I have had a lot to say about the presence of God as of late. Today is no different. There is so much to say about this topic, but today I want to focus on one particular thing: seeking the face of God.
Psalm 27 has been somewhat of a theme verse for a few of my latest posts and I want to look at it again today. In Psalm 27:4 David says,
“One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.”
David’s one request of God was to dwell in His presence and to know Him. If we move on to verse 8 David continues,
“When You said, ‘Seek My face,’
My heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’”
We have probably all heard about the importance of seeking the face of God, but what exactly does that mean? Honestly, I don’t believe that it can be narrowed to one particular thing; instead, it has many facets. Some examples would be seeking His face through studying the Word or seeking His face by seeking His will in prayer. But there is one aspect that I believe stands above the rest.
The fascinating thing about the word “face” in the Old Testament is that the word for face and the word for presence are the same word. So in simplicity, to seek the face of God is to seek the presence of God.
God is omnipresent, so His presence is there wherever we are. But just as you can be in the same room with someone and have absolutely no connection with them, we can be in the same “room” with God (metaphorically speaking) and have no communion with Him. It is not until the person that you are in the room with turns their face toward you that you can connect with them and have relationship with them. This is the difference between God being omnipresent and His manifest presence. It is His manifest presence that we are seeking.
We must have a relentless pursuit after the manifest presence of God. The word “seek” in Psalm 27:8 means “to seek after until the object of your search is obtained.” We must not be denied, but boldly seek out the manifest presence of God through the Holy Spirit.
Now… this is where things start to get even more interesting. In Psalm 27:4 David speaks of his desire to “Behold the beauty of the Lord.” The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Paul states that by beholding the glory of the Lord we are transformed into His same image. So the question is, How do we behold the glory of the Lord?
If we continue on to 2 Corinthians 4:6, Paul tells us. He says, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” The knowledge of the glory of God is found in the face—the presence—of Jesus. Granted, this is not the same word for face that David uses in Psalm 27, but the same concept is inferred nonetheless.
It is in the manifest presence of God that we are transformed from glory to glory into the image of Jesus. Some may disagree with me on that statement saying, “What about our minds being renewed in the Word of God?” And they would be right, because that is exactly what the Word does—it renews our minds. If we want to relate to God we must relate to Him as He really is. We cannot enter into a relationship with God through a false perception of who He is anymore than we can have a relationship with any other person based on a faulty idea of their identity. We must allow the Word to shape our view of who God is so that we can relate to Him. The Word is absolutely a huge part of seeking God's face.
To give an analogy, today my friend Ryan flew home from a 6 month missions trip. As we were waiting for him to arrive, our eyes scanned the streams of people walking our direction—trying to find him. We were seeking him out. Imagine if I had no idea what Ryan looked like. It would be impossible to locate him among the crowds of people who were walking our way. But because I've been friends with Ryan for over a decade, I know exactly what He looks like. It's the same way with God. It is impossible to seek Him out if we don't know what He looks like, how He acts, or what His personality is like. This is the purpose of the Word: to inform us on how to relate to God.
I will talk more about this in my next post, but from the beginning, from Genesis to Revelation, God’s purpose in redemption was to bring man back into the manifest presence of God. God desires an intimate relationship with us. If we want to see revival in this nation, a fresh pursuit of the manifest presence of God must increase. We must seek it in the Secret Place of our personal time alone with God and we must seek it the Public Place where we minister to the lost and the broken and we must seek it in the Gathering Place where we come together with other believers in corporate worship. As stated by A.W. Tozer, “The difference between revival and every other state that is spiritual is that the church may know the manifest presence of God.”