face"
August 10, 2020
God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.
What does it mean to have God's face shine on us? We might imagine the look on the faces of family members as they welcome loved ones who arrive back home, after a long absence. Their love and joy would be evident, shining on their faces, seen in the glance of everyone present. God's shining face is part of the blessing He commanded the priests to use for the people of Israel: "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them" (Numbers 6:24-27). In the light of God's shining face, the people would be blessed and marked with God's Name as His holy people.
To have God's face shine upon you means that He is looking towards you and looking on you with favor. Scripture speaks of those who do not enjoy the blessing of God's shining face, enduring instead His terrible wrath: "The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth" (Psalm 34:16). The prayer in our psalm—that God would be gracious to us, bless us, and make His face shine on us—has already been answered for us, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Even though we did not deserve His love and blessing, God was gracious to us, sending us the gift of His Son to be our Savior. In Christ we know just what it means to have God's face shine upon us.
The favor of God is seen as Jesus fulfilled the purpose for which He had come. "When the days drew near for Him to be taken up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51). As the appointed time of His death was approaching, Jesus turned His face toward the cross. With resolute steps, He walked on to Jerusalem. There He would take onto Himself the burden of the world's sin. The face of God shines on us because on that dark day outside of Jerusalem, the face of God turned away from His suffering Son.
Our psalm asks God to bless us and make His face shine on us. Why? We ask His blessing so that His way "may be known on earth" and His saving power known "among all nations." When God's shining face is turned toward us, we reflect His glory. "They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed" (Psalm 34:5). We reflect God's blessing in acts of love and service. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we proclaim the Good News of God's shining face in Jesus to a world lost in darkness. "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).
THE PRAYER: Almighty God, we live in the shining light of Your love and mercy. Help us by Your Spirit to reflect that light to others. Amen.
1. What do think the face of God looks like?
2. Can you give some examples of God graciousness to you in your life?
3. How can we reflect God's glory to others by the way we live?Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved.
What do think the face of God looks like?