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The Face Of God

The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make His face shine upon you,
and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
and give you peace.
Num 6:24-26

What is "the face of God" ?

The Hebraic word for face is panim. It also means "presence". The shewbread in the Holy Place (Exodus 25:30), is called the Bread of Presence (Lechem HaPanim), or literally the Bread of the Face. It is simply the Bread that stood in His Presence, or before the face of the Lord.

The Hebraic mindset is more interested with the "function" of an object (what does it do?) while the Greek mind is more concerned with the "form" of an object (what it is).

One of the most commonly used Scriptures about the "face of God" is found in the Aaronic Blessing. In which, the blesser beseeches that God would make His face to shine upon those being blessed.

This phrase "the Lord make His face to shine upon you" is an interesting Hebraic term. It means to turn, to turn towards you, to turn around, to turn back, to pay attention again.

But, why His face and not other parts of His anatomy?

The face is that part of the human body which contains a person's unique and identifying characteristics. Our passport photos show our faces, not our fingerprints or legs. We can tell people by their faces. With changes in emotions, moods and dispositions, the human face reflects more than any other part of the body. Just one look, we will know whether one is happy, sad, sleeping or awake.

What we are without reveals what we are within. "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance" (Proverbs 15:13) but an angry man will have a dark countenance (Gen. 4:5).

Whether we are shining with His glory or not, our faces will show. Shining has to do with becoming light, and not shining has to do with becoming darkness. Our faces will shine when there is a glowing inner light.

Light is the very essence of God's presence. "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (I John 1:5). He is our everlasting light. He never slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:4). His presence is ever with us, night and day, day and night.

When we truly come into His presence, our faces will radiate and shine like Moses (Exodus 34:29), being full of the glory of the Lord.

This phrase "The LORD make His face to shine upon you" means "lighting you up" or "bringing understanding". It is affiliated with life, salvation, wisdom and understanding. God will give "light" (life, salvation, wisdom and understanding) to the nations.

On the other hand, when God hides His face from us, turning away from us, we will dwell in darkness where death reigns. We will then become fools, lacking understanding of the Holy One.

Another phrase in the Aaronic Blessing is "the Lord lift up His countenance upon you". It has to do with divine approval. When we are in His presence and we have His approval, His countenance will be lifted up smiling, as He is pleased with us and with what we are doing.

In the king’s courts, no subjects in the presence of the king are allowed to look into the face of the king. When the king lifts up his countenance and smiles, he may grant them the verbal permission to look up unto him. When the subjects do so, they will see the kingly smile. They will then smile back. Their countenance will also be lifted up!

When God rejoices over us with joy (Zep. 3:17), we will be rejoicing in joy.

The entire Bible is the story of God desiring to be with His people. He desires our fellowship and chooses to dwell in the midst of us, whether in a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. He is always with us. His presence is with us wherever we are!

Let's desire Him and seek His face (His presence) continually!