Archive

Archive for March, 2009

The Face of Christ

March 31st, 2009

The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you.

Numbers 6:25

 

The second part of the Aaronic blessing relates to Christ the Son’s work in our lives. These blessings are not mere hopeful wishes, but they are the confident avowal of the good intentions of God toward us that He will carry out. It is stated in a form of a blessing to help the worshipper know what God desires to do in his life and to anticipate that He will indeed do this.

 

The phrase “make His face shine upon you” means to smile the smile of friendship. The use of the word “face” is intriguing, for it carries with it the idea of identity and self-disclosure. This is the idea of God revealing Himself to us, of Him pulling back the layers of our ignorance and hardness of heart to the point where we see not only vague ideas of God, not only a form of God, but to the point where we gaze into His face, as Moses did when he prayed to God “face to face.”  

 

Certainly part of the blessing can be fulfilled in the sense of God smiling upon us whether we see His face or not, but this does not really satisfy the full meaning of the blessing. This anticipates the coming of the Christ and His mission of revealing God to us and reconciling us to God. In 2 Corinthians 4:6 we read, “He has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.” The face of Jesus of Nazareth was seen by people who had heard Christ’s sermons, saw His public ministry, or even witnessed his crucifixion. Yet as Paul wrote this to the Corinthians he was referring to something else, for the majority of them had not physically seen Christ.

 

He was referring to the miraculous work of God’s Spirit who takes the words of the gospels and begins to form an identity of Christ in our hearts. We form a face for Him, that is, we form an identity for Christ and begin to see Him as more than just an historical figure, more than a moral teacher. We begin to see Him as our Savior, Redeemer, Counselor, and Friend. Through the cross of Christ we find forgiveness and restoration. Christ did all that was required for our salvation and now we stand before God in friendship.

 

All that Christ requires is our repentance from sin and faith in Him. And this is the point of receiving the blessing and living within the blessing, to be constantly in the attitude of repentance and faith. To the degree that we humble ourselves, God lifts us up. The soul that comes to God in utter humility and repentance finds the face of Christ smiling upon Him and discovers that God lifts him up and carries him forward into life and intimacy.

 

Prayer:

 

Lord, let us live within the realm of the blessing of seeing Your face shine upon us. Lead us to keep the attitude of repentance and faith in You. Reveal to us Your love and steadfast dedication to us. Amen.

Doctrinal Studies, Evening Devotionals

Living the Blessing of God

March 30th, 2009

The LORD bless you and keep you.

Numbers 6:24

 

Living within the blessings of God means that the reality of His love and faithfulness to us, of God’s good intentions toward us, fills our thoughts.

 

Blessing, as the Bible uses the word, is a difficult word to define. Whatever words we use in the definition tend to mean far less than the biblical concept.  We might use fortunate, lucky, happy, or healthy, or whatever other terms we use, but they all fail to convey really what the Bible means. To be blessed in the biblical concept means to receive all that God desires to give us, and to live in the confidence of God’s love for us. To be blessed is as much about our relationship with God as it is receiving things from Him.

 

Currently I am writing some adult Bible studies for a major Christian publishing house on the subject of marriage, specifically on the subject of purifying our thoughts about sexual intimacy. The more I study and think about the subject, the more convinced I am that a key influential factor that motivates people to obsess about sex is the lack of a deepening relationship with God. People who are living without the blessing of God seek to fill the void in their lives in a variety of ways, and false sexual intimacy is one of the main ways. God has given sexual intimacy to the marriage relationship, where it can be enjoyed in the depth of a profound relationship between a faithful and loving married couple, and anything less than this is an inferior perversion.  But a whole world is running after these things seeking to fill this need that can only be filled by God. As Augustine wrote, “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee.” 

 

Finding rest in God means to live within the realm of God’s blessings, which, though it does not promise to give me all that I, in my flesh, want, it does promise to give me more than I could dream of or wish for or hope for. God’s best is far superior to whatever I could dream up on my own or with my friends. The Lord keeps us through His power and when we trust in Him, then we gain a heavenly Father who watches over us and He assumes the chief responsibility for our spiritual development. He began a new thing in our heart, this is His work from first to last, and He will carry it through to completion. 

 

Rest in this knowledge. Rest also in the relationship with the Heavenly Father. He knows you and wishes you to know Him. He is speaking to you right now through His word.

 

Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Therefore, we may more boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Hebrews 13:5-6

 

Live in the realm of the blessing of God who gives you strength for every challenge, directs your feet down the right path, and provides for your spiritual joy: The God who shows Himself to you and share His heart with you.

 

Prayer:

 

Lord, build us up in our faith that we might expect the great and awesome things You have promised to come to fruition in our lives by your power. Turn our hearts toward You. Amen.

 

 

Doctrinal Studies, Evening Devotionals