“The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them: 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 shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”—Numbers 6:22-27
What a difference “face time” makes! Today in business, networking by using Skype is preferable to connecting by telephone because you can see each other. Facebook has transformed social media because people want to connect with their friends more directly. Emails are helpful but impersonal; Facebook is more direct; but Skype enables the parties to connect with direct facial representation. Of course, even such communication is no substitute for direct face-to-face time in the presence of one another.
Just so, we should all desire “face time” with God. Daniel Henderson writes, “The idea of God’s face is one of the most powerful, life-changing themes of the Bible.” And indeed it is. When we study the word “face” as used in Scripture, it means “the representation of the real essence or character of a person.” No wonder we’re encouraged to seek God’s face as Moses did on Mount Sinai. And, because face-to-face encounters are the most intimate, every believer anticipates the day when we shall see Jesus “face-to-face.”
Sin causes us to hide our faces from God (as Adam and Eve did); and we read that God is spoken of as “hiding His face” from His people when they refused to turn away from their sin in order to pursue Him (e.g. Psalm 13:1). We have the same teaching in the New Testament: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).
God asked Moses to pray that His people might be blessed with the highest honor, namely, to have His face “shine upon them.” With this, they could endure adversity; they could resist temptation; and they would not fear, for they would be enjoying the very face (presence) of God.
Today, we’re invited to seek God’s face. “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore!” (1 Chronicles 16:11). Let us respond, “When you said, ‘Seek My face’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, LORD, I will seek’” (Psalm 27:8). So let us seek His face, and in this way “put His name” on ourselves and others, just as Moses was invited to do.
Let Us Pray
Father, I come to You without a prayer list. I come simply to seek Your face, to seek intimacy with You, to be in Your presence, and to enjoy Your company. Reveal any sin in my life that interferes with “face-to-face” fellowship. Grant me the grace to be open with You, hiding nothing, but enveloped by Your grace and love.
I pray for ______ that they might seek Your face and not just Your hand. Reveal to them the importance of coming before You in openness and honesty, desiring to have fellowship with You, and to rejoice in Your favor. Give them the deep conviction that seeking You is their first and highest priority, the source of all blessing and the very reason for our existence.
Help them to confess the sins that stand in the way of open communion in Your blessed presence. In this way I “put Your name on _______.”
In Jesus’ name, Amen.