Blogmas Day 19: “Holy” — Worship Pt. 4

As you can probably tell, with the exception of the fourth Sunday in Advent, I have pretty much run out of hymns/classical Christmas/Advent songs to post, and I am now in my second comfort zone: Contemporary Christian Music, also known as CCM, with some modern gospel sprinkled in.

Today’s song is “Holy” by Kim Walker-Smith of Jesus Culture.

Just one look on Your face
Just one glance of Your eyes
My whole world is changed
my whole world is changed

Oh I seek only to see Your face
I don’t wanna go anywhere without You God
Without Your presence
Oh let me see Your face
The beauty of Your holiness God
Take me into the holy place

And only one word comes to mind
There’s only one word to describe

Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty

There is no one like You
You are Holy
Holy


I think I’m beginning to annoy even myself with how repetitive my posts are becoming. On the bright side, I am sensing a theme here: worship and adoration.

We talked about adoration yesterday, but I really think the lyrics of this song give us an accurate image of what that looks like.

Walker-Smith sings:

Oh I seek only to see Your face
I don’t wanna go anywhere without You God
Without Your presence
Oh let me see Your face
The beauty of Your holiness God
Take me into the holy place”

This is what I imagine adoration to look like. It’s like when Moses longed to see the face of God. In reality, God’s glory was so profound–so overwhelming–that if any human saw it, they would die, but God told Moses to hide behind a rock so that he would not be overpowered by the weight and brilliance of God’s glory. When God passed by Moses, Moses was only allowed to see the back of God as He passed by (Exodus 33:12-23).

So, for this reason, we have to think of the face of God in a metaphorical sense. God’s face is a symbol of God’s favor. The first time we see God’s face referred to in this context is in Genesis 4:14, after Cain murders his brother Abel out of jealousy. (Background: Cain and Abel both present offerings/sacrifices to the Lord. Cain is a vegetable farmer and brings vegetables. Abel brings an animal sacrifice to God. God accepts Abel’s offering, but not that of his brother). Cain tells God, “Today you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face; I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me” (NRSV).

Similarly, in Genesis 32:30, after Jacob wrestles with an unknown man whom he later surmises to have been a divine messenger, he says: “I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved” (NRSV).

God punishes people who disobey Him by “set[ting His] face against them” (Leviticus 20, NRSV). In Deuteronomy, the language is “hide my face” (Deut. 31, 32).

In a more positive light, the Aaronic priestly blessing in Numbers 6 includes the line, “the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;” indicating God’s favor (Num. 6:25, NRSV).

Similarly, seeing one’s face is a sign of respect. It is disrespectful to turn away from another person or stand with your back toward them when they are speaking to you. It indicates a total disregard for what they have to say, whereas looking them in the face is usually a sign that you are paying attention.

Linguistically, this word “face” comes from a Hebrew word called paneh or panim (meaning “face” or “faces”, depending on the suffix). This word has more meanings than just the one we are discussing, such as surface (the surface of the waters at creation or of the earth), the open firmament or heavens, the presence of the Lord, someone’s actual face, i.e. countenance, or even a preposition meaning before or in front of (Strong’s Concordance, 6440).

One good thing is that we don’t have to worry about the same risks that come with seeing the face of God or experiencing the glory of God. In 2 Corinthians 3, the author writes: “Since, then, we have such a hope, (i.e. the greater glory that came through Christ), we act with great boldness, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside….And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as if reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:12-18, NRSV).

What I think this refers to is the Holy Spirit within us. I don’t believe it refers to the Imago Dei (Image of God), because the concept of Imago Dei has been around since the beginning. However, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (rather than just empowerment or having the Spirit rest upon you) is something that came from Jesus. Since Jesus sent us His Spirit, whenever we look at other believers, it is like looking at Jesus Himself (or even God). We don’t need to hide behind a veil or a cleft in the rock. Instead, looking at each other is like looking in a mirror. It may not be the same intensity as looking directly at God, but as the Spirit continues to work in us, we become even closer to experiencing God’s glory.

Benjamin_West_-_Joshua_passing_the_River_Jordan_with_the_Ark_of_the_Covenant_-_Google_Art_Project

By Benjamin West – 1QFKub9RpoHOHg at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21997572

 

 

 

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