God’s Radiant Face

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
“Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:
The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you,
     And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
     And give you peace.’
“So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”

– Numbers 6:22-27, NASB

Sometimes referred to as the “Seven-Fold Blessing,” this solemn benediction was given by God to Moses to pass on to Aaron. It is a benediction for dismissing the people at the close of the morning sacrifice. It is a beautiful blessing that has been repeated over millinia and even set to music. You can listen to that here: Seven-Fold Blessing.

This is the first place in scripture that we see light actually doing something. It is acting. It is shining. Up to this point light has just been light. “Let there be light.”1 But now that light, God’s face, is shining, and it is shining on the people God created and chose.

When we roll into the New Testament era, we learn that it makes perfect sense for God’s face to shine. True light comes only from God, since God is light.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
– 1 John 1:5, ESV

The large windows of the Great Room of Alean’s and my house face north, looking directly at the Canadian mountains behind us. This is a fortuitous orientation, as we enjoy sitting on the back deck and watching the mountains, the clouds, and the wildlife in the field betwen us and those mountains.

What does not work well is getting sunlight to the plants that line those back windows. They get indirect light that reflects off other objects, but they never see direct sunlight. To assist their growth, we must orient grow lights above them. Even with the grow lights, the plants do not do as well as if they had true sunlight hitting them every day.

Just as our plants need direct, genuine sunlight to thrive, so we need the genuine Son of God shining into our hearts and minds to thrive spiritually.

The importance of allowing God’s face to shine upon us is emphasized by the fact that the same concept is found no less than seven other times in scripture.

Make your face shine on your servant;
     save me in your steadfast love!

– Psalm 31:16, ESV

May God be gracious to us and bless us
     and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known on earth,
     your saving power among all nations.

– Psalm 67:1-2, ESV

Restore us, O God;
     let your face shine, that we may be saved!

– Psalm 80:3, ESV

…and then,

Restore us, O God of hosts;
     Let your face shine, that we may be saved!

– Psalm 80:7, ESV

…and yet again in the same Psalm,

Restore us, O LORD God of hosts!
     Let your face shine, that we may be saved!

– Psalm 80:19, ESV

Make your face shine upon your servant,:
     and teach me your statutes.

– Psalm 119:135, ESV

…and finally, in Daniel’s prayer for his people.

Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord,b make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate.
– Daniel 9:17, ESV

We noted above that it is natural for God’s face to shine because God is light and contains no darkness.2 We know that when Moses returned from meeting with God in the Tent of Meeting, he had to cover his face because it glowed from being in God’s presence, and the glow disturbed the people.3 We know that God not only is light, but that he dwells in light that is unapproachable.4 We know that with the arrival of Jesus, the people sitting in darkness have seen a great light,5 and that shortly after this, we are told that we are the light of the world, a city set on a hill for all to see.6

We shine because Jesus shines on and in us. In Jesus was life, and that life was the light of men.7

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
– 2 Corinthians 4:6, ESV

Blessings upon you, my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

– damon

Twitter – @DamonJGray
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1. Genesis 1:3
2. 1 John 1:5
3. Exodus 34:33-35
4. 1 Timothy 6:16
5. Matthew 4:16
6. Matthew 5:14
7. John 1:4

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Damon J. Gray

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  1. Cathy on March 21, 2023 at 12:52 PM

    This is great! I’m printing it! Thanks, Damon.

    • Damon J. Gray on March 22, 2023 at 5:58 AM

      Oh, Cathy! That is so sweet. I am honored that you would do so. Thank you!

  2. Damon J. Gray on March 22, 2023 at 5:57 AM

    Oh, Cathy! That is so sweet. I am honored that you would do so. Thank you!

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