Face to Face

Dan Lovaglia, Camp Pastor, Camp Paradise | September 21, 2023

“But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
Exodus 33:20

The Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’
Numbers 6:25-26

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
Revelation 22:4-5

I’m confused. In Exodus 33:20, God refuses to show His face to Moses, but in Exodus 33:11 it says, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” What in the world is going on?! (Check it out in Exodus 33 for yourself!)

Do you ever get tripped up when you dig into the Bible? If you don’t, I’m not sure you’re reading the same book as the rest of us. In fact, there’s a reason it doesn’t all make sense, at least for now. You and I don’t see the whole story. There’s so much left to unfold, to be revealed, to be presented as divine reality. God is bigger than what our minds and hearts can comprehend. And when we try to wrap ourselves around Him by dissecting His Word, it’s easy to end up less confident in our conclusions than before. Getting tripped up and confused might bug you, but I think it’s a great place to be.

Rather than focus on figuring it all out, I encourage you to seek time with God face-to-face. He can’t be pressured by you or me to show up. He does so in His timing according to His character and promise to do so. Scripture weaves a beautiful tapestry of the Lord planning to be near His creation forever. He’s always been present, is now, and always will be. But will we look for Him?

Reading a passage like the Aaronic benediction in Numbers 6:25-26 stirs most human hearts. God wants us to know that He cares for you and me individually and collectively. How do we know? Because the whole biblical narrative demonstrates the Lord turning His face toward human faces, even when we can’t take it all in or don’t want to look back. It’s confusing, but it’s also comforting.

Like Moses in Exodus 33, we have the ability, through Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit, to connect with God face to face in the way friends interact. No, it’s not physically face to face, but Revelation 22 points to a future promise that’s hard to imagine this side of heaven. And confused as I may be today, that’s a future worth preparing for.

Next Steps 

Thanks to Jesus, we are righteous and pure in heart. Read Matthew 5:8 and ask the Lord to give you a glimpse of His character in action toward the world He created today.