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Gaze of God

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted January 8, 2014

RELIGION – I love been looking at the faces of people when I preach. The first church I was pastor of during seminary had a wonderful young lady with a very expressive and dramatic face. When I was preaching and she was following me, she would smile affirmingly and make me feel like Charles Stanley. But when she was lost (or I lost her) her face would turn and at she would look at me with apparent disdain and frustration. She said she had little clue that she was doing but her face spoke volumes.
We live our lives under the constant gaze of others. We are being looked at and judged wherever we go. That is life. People look at me walking toward them and start thinking “Boy the preacher has put on some weight,” or “what is my excuse for missing church the past few weeks” or “hope he does not talk my ear off.” We look at others, and a whole host of thoughts enter our minds based off appearance. Are they attractively dressed? Even, are they a threat to our safety? We might even be thinking I am better looking or smarter or more successful than them. The reality is that we are looking at others and getting looked at all the time. 

And we never really know what other people are really thinking about us. This can make us insecure and spend inordinate amount of time on perfecting our appearance. We may be noticed or we may be noticed by no one and this bothers us.  Then many of you today will endure the cold look from spouse you can’t please, the stare a child who seemingly hates your guts, or maybe even a skin-crawling gaze from creeper co-worker who keeps staring at you.
But, in the midst of all these looks I want you to experience the best look you will ever get.  That is to be able to look up and encounter the gaze of God. This may seem scary. I mean we think of God in heaven looking down and mad and about to smote us. But for Christians, we are to see His face toward us in Numbers 6:25–26 “The LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

Yes, God is the One who can see right through us, before whom all things are “naked and exposed” (Heb. 4:13). But because Christ bore our sin on the cross, taking the full brunt of God’s frown and the rejection we deserved, the terror of His face has become for us the favor of His face. And with the smile of God, we can survive the frowns and rejection of life.

Because of this we experience God’s blessings and smile as opposed to anger and wrath. In the verse from Numbers 6:25-26 we see that blessing is his idea, his purpose. It is not something his people must beg for, but it is the outreaching of his grace. God is not greedy with his blessing, only determined to give to those who beg really hard. No, if you are in Christ, God’s stance toward you is not crossing his arms in anger, but a posture of blessing. God’s plan for your life is to have you walk in his blessing and enable you to live in His grace and love each day.
So today “In the light of a king’s face there is life, and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain” (Prov. 16:15). Be loved by God and smile and show His love to all the people your encounter.
Pastor Howle

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