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November 27, 2015

Text:  “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their  voices go out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” Psalms 19:1-4a

God’s works cannot produce human speech; nevertheless, they are shouting by means of the works of God in the natural order, thus demonstrating his message. Their declaration is: “God made me: therefore he is.”

Our vision of these awesome sights overwhelms us. We are highly elated seeing a setting sun seemingly sink into a body of water. The sight of mountains peaked by snow causes us wonder. Flowers with their color, pattern, and abundance produce breathlessness in us Every viewer should feel awed in his heart.  More than this, it should produce reverence in us and promote a desire to see God.

Though God is an incorporeal being and we cannot actually see him, nevertheless it is part of human nature to desire to discern the divine entity by sight.  An occasion when people in the Bible were said to have seen God is a literary device called  a “theophany”. These theophanies may be contained in a vision , a dream, or a physical phenomenon. Just before the replacing of the tablets of the Law that he had broken, Moses asked God, “Please show me your glory.” God told the great Liberator, “You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” Yet there are perceptions of the Father by which he allows us to comprehend  his nature.

Persons in the Old Testament given the opportunity to be in the presence of God underwent  great transformations. Let’s mention three of them.

Naturally, the first of these is Moses who first was in the presence of God at the “burning bush” event on Mt.Sinai. (Exodus 3:1-6) When Moses, the liaison  between God and the people, came out from the Lord’s presence his face witnessed a magnificent change. “…the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining.Exodus 34:35  This relationship was so personal and unique that the last chapter of Exodus said of him,  And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face…” Deuteronomy 34:10  Here is visible proof of Moses’ encounters with the Almighty, a foreshadowing of the brilliance manifested at the mount of Transformation.

No less spectacular is the experience of Isaiah.  The “Messianic Prophet” envisions the Lord sitting upon a throne in the heavenly temple while one Seraph sings to another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” Isaiah 6:3  Isaiah’s response reveals his sinful inadequacy in the presence of God. “Woe is me for I am lost…for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5 Then the Holy One of Israel seeks an emissary to announce his good news to his people. Isaiah steps forward saying, “Here I am. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8b Within minutes Isaiah has confessed his awe in the presence of God, humbled himself, and engaged himself to be a spokesman of God. Remarkable refashioning of man in the presence of God! 

Lastly, the apostle John is exemplary in having an audience with God.  As the book of Revelation opens John hears an angel who allows him to observe the fate of seven churches in Asia Minor. He sees Jesus. Later he is given access to behold the throne room and God who sits on the throne.  When he has seen this he “falls on his face as though dead.” Revelation 1:17 Too much for a human to assimilate!

Yes! We hunger to catch a glimpse of God as these three did. Such was the expectation of the apostle Philip who confronts Jesus at the Last Supper and demands that Jesus reveal to them the Father. (John 14:8) In response Jesus says, “Whoever has seen me has seen the father… Believe  me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me…” John 14:9b, 11a  The writer to the Hebrews distinctly tells us of the clarity of the reflection Jesus presents of his Father. “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe  by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:3

The records of the teaching and deeds of the Son of Man demonstrate the clearest revelation of God available. Take with you an open mind and a heart of faith.



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