Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
Last week I made dark chocolate pudding popsicles. They were amazing, if I do say so myself. My son thought they were amazing, too. The evidence was all over his face. His brothers and I began to tease him about the melting chocolate goodness dripping from his chin. He didn’t care, he was enjoying his dessert. He didn’t mind that others could see the proof of what he had eaten.
A great deal can be told through the look on our face as well as the look of our face. Spending time in the sun reveals a deeper complexion. Spending time in the anesthetist’s chair reveals clean, shiny skin. Spending time in braces reveals a beautiful, straight row of teeth. From an external standpoint, others may know what we have done or where we have been by simply looking at our face.
The same was true for Moses. In Exodus 34 we find the account of his time spent with the Lord on Mount Sinai. Because the first covenant tablets, the ones with the Ten Commandments inscribed on them, were broken when Moses threw them to the ground in anger at the appearance of the Israelites worshiping a golden calf, he went up the mountain a second time.
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. (Exodus 34:29-30)
Imagine if Moses came down the mountain no different than when he went up. Would the Israelites believe he had spent time with the Lord? Sure, he had tablets in hand, but those were nothing compared to the evidence of the glory of the Lord left on his face. There was no denying Moses’ connection to the Father and the rest of the Israelites revered him as such.
Matthew Henry comments, “Holiness will command reverence; but the sense of sin makes men afraid of their friends, and even of that which really is a favour to them.” The Israelites likened Moses’ radiant face to that of the Lord’s. Their sin made it difficult to approach Moses as a fellow human while the glory of the Lord shown about him.
The fact that Moses didn’t realize the radiance of his face lends to the intimate relationship he had with God. Moses didn’t do anything to earn God’s favor; the Lord’s blessing was placed on Moses in response to his willingness to obey. Rather than being transformed by this encounter, it seamlessly became part of his being.
This passage illustrates to two ways in which we can experience life – as a direct reflection of the Lord’s Glory or as an onlooker, fearful of approaching the throne. Ask yourself,
1. Does spending time with God leave evidence on my face?
2. What is preventing me from experiencing the Glory of the Lord in my life?
James 1:23-25 says, Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. Whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Our appearance will change after being with the Lord. Our demeanor will reflect His peace. We will receive the Lord’s favor.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You graciously extend blessing upon blessing, even when we don’t deserve it. Thank you for the example of Moses’ willingness to intently look into Your perfect law, receiving Your Glory as evidenced on his face. May we desire to seek you in a similar way, finding favor in Your sight.