I Want to See You

What could possibly be the harm in wanting to see God? Isn't that something every Christian longs for? Who wouldn't want to bask in the full glory of our loving Heavenly Father? It seems like that would be a pretty good thing to want.

Moses wanted this very thing. (You can read about it in Exodus 33.) God has instructed the people to leave Sinai, and Moses has a request. "Show me Your glory," he says to God, asking Him to prove His promised presence with a visible presence. But God tells Moses that no one can see His full glory and live (Scripture uses the phrase "the face of God" to describe His glory, as God the Father is spirit and not flesh). Moses visited with God in the tent of meeting (the place of God's promised presence) "as a man speaks with a friend" (33:10). But even that kind of intimate, personal interaction still didn't involve God's full revelation of His glory. There is no way sinful Moses would be able to be in the full presence of the perfect, holy God and survive.

And yet God is gracious.

He is willing to show Moses as much as Moses would be able to take. So God says, "hide yourself in the cleft of a rock," and God's goodness passes by. God shields Moses so that Moses can just get a glimpse of God's glory as He passes by.

Throughout Scripture, when confronted with the glory of God, people are in trouble. Isaiah sees it and is undone (Isaiah 6:1-7). The disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration are overcome (Matthew 17:5-7). God's glory and holiness will simply overwhelm people in their sinful human state.

And yet God is gracious.

Moses, Isaiah, Peter, James, John, and others get a glimpse of God's glory through His gracious acts. (Notice that in all these examples from the Bible, people who survive even a glimpse of God's full, glorious presence is due to God's act of grace in the forgiveness of sin!) But there is one act in which God reveals His glory in a way that no one expected, and that is much, much more than a glimpse: Jesus the Christ, hanging on a cross.

We might be tempted to believe the cross of Jesus was the furthest thing from a glorious display. How could this be a revelation of power and glory from God? But it was through the cross that God triumphed (Colossians 2:13-15)! And this was not only a glimpse of God's glory and grace it was a full-on display! The thick curtain of the temple, which separated the Holy of Holies - the promised place of God's presence - from the rest of the temple, was torn in two! This was so much more than a glimpse of grace; it was God's strongest display of power and glory as Jesus completed His work on the cross and was raised to life on the third day.

So we, along with Moses and all the others, have been given much more than a glimpse of God's grace and power; we have been given the full panorama. And yet there's more! We also look forward to the day when we will actually, physically experience the full glory of God, when our broken bodies will have been transformed (Philippians. 3:21) and we will meet God face-to-face (1 Corinthians 13:12). We will not just get a glimpse. We will be in God's glorious presence forever!

"Gracious God, You have shown Your glory and love to me in Christ Jesus. Strengthen me with the comfort of Your presence, and lead me to that day when I will see You face-to-face in person. In the name of Jesus, Amen."