The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance[c] upon you and give you peace.
27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
God’s face represents His presence and favor. For His face to shine upon them is to give them grace, help, favor, and blessing. To turn His face against them is to withhold those things. We are unable to be directly and physically in God’s presence right now in these earthly bodies. When Moses asked the Lord to show him His glory, The Lord responded,
“And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:19-23).
We would die to see Him face to face now but one day, we will be transformed and united with Him for eternity. One day we will see Him face to face. Revelation 22:3-5 describes eternity this way,
No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
1 Corinthians 13:8-13 says it like this,
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
We know God has promised us He will always be with us and never leave us Deuteronomy 31:6 reads,
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
So how is that different from His presence? How can His face shine on you or not shine on you? And why would there be times when His face doesn’t shine on you? We are told to seek the face of the Lord continuously, Psalm 105:1-5 reads,
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
4 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
5 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
For some Believers, we may reach times of complacency in our walk, perhaps a time when our passion or zeal for The Lord has cooled a bit, when our prayer life gets to the point of praying once or twice a day rather than continuously. So God loves us enough to do something about it. Psalm 11:4-7 reads,
The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord's throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
5 The Lord tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
6 Let him rain coals on the wicked;
fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.
What that means is that He closes His eyes, He withdraws His presence from us, though He doesn’t leave us. As we have stepped further away from Him, He lets us know by taking a step back from us. He tests our faith, not for His benefit since He knows our heart completely, but for ours to show us the condition of our heart. 2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us,
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. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.
Maybe like me you have felt abandoned and forgotten. But be assured that is not the case. Even though He has closed His eyes for a time, it is because of His deep love and his desire for our sanctification that He has done it. It gives us a chance to examine our hearts and see our complacency, lukewarm heart, and sin. James 4:7-10 tells us how to be close to God again.
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.
Psalm 102:2 reads,
Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call!
Believer, He won’t hide His face forever. He loves you so much. He wants the best for you. He disciplines those He loves (Proverbs 3:12). Pray, reach out, seek His face, draw close to God. God promised in Isaiah 54:5-8,
For your Maker is your husband,
the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.
6 For the Lord has called you
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God.
7 For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
8 In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord, your Redeemer.
I hope this devotional has been as encouraging for you as it has been for me. My heart has been lifted and my broken heart is being healed. God didn’t abandon me. He cares about me. He loves me and He wants me to have the love I used to have.