Monday, August 24, 2020

Seeking God’s Face (In the Face of Jesus Christ)

So many things came together in my time alone with God in his word and prayer. Here’s the background story along with a few treasures I found in the quarry.

For our home church, this summer has been quite active, but with a number of weekends we were not together for our usual Sunday morning church fellowships. Because of that, I had extended opportunities to meditate on the next Scriptures we were coming to in our journey through Hebrews 11. Our series on, “By Faith”, has been so illuminating.

This has also meant that I have had opportunity to explore many other Scriptures that helped me personally with my own journey of faith, always in direct association with things I was going through, and things God was doing in me.

In the first six verses of Hebrews 11, we have the introduction to what it means to live “by faith”. For the rest of our journey through this chapter, I am going to use the summary of vs 6 that I shared yesterday in my home church message, and consider how it is expressed by everyone that exemplifies faith (including me!).

Summary: “Faith draws near to God, believing him and seeking him.”[1]

When I put this beside verse 2, “For by it (faith) the people of old received their commendation,” I get this clarification: the faith that commended all the people listed in Hebrews 11 was the kind of faith that draws near to God believing him about who he is and how he relates to his people, and seeking him above anything he might give along the way.

Noah is the next example of faith we are coming to, and one expression stands out already: “reverent fear”.[2] We know what it is like to be so afraid of people that we will not do the will of God. I want to see how Noah’s faith in God gave him such a reverent fear of the Creator that he was not afraid of people. 

As I continued meditating on God’s word, this Scripture stood out:

You have said, “Seek my face.”

My heart says to you,

    “Your face, Yahweh, do I seek.”[3]

I often find myself talking to people about attachment stuff, and how children are always referencing to us to see if we are watching them. Children who reference and keep seeing no response, or a negative-emotion response, either turn off their attachment-light because it hurts too much, or they keep it on in the hope that one day they will look up and see someone smiling at them.[4]

However, as I have seen proven time-and-again in our daycare, when children reference to us and consistently see us smiling at them in return, their attachments become very healthy in a people-focused way. For them, referencing becomes a good thing, and so they continue to relate that way.

Now, look at what God says to his children: “seek my face”. Where do children look when they are referencing? At our faces. Which part of our faces do they focus on? Our eyes. What do they want to see in our eyes? The joyful sparkle of love.

Why do we need to have a faith that believes God rewards those who seek him?[5]

Because, if we believe that looking at God’s face will prove we are unlovable, will prove we are worthless, will prove there is never any hope of seeing a smile on his face, we will stop referencing to him and will go reference to BEEPS that make us feel something good.[6]

On the other hand, when we are convinced of God’s love for us and our incredible worth to him, we love to be in his word and prayer to reference to him. We know that whatever is on his mind is for our good, whatever he has to say is for our good, whatever he is doing is for the fullness of our joy, and that is why we want to keep being in his presence.

What is the “reward” for seeking God’s face?[7] Answer: the experience of the joyful sparkle of love in his eyes. As the psalmist wrote, “Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!”[8] In Hebrew parallelism, a shining face equated with steadfast love, and making God’s face shine upon his servant was equated with God saving the servant he loved.[9]

Even when God’s people rebelled, replaced him with other gods, and flaunted their adulterous idolatry in his face, when God sent them into his discipline, the hope he set before them was, “’In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,’ says Yahweh, your Redeemer.”[10] 

In other words, God hiding his face from his children in discipline is the worst attachment-pain we can experience, but he keeps promising that his everlasting love will again express compassion because his intention always is to have his joy in us and our joy filled to the full.[11]

Here is one further evidence that God wants us looking into his face to see the blessing of his love and joy shining down on us. When God instructed Aaron and his sons to speak blessing over the people of God, this is what he told them to say:

Yahweh bless you and keep you;

Yahweh make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

Yahweh lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.[12]

God wants us to reference to him and see the only true God who is eager to bless us and sustain us. He wants us to reference to him and see his face shining upon us in outpourings of grace and mercy. He wants us referencing to him so that his countenance would be lifted up above everything we are going through, and we would experience his peace that surpasses all understanding guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.[13]

It is a fitting application of the “by faith” journey of Hebrews 11 that we would acknowledge God’s invitation to, “Seek my face,” with us giving the affirmative response, “My heart says to you, ‘Your face, Yahweh, do I seek.’”

And this is how God encourages us to continue taking this to heart:

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.[14]

And, with that in mind,

“My heart says to you, our Father in heaven, ‘Your face, O God, in the face of Jesus Christ your Son, do I seek!’”


© 2020 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

[1] See Hebrews 11:6

[2] Hebrews 11:7

[3] Psalm 27:8

[4] I am indebted to Jim Wilder for teaching me the metaphor of an attachment-light. It illustrates how our referencing to one another is like turning on an attachment-light that is looking to see how others are responding. In healthy relationships, we turn on our attachment-light whenever someone comes into our space. We want them to see that we are glad to see them (remember, I said “healthy” relationships!). When children learn early on that people are not happy to see them, some turn off their attachment-light in the hopelessness that attachment will never happen. Others (like me) leave their attachment-lights on every waking moment in the hope that, one day, their attachment-radar will actually see someone happy to see us.

[5] Again referring to Hebrews 11:6

[6] Jim Wilder is the one who introduced me to the anacronym, BEEPS, which stands for Behaviors, Experiences, Events, People and Substances we turn to for our happiness because we have not yet learned how to attach to God for our joy. If you do not attach to God as your source of good news of great joy, be assured that you do have BEEPS to address. Thankfully, God’s attachment light is on still inviting us to look into his face and see the love and acceptance we are looking for elsewhere.

[7] Based on Hebrews 11:6 identifying the necessity of believing that God rewards those who seek him.

[8] Psalm 31:16

[9] Hebrew poetry is often characterized with “rhyming thoughts” rather than rhyming words. All through the Psalms and Proverbs there are expressions of this where one thing is stated in two synonymous ways, or, sometimes, in opposite ways that also say the same thing.

[10] Isaiah 54:8 (replacing, “the LORD”, with “Yahweh,” since the original refers to God’s name, not his title).

[11] Jesus says this in John 15:11, but it is all through Scriptures that God made us for the same joyful love-relationships the Triune share among themselves.

[12] Numbers 6:24-26 (again, using the personal name “Yahweh” instead of the title, “the LORD” since God was deliberately putting his name over his people in opposition to the names of the gods they would be tempted to idolize)

[13] The blessing of Numbers 6:24-26 weaves together with the encouragement of Philippians 4:4-9 very well.

[14] II Corinthians 4:6

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

God's Determination to Bring us Home

I share from my time in the word and prayer for these two aims: first, that what I experienced of God this morning would encourage you in how you could experience him as well. Second, that you would be encouraged to get into God’s word and prayer for your own daily experience of God speaking to you, showing you what he is doing, and leading you to join him in his work. 

I started here: 

“Thus says Yahweh who made the earth, Yahweh who formed it to establish it – Yahweh is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”[1] 

The primary focus was the wonder that Yahweh keeps urging an idolatrous and adulterous people to call on him so he can show them his goodness. He WANTS these sinful prodigals to come home and can hardly wait for someone to take him up on his invitation. 

To show that this is for us as much as Israel, God includes a parallel expression in the book of James: 

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.[2] 

This is addressing the church as an “adulterous people” who preferred being “a friend of the world” and an “enemy of God” to knowing God as Father, Savior and Friend.[3] 

Again, the fact that this is in God’s Book means it is God initiating restored relationship with people who were committing adultery against their relationship with him by giving their attention to a love-relationship with the world instead of a love-relationship with God. 

Which brings me back to the central text of this last month or so: 

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”[4] 

Without faith, we have no desire to draw near to God, so we can’t please him because we don’t want to be with him. And, while he looks on us in our idolatry (we have so many other things we turn to), he gives us the whole chapter 11 of Hebrews to show us how much better it is to walk with him by faith. 

Which reminded me of one more verse God ministered to my heart this week: 

I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am Yahweh your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. (Exodus 6:7) 

God constantly showed his people his supremacy over the gods of the nations. In this case, he announced to Moses and the people that he would “take” Israel out of Egypt. None of the Egyptian gods would be able to stop him, and Pharaoh himself would not be able to stand in his way. 

The aim in this was that God’s people would “know that I am Yahweh your God”. They didn’t know him that way because the whole generation had grown up in Egyptian slavery with no evidence of the activity of God among them. But when they finally cried out to Yahweh for help, God acted on the covenant he had made with Abraham their father, just as he promised. 

Together, all these things urge me to trust the Only True God, Yahweh, through faith in his Only True Son, Jesus, no matter how many powers or names or governments seek to stand against them. I only have to call out to God our Father in heaven through faith in Jesus and the Triune God will lead me into the wonders of their will and their work. 

And that is exactly why I feel I have something to share today.


© 2020 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)  

[1] Jeremiah 33:2-3 (I use “Yahweh” instead of “the LORD” since God is very deliberately giving us his personal name, not a title).

[2] James 4:7-8

[3] James 4:1-6

[4] Hebrews 11:6

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Calling God by Name

For a few days I have focused on this verse from Psalm 31: Be gracious to me, O Yahweh, for I am in distress…”[1]

I began the morning relating to Father about how strongly he tells us to use his divine name, “Yahweh”.[2] The replacement of this name with a title, “the LORD”, just doesn’t communicate the same thing.[3]

In something that felt like divine humor (and love), I noticed that the verse of the day was: 

“Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it – the LORD is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”[4]

When we replace the repetition of, “the LORD”, with the best English pronunciation of the divine name, “Yahweh”, it would read: 

“Thus says Yahweh who made the earth, Yahweh who formed it to establish it – Yahweh is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

Israel and Judah kept falling into the deception that any god/idol was better than following their God. All the gods had names (Baal, Asherah, Chemosh, Dagon, etc). So did the only true God. The name he kept telling his people to use was, Yahweh (as it would have sounded in Hebrew, that is).  

When we read these words given through the prophets, and we use the divine name as it was expressed by God himself, what we then “hear” is the God named Yahweh calling to the people HE created, the people living on the planet HE made, the people HE told Abraham he was making for himself, the people HE delivered out of Egypt, the people HE led into the Promised Land, the people HE blessed as promised when they kept the covenant and HE cursed as promised when they turned away from it, and urging them to return to HIM from their ignorant idolatry and adultery with false gods with manmade names.

I was deeply touched when I read through Jeremiah 33 with this focus on God repeating his personal name to emphasize what HE was doing in contrast to the empty and meaningless relationship with the gods his people had turned to.

I do not believe the issue is whether we can pronounce the name of the one true God perfectly. When God dispersed people at Babel with many different languages that have morphed and mutated since then, he also made the way for his name to be pronounced in every language. He has never put the emphasis on whether we have the exactly right pronunciation in English of the name originally given to God’s people in Hebrew. His point has always been that he has a name, and that name is the name of the only true God who created the heavens and the earth.

This is only an illustration, but over the years of helping my wife with her daycare, it has been a delight to me when little toddlers first begin using my name. They never say it perfectly the first time they use it. In fact, often it includes letters that aren’t even in my name. However the say it, as soon as we recognize that they are attempting to say my name, it is a definite sense of attachment that they know who I am. 

I simply suggest that God giving us his name allows for the same delight on God’s part when people from every nation of the world use his personal name however it sounds in their language or dialect.

Which brings us to this wonderful gift of the New Testament: 

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.[5]

The HIM here is Jesus. God the Father, after Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, “highly exalted” his Son. And, at the same time, he gave his Son, Jesus, “the name that is above every name”.

What is that name that was given to Jesus? What is the name at which “every knee should bow”? What is the name people will hear in the coming of Christ that will cause every tongue that has ever worshipped any of the gods of Satan to now “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”?

John gives us the answer in Revelation: “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”[6] This is the name that is above every other name.

This is why Jesus alone, “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”[7]

This is why the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders sing a new song to Jesus, 

“Worthy are you to take the scroll

    and to open its seals,

for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God

    from every tribe and language and people and nation,

and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,

    and they shall reign on the earth.”[8]

This is why, “myriads and myriads and thousands of thousands” of angels join in with a loud voice, 

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might

and honor and glory and blessing!”[9]

And it is why, “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them,” testified, 

“’To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb

be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’ 

And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.” 

And, finally, it is at this great and glorious name that, 

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?”[10] 

The emphasis to Israel two-plus millennia ago is the same as to us today: Yahweh is calling to our hearts to call to HIM instead of to any other gods by any other names. 

Our God has the only name of the only true God who is the only one who created the heavens and the earth and the only one who gave us his only Son to save us from our sin so we would follow HIM, the only name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.[11] 

The only true God, Yahweh, wants us to know him by his NAME, in the NAME of his Son, and to KNOW him by his name! 

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.[12]


© 2020 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)



[1] Psalm 31:9.

[2] The English transliteration, “Yahweh”, is an attempt to pronounce the divine name given in Hebrew as, “יהוה” (read right to left). This is parallel to the English consonants, YHWH (read left to right). Pronounced with vowels this gives us “Yahweh”. The English name, “Jehovah”, is another attempt to sound the four Hebrew consonants with suggested vowel sounds. The point is that this is the name God gave his people to use, and the habit of translating, “the LORD”, instead of, “Yahweh,” or even, “Jehovah”, waters down the intensity of God’s focus on his real name.

[3] Any time we see “the LORD” (all CAPS) in our English translations of the Old Testament, it is where God spoke his name, Yahweh, to his people.

[4] Jeremiah 33:2-3

[5] Philippians 2:9-11

[6] Revelation 19:16 (see also Revelation 17:14 and I Timothy 6:11-16 where vs 15 introduces this title).

[7] Revelation 5:5

[8] Revelation 5:6-10

[9] Revelation 5:11-12

[10] Revelation 6:15-17

[11] Acts 4:12

[12] John 17:3