As the wedding day approaches (46 days!), we are also entering a 40 day fast. The focus of the fast is based on Exodus 33.
18 And he (Moses) said, "Please, show me Your glory." 19 He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and have compassion on whom I have compassion." (Ex. 33:18-19)
I had not really “signed up,” for this one in my heart. My heart had actually grown a bit distant from the Lord, not out of lack of desire, but out of lack of vision. I recognized my downward spiral, and I was not okay with it, but I did not know what to do. Over the past couple days I have realized that it was for this lack of vision that I was perishing (Hosea 4:6, 14). True vision is not something that comes from within; it’s not something I can just drum up. True vision comes from gazing upon God and receiving from Him.
As I came into the prayer room tonight, they were focusing on this cry to see the face of God. I had already been seeking His wisdom for my circumstances, and for finances (getting married is expensive!), and had cried out of my desperation, but I had been unable to get a fill of what I really needed -- Him.
As I cried out during this time, screaming, “Let me see your face!” I was lead to Ezekiel 8. God has a weird way of directing me to certain scriptures that most others would shy away from. This is a particularly painful point in the Bible, but God spoke to me through it.
1 ...As I was sitting in my house [with the leaders of Judah], the hand of Adonai Elohim [The Lord my God] fell on me. 2 I looked and saw what seemed like a man made of fire... 3 The form of a hand was put out, which took me by a lock of my hair; and a spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me, in these visions from God, to Jerusalem... (Ezekiel 8:1-3)
Intense, right? First off, I want to address a weakness in my heart. I love these things, but my faith for it to happen to me is weak. I believe it happened to Ezekiel, I even believe that others have experiences like this, and that theoretically, I could too. But I often doubt that it will, and I don’t live like it could, or should. But the reality is that I need to see Him, to obtain vision through the spirit. Otherwise I will be misguided and my life will be wasted, as it has been the past few weeks.
3b There stood the idol that which arouses God’s jealousy and provokes his zealous indignation. 4 There before me was the glory of the God of Israel... 5 Then he said to me, “Human being, raise your eyes toward the north.” I raised my eyes toward the north and saw... this image that arouses God’s jealousy... 6 He asked me, “Human being, do you see what they are doing, the horribly disgusting practices that the house of Israel is committing here, so that I must distance myself from my own sanctuary? But you will see even worse abominations.” (8:3b-6)
This might seem to be going in a different direction than you expect, but this really lines up with the message God is saying to me. Personally, God is taking on areas of sin in my personal life, especially areas like pride and lust, which truly do not belong in my body, or in His body. I hate looking at this, in my life or in others. I would rather simply hide it, or pretend that it doesn’t exist. But God is asking me to look upon it, and also to look upon Him, that I might choose righteousness and receive His grace to obtain it.
Later on (verse 12), we see that the common thought in Israel at the time was that “Adonai can’t see us, Adonai has left the land.” But in actuality God’s eyes are upon His people (verse 18). This is why we must see His face, we must know His eyes are upon us. If we ignore His eyes, His eyes will have not pity upon us. We must look our Judge in the eye, so that we can see the mercy that is His desire. [The intercessory on the mic just asked that “We might see the mercy in His eyes.” Incredible timing!
In chapter 9, God’s glory and his judgment are present in Israel. In verse 4 Adonai says to his angelic scribe:
4 “Go throughout the city, through all Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who are sighing and crying over all the disgusting practices that are being committed in it.” To the others I heard him say, “Go through the city after him and strike! Don’t let your eye spare; have no pity! ...Slaughter them all! But don’t go near anyone with the mark. Begin at my sanctuary. (9:4-6)
Often when I encounter sin in my own life, or in others, I feel like it is so hopeless. I’d rather just look away than to deal with the reality of it. Or even if I try to do something, I get discouraged when it doesn’t get better immediately. But here we see the response that God really wants -- repentance and intercession. He does not want us to consider it a casual matter (8:17). He wants us to rend our hearts, which is painful, so that we can be wholehearted.
This world is so full of sin, it’s overwhelming. How can it ever change? We think that it will always be this way, and that the promises and prophecies of God will never come to pass. Will He really judge the earth? Will He really set the captives free? Will He really return to reign? It was a common saying in that time in Israel, “Time keeps passing, and none of the visions are fulfilled.” (12:22). But the truth is that not one of His words will be unfulfilled. He is Lord, and He will accomplish all that He has said. And He wants us to take part in it, but we must see Him!
I recently watched a program on Wired: Science that featured a facial recognition software to help those with Asberger’s disease overcome their difficulties understanding emotion in human faces. How can we understand God’s heart and His plans without seeing His face?
God! Forgive me! Give me eyes to see! Show me your glory!