“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Over and over in scripture we are urged to become seekers. I’m beginning to think that this invitation is God’s gift to the modern North American Church. It is so easy in our calm, relaxed bubble to develop a sedentary spiritual lifestyle. But how can we know God if we don’t seek Him?
We should note that we aren’t simply invited to seek God. The scripture is specific and asks us to seek His face. What does this mean? This same verse first asks us to be humble and to pray. Too often our prayers turn into ‘wish lists’ … “Father, give me this, do this, make that happen”. We are looking for what He can give us and, as a result, we turn Him into our personal servant instead of seeking to know Him. While it isn’t wrong to ask God for things, we can’t turn the King of the universe into our slave and still consider ourselves to be humble.
Seeking God’s face presents two things for me. The first is that to search the face of God is to get to know Him. The Apostle Paul, while visiting Athens, discovered the monument “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD”. On Mars Hill Paul began to introduce this ‘unknown God’ to the Athenians summing it up with Acts 17: 27 “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”
He wants us to know Him. Our Father wants us to recognize Him in a way that can only come through gazing on His face. When we know Him as the face of Love, of mercy and of grace then we will be satisfied. This is only acquired through intimacy with God. And that only comes when we are closed in alone with Him gazing upon His face as one friend to another.
Secondly, I’m reminded of Moses’ relationship with God in the Old Testament. Moses asks to the Lord to show him His glory. Because of the intimacy already established between Moses and his Lord, God agrees to Moses’ request but stipulating that Moses cannot see God’s face.
“But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” (Exodus 3:20)
Again, upon spending time alone in God’s presence Moses’ face was glowing with God’s glory to the point where the Israelites couldn’t look directly at him (2 Corinthians 3:7). Moses’s face displaying God’s glory had to be covered with a veil until the glory faded. Time spent during the delivery of the law had this effect on Moses and the Israelites. The Apostle Paul tells us that when we turn to Christ the veil is “stripped off”
“Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” (2 Corinthians 3:16 – 18 MSG)
In a society that tells us to do what it takes to be first, to look out for number one, it can be so liberating to know that true transformation can be achieved by looking upon Christ & seeking His face. It is in seeking His face that we truly become Christ-like.
What does seeking His face mean for you?
Study prepared by Susan Holmes.