No Mask Required!
The masked lady at the front end of my bumper stared at me while I was quickly trying to get into my car at the Hobby Lobby. Her obviously long blonde locks of hair were tied on the top of her head creating a bushy type ponytail. Big black, thick-rimmed, round sunglasses with very dark lens covered her eyes and her arms were full of packages with a large purse dangling from her right elbow. She looked like some sort of insect, transformed with human-like qualities! The way she tilted her head seemed to imply that she was trying to communicate with me. With some struggle, she suddenly positioned her arms like a child pretending to be a sheep, and she vocalized a few loud baaa….baaa’s! By this time, my head also cocked, eyebrows furled with inquisitive confusion, and I froze (one leg in) from entering my car, stunned at this lady’s behavior. My husband, Brian, didn’t have a clue as to what was taking place! With my intense stare back at her, she lifted her shades and then I immediately knew her identity. We both belly laughed as I called out her name! Kri---st----y! Many years ago, Kristy was considered one of my adult choir “sheep” that was happily my responsibility to tend and shepherd. We had this thing of making sheep sounds and laughing together every time we met or communicated on the phone or voice mail. We still do!
Some have felt the need to stay masked and others have not. And really, I don’t mind as long as I can be present with them. Personal gathering allows me to keenly hear every intonation and inflection of the words spoken during conversation, which often convey deep and actual meaning. Outwardly expressed on the face, inward emotions are revealed. Seeing a face reveals much about one’s character and personality. It’s how we best recognize a person. Seeing one’s face tends to represent the whole person. I’ll have to admit, discerning the intents of others, when they are masked, is a little scary when moseying through public places. I’m sure others feel the same about me as I don my own mask! And I’m sure the cause of Kristy’s tilted head was evidence to discerning if it was, in fact, me!
Brian and I have had some great conversations over scripture lately. The one that resonates with him during these days is from 2 Chronicles 7:14.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
As we discussed it, the phrase seek my face is the one that stands out. Sure, we should pray, humble ourselves, and repent; but to seek the face of God proves quite interesting and intriguing. Instantly, I wonder what exactly the face of God looks like?! Moses caught a glimpse of God’s back side and came away reflecting the glory of God with a shining face because he had talked with LORD. It shone so bright that Moses felt the need to veil (mask) it.
We cannot actually see God’s face and live as Exodus 33:20 states.
Sure, we can read another’s face to discover their character, personality, or emotion; but it is only our opinion and can be skewed. To discover who they really are is to continually be in their presence, to be in relationship with them. This is what we mean by intimacy – close familiarity or friendship with another.
The Bible is full of scriptures that call us to seek the face of God and it’s usually issued to His people because they have left their first love, abandoned Him, and need to return to Him. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for “face” is often translated “presence.” It is actually His presence that we are seeking when we seek the face of God. What does that presence look like for you? How is it made manifest?
Interestingly, while chatting with another friend today on the porch (in between paragraphs of this blog), we discussed the challenges of wearing a mask and the difficulty of seeing and reading peoples face. My friend casually stated that speaking words have become more important for communicating. My soul lit up at the sound of that statement. Yes, I thought, God’s WORD is His one of His greatest tools for communication! I ask, “What, of His WORD, has been resonating with me these many weeks?” And I wonder, “What He is speaking to you?” And on another flip of the coin, “For what purpose are we seeking?” Are we diligently seeking His face only for instruction or so that we can build that intimate relationship with Him? How faithful do I find myself to seek Him as an individual? As a couple? As part of a small group or even as a leader or partner in ministry? What proud thing stands in my way of a humble heart? I think these are all good questions to think about as we study 2 Chronicles 7:14 within its context of then and now.
This Scripture verse, and Seeking His Face, has led me to learn more about Moses and his relationship with the LORD in Exodus 33.
18 Then Moses said, “Now, please show me your glory [his manifest presence].” 19 The Lord answered, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will announce my name, the Lord, so you can hear it. I will show ·kindness [favor] to anyone to whom I want to show ·kindness [favor], and I will show ·mercy [compassion] to anyone to whom I want to show ·mercy [compassion]. 20 But you cannot see my face, because no one can see me and live.
Like Moses, I cry out to see God’s glory. I want Him to cause all of His goodness to pass in front of me and to speak His name, the LORD, so that I can hear it and know it is him. I want to lean on His kindness [favor] and mercy [compassion]. I want to intimately know Him, look to Him and His strength and learn His wisdom.
1 Chronicles 16:11 Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
I love that God offers a place near Him that is steady and firm. A rock! And when the hard things come into my life that cause His glory to shine, He offers a place of shelter. A large crack or cleft in the rock and His gentle and loving hand shields me.
21 “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes that place, I will put you in a large ·crack [fissure; T cleft] in the rock and ·cover [screen] you with my hand until I have passed by.
God’s glory will be revealed. There is an outward reflection of one who spends time with Him. Moses confirmed that for me! And when I think about Moses’ personality and character, I am reminded that meeting with God doesn’t mean that I have to have it all together! There is no mask required to meet face to face with Him. At the crucifixion of Jesus, God’s son, the veil was split from top to bottom making a way for me to come to Him, boldly, just as I am.
You know what I found interesting in this passage? Verse 34!
Anytime Moses met with God, he took off and removed his mask!
33 When Moses finished speaking to the people, he put a ·covering [veil] over his face. 34 Anytime Moses went before the Lord to speak with him, Moses took off the ·covering [veil] until he came out. Then Moses would come out and tell the Israelites what the Lord had commanded. 35 They would see that Moses’ face was shining. So he would ·cover [veil] his face again until the next time he went in to speak with the Lord.
It is my prayer that as we re-open our city, state, and nation that all will see and take note of the display of the glory of God that shines brightly on our changed faces. May we all continue to meet face to face in intimate knowledge and fellowship with our Savior, for He is our only Living Hope!
12 We have this hope, so we ·are very bold [or speak with boldness/confidence]. 13 We are not like Moses, who put a ·covering [veil] over his face so the ·Israelites [L children of Israel] would not see it [Ex. 34:29–35]. The glory was ·disappearing [fading; or made ineffective], and Moses did not want them to see it end. 14 But their minds were ·closed [stubborn; hardened], and even today that same ·covering [veil] ·hides the meaning [L remains] when they read the old ·agreement [covenant]. That covering is ·taken away [L not lifted, because it is removed]only through Christ. 15 Even today, when they read ·the law of Moses [L Moses], there is a ·covering over [L veil laying upon] their ·minds [hearts]. 16 But when a person ·changes and follows [L turns to] the Lord, that ·covering [veil] is taken away [Ex. 34:34]. 17 The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 ·Our faces, then, are not covered [L With an unveiled face…]. We all ·show [reflect; or behold; or contemplate] the Lord’s glory, and we are being ·changed [transformed] ·to be like him [L into the same image]. This change in us ·brings ever greater glory [or is from one degree of glory to another; L is from glory to glory], which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. [2 Cor. 3:12–18].
I could go on and on about the experiences and blessings that I have had as I have met more purposefully with my Savior. I’ll save those for another time. And, I hope that when we see one another face to face, that we will notice something different and wonderful about each another!
For His Purpose,
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5/26/2020 10:12:12 am
Sherry, thanks for sharing this. As I was pondering the Scriptures you shared, I was particularly intrigued with Exodus.33:19. Moses could not see God and live, so God showed Moses his GOODNESS and spoke His name. As you said, if we are spending time with the Lord, our faces should reflect a change in our hearts. But if our friends and neighbors can't see our changed faces behind our virus-protection masks, we can point them to God by showing them his goodness and speaking his name.
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