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Seeds of the Kingdom

God’s Face, God’s Grace

by Richard Griffiths

29 February 2024

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The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
Numbers 6:25, NIV

The ‘priestly blessing’ is a wonderful expression of God’s heart for His people. It puts in a nutshell everything that He longs for us to receive. He wants us to enjoy the light of His presence and to experience of the riches of His grace.

Remember the early days of the emoji? First, smiley faces and then, gradually, different emotions: sad, grumpy, angry, delighted, rapturous. Now there are thousands, and not just faces. But those early emojis told us just how expressive faces can be. We show so many emotions with our faces.

God wants every one of us to experience His ‘face’. It’s a face that shines. Moses used to spend time with God in the Tent of Meeting. There, ‘the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend’ (Exodus 33:11). Whenever Moses came out of the Tent, ‘his face was radiant’ (Exodus 34:35). Meeting with God like that, allowing God’s face to shine on his face, did something to Moses’ inner being that couldn’t be contained.

Did Moses see God with his physical eyes? No, because on-one can see God and live (Exodus 33:20). But we all have ‘spiritual eyes’. We become spiritually aware of His presence, and in that light, we begin to see all that He is for us and all that He has for us. That’s God’s grace – as His face shines on us, we experience Him being gracious to us.

Psalm 80 is a moving prayer for restoration. Three times David says: ‘Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved’ (Psalm 80:3, 7, 19). In another Psalm he says, ‘People feast in the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light’ (Psalm 36:8-9). We are in a place of restoration, joy, life, and light when God’s face shines on us. When we are in the light of His presence, we are in the place where His grace is available to meet every need.

Scripture always encourages us to take the initiative to come into the light of God’s presence. Yes, we can pray for God: ‘Make Your face shine on me and be gracious to me’; but for that to happen, we need to look towards Him. We will never see His face shining on us with our backs turned. Psalm 34:5 says: ‘Those who look to him are radiant’. So often, people turn to all kinds of supports and coping mechanisms when things are tough. But the moment we turn our spiritual eyes towards God, we find ourselves in that place of light, and grace to meet every need.

Richard Griffiths When Richard retired from full-time Anglican ministry in Chichester in 2009, he and his wife, Sue, moved to Northumberland. He joined the ministry team at Ellel Grange in 2011, where he and Sue regularly ministered at healing retreats. They are now helping on the "Explore" team. They greatly enjoy walking in the beautiful Northumberland countryside and along the coast. Richard loves seeing God bringing people into a strong personal relationship with Him as their Father and the healing that comes with it.

 

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