..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Turn Your Face Toward God

"And they have turned unto me the back,
and not the face: though I taught them,
rising up early and teaching them, yet
they have not hearkened to receive instruction."
Jeremiah 32:33.

One of the rudest things we can do to someone
is turn our backs on them when they are
addressing us. Did you know that God has
also suffered this rudeness?

In this passage from the prophet Jeremiah,
God is addressing Israel for her turning
away from Him. He says, "They have turned
their back toward Me." Have you ever
turned your back on God?

We are meant for face-to-face, heart-to-heart
communication with God. We are meant to gaze
into the lovely face of our God without
fear or rebellion. Sadly, in ways either
blatant or subtle, we often turn our backs
on God.

In the garden of Eden, as soon as Adam
sinned, something of this wonderful,
innocent, face-to-face contact was
destroyed. When Adam sinned he was not
willing to look straight into God's
face because he knew that he had done
wrong. Often, in human communication,
when there is something wrong, we are
not able to make eye-to-eye contact
with another for we know that our true
inner state may be revealed. It is no
different with God.

An innocent heart shines out through
an unshaded and unshadowed eye.
How often do we see people wearing
sunglasses to hide the true state of
their eyes! Eyes are, indeed, the
windows of the soul!

Even at this moment, can you look God
directly in the face? Are you able
to meet eye-to-eye? For it is in this
lovely encounter that we find life and
light and all that we need to live.

Whose face can be lovelier than our
God's? Even in the natural realm, we
like to look at lovely faces, but
what is loveliness? If we do not find
God the source of all loveliness we
will not be captivated by His Face.
His face is more beautiful than all
others. May God give us eyes to
see that!

In this verse, God says to Israel,
"You would not turn your face toward
Me, even though I rose up early to
teach you." God makes special efforts
to teach us. He "rises up early" to
meet with us, so should we! He makes
teaching us His priority, we should
make turning our face toward Him our
priority!There is a special benefit
in our "rising up early" to seek the
face of God and there is a special
benefit in "rising up early" in
other ways to seek God.

"Rising up early" contains the
idea of using our time wisely, of
putting God first, of seeking Him
before we seek anything else.
Do we put our seeking of God
before the television, the internet,
social occasions, or interaction with
other people?

How often do we fail to see the benefit
of "rising up early" to look into the
face of God? How often do we neglect
to go out of our way to be taught of
God? How often do we make no special,
committed effort to pursue our God?
What are we thinking!?

Are we afraid that that when God looks
at us, that He will see something He
will not like? Or are we simply
not interested! Dearly beloved, do
not let shame or fear keep you from
looking to the Only One who can help you.

We are all unworthy to look at God
yet God desires that we look
at Him, and has made a way, through
His Son, so that we may look at Him
not in our own righteousness, but
by the righteousness of Christ.
Confess your sins to God, cling
to the righteous robes of Christ,
and you will have access to an
unimpeded view of the very Face of God!

When Moses wanted to see God's face,
God told Him that it was not possible
or he would die. Christ has made a
way for us to look at the face of
God, but this must be spiritually
apprehended. If our flesh where to
look at the Face of God, no doubt
it would still melt! When we look at
God all that is not of Him dies
for we are looking at Holiness Himself!

Our God is a Holy God and as we look at
Him, He begins to burn up the dross
of our fleshliness and our sin. And yet, we
must continue to look at Him, gazing
long and deep into who He is. This
looking at God transforms us in a
way that nothing else can.

David said,"One thing have I desired
of the Lord, that will I also seek
after; that I may dwell in the house of
Lord all the days of my life, to behold
the beauty of the Lord..." (Psalm 27:4).
and "When You have said, 'Seek My Face,'
my heart said to You, 'Your Face, O Lord,
I will seek
'"(Psalm 27:8).

As we turn our face toward God, our face
becomes more like His face. If we turn
our backs on God, we shall turn our
backs on the most lovely One in the world,
and will not be able to receive what God
longs to give us: His fellowship and His
wise instruction.

Do not turn your back on God, but
seek His face and live.

1 comment:

Janice Simms said...

Thank you for confirming the Word. I looked up "turn not your face from me" because God sent his word to our class telling us that during our fast we needed to "set our face for repentence for our sin" and after all of the inclusive things pertaining to that word, he would do some things we have been asking him to do. Your article addressed and confirmed everything we discussed in our 3-1/2 hour meeting.

To God be the Glory!