Psalm 27:8 says, “When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” Have you ever wondered what it means to seek the face of God? Let me begin to answer that question by using this example. My kids have introduced me to a new way of communicating—it’s called FaceTime! In case you don’t know, FaceTime is a way to make video calls using mobile devices.
One of my daughters, who is in college, likes to FaceTime with me. It’s amazing—she used FaceTime to give me a tour of her new apartment. It was so much better than a phone call. Do you know why? Because I was able to see her face—I could witness all of her expressions along with her overflowing excitement about her new apartment (she even showed me how she’d decorated). When we communicated by FaceTime, I felt so much more connected. It was almost like being there with her. That’s how the Lord is, but He wants to have actual face time with you.
What Does It Mean To Seek God’s Face?
As a kid growing up in church, I remember hearing preachers say, “You need to seek the face of God!” When I asked what that meant, people would answer, “It means you need to pray.”
But seeking the face of God is much more than shooting off prayers in time of need—it’s close and personal contact with God, it’s fellowship, it’s union with Him.
Even in the business world you’ll hear the phrase, “We need some face time.” There are times when texts, emails, voicemails, faxes, or phone calls just won’t get the job done. They often can’t convey the whole heart of a person or get to the crux of a matter. It requires “face time,” meaning time spent in face-to-face contact with a client, colleague, or employee.
Face time is even more important in friendships and relationships with family members—it’s needed for personal, close, and intimate fellowship. My grandmother just turned 90 and I often miss her. She showed me so much love during my childhood. And lately, a phone call doesn’t seem to do the job. I want to be with her—I need face time. I want to sit down beside her, hold her hand, and be in her presence. That’s what God means when He says, “Seek ye My face”—He’s inviting you to have personal encounters with Him and to experience union with Him.
As with David, the desire to seek the face of God is birthed in us by God Himself. God didn’t force David to seek His face; it was a desire God placed within him.
The phrase “When Thou saidst” is not in the original Hebrew text, it was added by the translators. The Artscroll Tanach Series translation reads, “In Your behalf, my heart has said….” In other words, it was David’s own heart imploring on behalf of God—it was a heart impulse implanted within David by God Himself. God created an appetite in David’s heart for His face. Nothing else but face time, nothing else but personal encounters with God was going to fulfill this longing because it was a longing originating in the Father Himself.
This longing of the Father isn’t driven by a need for His children to perform for Him; it is a desire to commune with them—to share His very Self with them in a mutually indwelling union. Ephesians 1:4-5, 9-10 in the Living Bible says, “Long ago, even before He made the world, God chose us to be His very own…He decided then to make us Holy in His eyes…we who stand before Him covered with His love. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us…And He did this because He wanted to… God has told us His secret reason for sending Christ… that when the time is ripe He will gather us all together from wherever we are—in heaven or on earth—to be with Him in Christ forever.”
God wants you and He wants to be with you.
In creation, the Father’s heart wasn’t longing for an additional myriad of servants—He could have made more angels if that is what He desired. No, He longed for sons and daughters—those with whom He could fellowship and crown with His very own glory (Psalm 8:5).
Carpenter’s Paraphrase of Ephesians 1:5-7 says it this way: “Christ has begotten us to be of His own family. He has lifted us to the divine level where God is. We cannot know of our own selves how wonderful that is…Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and world were made, the divine purpose lay secret in the mind of the Creator…In so far as we can, in imagination, penetrate to the ultimate central purpose of the Almighty, it was to simply call man into fellowship with Himself…Christ cannot be brought forth ‘in vacuo’ (in a vacuum). He is the firstborn among many brethren. God through Him brings many sons to glory. Creation, redemption, adoption, that is the order of events…Why? That there might be human hearts to love.”
Glory! Hallelujah! And if God’s revealed purpose in all of that doesn’t make you want to shout, “Glory! Hallelujah!” I don’t know what will. If you are like me, you now know why you’ve been on a quest for the face of God throughout your Christian journey. If not, and you’ve not yet yielded to the divinely implanted impulse to seek His face, I pray you understand and yield to this truth now.
You were born from Love and you were born for Love—you were created, redeemed, and reborn for face-to-face fellowship with God.
We often speak of the presence of God, but in Hebrew there is really no word for presence—at least as we often use the word. In Hebrew it is the word faces. And the King James Version of Psalm 27:8 (our foundational Scripture for this text) translates it almost perfectly. Notice I said almost—it is missing one thing. The word in Hebrew is always plural: faces. It is an Old Testament reference to the triune Godhead.
Changed By His Face
The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament contains additional insights as to why the word is plural, saying, “This particular word always occurs in the plural, perhaps indicative of the fact that the face is a combination of a number of features…the face identifies the person and reflects the attitude and sentiments of the person…(it) can be a substitute for the self or the feelings of the self. In the Bible the “face” (along with the other parts of the body) is described not merely as an exterior instrument in one’s physiology, but rather as being engaged in some form of behavioral pattern, and is thus characterized by some personal quality. It is only natural that the face was considered to be extraordinarily revealing of a man’s emotions, moods, and dispositions.”
Face-to-face encounters with God reveal His nature, person, and character, and then impart them to the one who is seeking His face.
It is commonly taught in Judaism that before one can seek out God’s countenance, they must first purify and cleanse their own appearance. However, the Apostle Paul reveals a different reality—that it is exposure to God’s goodness and glory that transforms us.
2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Notice that progressive exposure to His image progressively transforms us into His image—each encounter with His face transforms us from one glory to another, more and more into His likeness. While each face-to-face encounter with God may be different from one another, each revealing another facet of His person, such experiences have something in common: the person who had the encounter is transformed. Then, with each transformation, one becomes more and more capable of partaking of more and more of His fullness. The Ben Campbell Johnson paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “We move from one area of fulfillment to another because the Spirit acts upon us.” Because of His glory, because of Who He is, it is not possible to behold Him and remain the same.
How do you seek His face? You can begin as David did, when you become aware of the desire He has birthed within you for His face, you can reply, “Your face, Lord, will I seek.” In other words, respond to the invitation. And do so fearlessly, with all of your heart, knowing that when He provides you an invitation that He also plans to grant you audience with Him.
You can simply pray, “Lord, my heart longs for more of You. It does so on Your behalf. You are the One Who placed the desire for face-to-face contact within me. With all my heart I’m responding to that desire. Show me Your faces—all of Your person. I want to know You, Your heart and Your ways—not just intellectually, but through firsthand encounters with You. Precious Holy Spirit, I yield to You—transform me from glory to glory. Lord, here I am—for You, for fellowship with You, and to experience my union with You in Christ. Your face, Lord, will I seek.”
Until next time, may you have more kingdom reality, the joy-life of fellowshipping in the family of God, and “MAS FUEGO!” (MORE FIRE!”)
Your Apostolic Revivalists & Equippers,
Nathanael & Michelle Wolf
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