Before the Face of God

God has no feet, no hands, mouth, ears, or eyes. Sure, he presents himself as one with body parts in the scriptures, but he does so to communicate in a manner man can comprehend. God is invisible. He is immaterial. He is like the wind. He is a spirit who has no body like ours. He has no face.

However, in the Old Testament, God occassionally presented himself in human form. Adam and Eve walked with the Son in the Garden. Abraham ate a meal with him on the outskirts of Sodom. Moses and Joshua saw him as the divine warrior. And he showed up and spent some interesting hours with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in a fiery furnace in Babylon.

Then, in the New Testament, God presented himself in human flesh. Jesus added to his divinity a human body, one he would have for all eternity. His face was seen, touched, kissed, bloodied, beaten, pierced, and scarred. Then his face was perfumed, wrapped, and buried. Three days later, his body and face were risen from the grave, and with a special smile on his face he walked on the earth and ministered grace to his disciples. Forty days later, his body and face ascended into heaven, and from the throne above he continues to smile grace on his beloved sons and daughters.

One day, every single individual will see his face, and for some this will be disastrous news. Consider the picture painted by  John in Revelation 6:12-17:

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

However, for others, their situation is quite different. Instead of running from the face of God, they presented as worshipers looking straightway into Christ’s fantastic gaze. John writes of this radiant reality in Revelation 22:1-5:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Friends, in heaven, we will enjoy the Giver and his gifts. Creation will sing his praises, and we will add our voices to that of the new earth. We will be part of the multi-ethic and international choir heralding God’s greatness, and all that was formerly accursed will be no more. Satan, demons, antichrists, rebels, the sinful world, the sinful flesh, sinful consequences, sinful curses, pain, death, tears, excommunication, and hell will be no more. God will remove all this from his and our presence, and we will worship him. His Shekinah Glory will be seen as it was in Creation, at the Burning Bush, on Mt. Sinai, in the Holy of Holies, and on the Mount of Transfiguration. God will be our light, and as we enjoy the bliss of paradise, we “will see his face,” and all will be OK for “his name will be on [our] foreheads.” Yes, we will see his face. We will look into his eyes. And his smile will spur on our reverent, radical, intimate, joyful, holy, and fun worship.

Therefore Christian saints, let this inform how you come to worship today. If you are a perfectly redeemed, justified, and accepted believer (for there is no other sort), do not come cowering into his presence on this day. As a matter of fact, in the book of Hebrews God tells you to come confidently and boldly before him. There is no need for you to be bashful, reserved, or ashamed. Your stiffness is not a sign of mature sainthood. No, be like a child before Abba Father. Remember, you were his enemy, but now you are his friend. You are his little brother. You are his boys and girls, his sons and daughters. You are his bride, and he can’t stop looking your way. You are clothed in his robes of righteousness. You are bedazzled with his merit. Your feet are sanctified by his sandals. Now, you are only perfectly pleasing to him and his Father. His name is tattooed on your foreheads, and it is there with permanent ink. So act like it! Live like it! Worship like it! Rejoice in the Lord today with all your might. Bow your knees and bow your heads. Then stand up tall, lift up your arms, and dance before your beloved. His face is pointed in your direction. His smile goes from ear to ear. He loves to see you as you make much of his loving face.

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The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them. (Numbers 6)

 

 

 

 

 

 


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