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

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