As a child of a Christian, southern, educated, and polite mother, I was raised to have an appreciation for manners, class, dignity and propriety. It was my responsibility to stand when a woman walked into the room, to eat smaller bites and chew with my mouth closed, and to keep my hair combed and shirt tucked in. Additionally, words like “shut up” and “sex” were not to be uttered in public. Another such term was “butt;” such terminology was not to come from the mouth of a refined individual.
So out of respect to my mother, I have entitled this devotional meditation, “Our Gluteus Maximus and the Gaze of God.” And the question I have for all of us is, “When God looks our way, what does he see?”
According to Jeremiah, when God looked towards those in Jerusalem, the view was not so pretty:
For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth. The children of Israel have done nothing but provoke me to anger by the work of their hands, declares the Lord. This city has aroused my anger and wrath, from the day it was built to this day, so that I will remove it from my sight because of all the evil of the children of Israel and the children of Judah that they did to provoke me to anger—their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction. (Jeremiah 32:30-33)
God loved to see his radiant bride coming his way. He loved to look at her face and see her eyes fixed on him. However, such was not the situation in Jeremiah’s neighborhood. Instead of coming towards God, Israel consistently pulled away. Instead of seeing her face, God was forced to behold her backside.
When I take my dog – Shadow – on a walk through our new park, it sure would be fun to see her happy face and enjoy the time. However, this is not normally the case. Instead of walking beside my heel, she pulls, tugs, and seeks to take the lead. Instead of enjoying our time together, I am forced to wrestle, tug, and pull against her choke collar. Due to her lack of discipline and submission, the only view I get on our daily walk is the not so pretty posterior of my dog. Too often, we who are God’s people, are like my dog. We pull, tug, and make our walk with God unenjoyable for him and us. Instead of sweetly submitting and enjoying God’s sovereign will and provision, we buck, resist, and seek to go our own way. In the end, we end up going in his direction, but the walk is weary.
So today, when God looks our way, will he experience submissive love or rebellious tugging? Will he see us coming or going? Will he see our fair face or our not so grand backside? Today, will God’s view be filled with our Regio Facialis or our Gluteus Maximus? Perhaps today we can make it easy on him and us. Perhaps today we can “Turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in his wonderful face.” We will be better off, and our God will be more pleased and honored.