Psalm 67:1-3 reads,
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
2 that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
To seek God’s face is to pray in order to seek His goodness, His righteousness, His grace and favor so that He might be glorified in our salvation. When David sought the face of the Lord, the Lord revealed the reason behind a famine. 2 Samuel 21:1 reads,
Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the Lord. And the Lord said, “There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.”
The Lord told David what to do, the King did as God commanded and God responded to David’s pleas for the land regarding the famine (2 Samuel 21:14). So seeking God’s face requires meaningful sincere prayer in which we are willing to listen to God’s answer and not just whine. It should be a way of life for us to seek God, not just something we do when bad stuff happens, but continuously. 1 Chronicles 16:8-13 reads,
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
9 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
10 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
11 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
12 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles and the judgments he uttered,
13 O offspring of Israel his servant,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!
Let’s look at some of the aspects of God’s face. God’s face is His glory. He told Moses that whoever looked at His face and saw His glory would die. He allowed Moses to see Him only when He his Moses in a rock, covered him with His hand and allowed him to look at Him after He passed (Exodus 33:20-23). Psalm 16:6-7 describes God’s face as light and goodness giving joy and provision.
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
7 You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
There are numerous verses to describing God’s face as shining. He shines His face upon us when He looks at us. Psalm 67:1, Numbers 6:25-26, and Psalm 31:16 are three of those passages. When God looks at you, Believer, He shines on you; His glory lights you and His joy touches you. He smiles when He sees you. Child of God, He loves you and He has no wrath for you (1 Thessalonians 5:9). God’s presence is a joyful place, even when we are grieving and suffering, God’s face brings us joy in the midst of it. Psalm 16:11 says it this way,
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
What does it mean practically to seek God’s face? Well let’s consider the face. I know the first thing I think of on a face is the eyes. God’s sees you. God looks at the entire earth and He sees what is happening He knows and cares. Deuteronomy 11:12 describes the Promised Land this way,
a land that the Lord your God cares for. The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
God watches and knows the needs of His people. He meets our needs. 2 Chronicles 16:9 a says,
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.
Psalm 34:15 reads,
The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
While God sees us, He hears us as well and praying, crying out to Him is the first thing we can do in seeking His face. 2 Samuel 22:7 says,
In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I called.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry came to his ears.
Believer, praying involves more than speaking; it is not meant to be a one sided conversation. God has a mouth and His Word is powerful. Isaiah 45:22-23 reads,
“Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn;
from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance.”
If you pray, but don’t listen or you hear but do not heed, then why are you praying? What is the good of listening without the faith to follow what He speaks? God’s word is certain, His promises are guaranteed. We can have faith in what He speaks to us. Psalm 89-33-35 encourages us this way,
but I will not remove from him my steadfast love
or be false to my faithfulness.
34 I will not violate my covenant
or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
35 Once for all I have sworn by my holiness;
I will not lie to David.
By His lips and mouth, by the Word God speaks, He imparts His Spirit and His judgement. God’s Word is His will manifested, it is Jesus Christ. Isaiah 11:3-5 reads,
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
And finally James 4:3-10 reminds us why at times it seems like god does not hear us. It is not that He doesn’t hear, it is that we are not heeding His word and remaining faithful to Him.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
So Believer, are you seeking God’s face? Are you praying, listening, and heeding? Are you drawing ever closer to your Lord and keeping your life righteous?