“‘If I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you…’ And he said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest...’ Moses said, ‘Please show me your glory.’ And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name “The Lord.” And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live… Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.’” Exodus 33:13-14,18-23
“You have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods and metal images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back.” 1 Kings 14:9
“Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple, and I looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord. And I fell on my face. And the Lord said to me, ‘Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes, and hear with your ears all that I shall tell you.'” Ezekiel 44:4-5
Where we face each day makes a difference. Face the sun, absorb its warmth and light, and be energized and hopeful, taking in all that is exposed by its rays. Turn our back, and shiver in the shadows, away from the influence of light, and under the influence of darkness. Face the Lord in His glory and goodness, and fall face down, humbled, inspired, submitted to His will. Or turn from truth a rebel, and find the path ahead shrouded by the image of man’s cast shadow of self-sufficiency, idolatry, and pride. Which will it be?
We do not always intend to turn our backs on the Lord, but simply do not exert the effort it takes to seek Him. We fail to climb the mount, and fill our time with anything but reading His love-letter-to-us word, and never crave to know Him. We fill our days and shelves and sights with lesser things, and, satisfied enough with their diminished charm, cannot see His glory. When asked, we would not admit to casting Him behind our back, yet every idol, every alien affection, every bit of trust in something else, is an about-face to the wonder He invites us to see and relish.
What is our determination? To check off a quick glance but then shrug an intent Jesus away, because the call of the day is too loud, or the tasks too numerous? If it is to turn from casting Him behind us, and to hold Him before, are there trinkets and idols and notifications that distract us from beholding His glory that would fill our mind and heart?
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.” ~Helen Howarth Lemmel (1922)
Lord, may I ever look to You and be radiant. (Psalm 34:5)