Beholding the glory of God

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Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
-Psalm 34:5

This is one of my favorite ideas in all of Scripture. Beholding the glory of God.

I think it’s one of the most underrated views in all of scripture.

The soul filling, sanctifying reality of beholding the Lord. Looking to the Lord. Turning your focus to the Lord.

What it means 

When David talks about looking to God, he is not talking about seeing God literally.

Exodus 33:20, God tells Moses: “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.

But merely being in the presence of the Lord gives this radiance. In the Book of Exodus, Moses was in the presence of the Lord receiving commands from the Lord.

“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.” (Exodus 34:29)

In Exodus, the people were actually alarmed by it. Someone’s face luminously glowing. So Moses  would actually have to wear a veil to cover up the glory that shone in his face. God is that full of life and righteousness .

Christians have more of the picture

We are able to look to Christ, to look to the cross, to look to the place where sin was defeated, to look to his grace, to look to the love that he has for us.

We are able to see how much God loved us: because Jesus went to the cross.

We are able to see what forgiveness looks like: because Jesus went to the cross.

We are able to see what justice looks like.

We are able to see the cost of our sins.

We are able to see what God invites us into at the cross.

That is transforming.

With Christ, we no longer need the veil, as Moses did:

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 says:

But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Beholding the glory of the Lord, transformed from one degree of glory to another.

Look to the Lord and then live out what you see.

Jesus said “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

Have you ever meet someone, and you’ve never met them before, but you look at them and think “I bet they’re a Christian.”

You can just tell.

There’s like this inner light that you can sense.

Maybe you even asked them if they were…

May we all shine as light. Jesus said:

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16). 

It’s meant for all Christians  

It’s interesting. David doesn’t say “I looked at him and was radiant.”

Those who look to him are radiant.

It wasn’t something just for David. Whoever looks to the Lord. Whoever trusts in the Lord. Whoever places faith in Jesus.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear what you think, and don’t forget to subscribe! 

Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.

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