Are We Going Up, or is He Coming Down?

In the Old Testament, it’s a big deal that people can’t see God’s face directly.  Over and over again, we are told story after story about how someone was allowed to talk to God, but not to see His face, or they would die.  It all was symbolic of how Holy God is, and our sin.  He is so amazing, we are not His equal, and we don’t get to look Him in the eye and talk to Him like someone we are equal to.  It makes sense.

So, I was wondering, when God tells the priests a blessing to pray over the people in Numbers 6, why did He tell them this one? 

24 “ ‘ “The Lord bless you
and keep you;

25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;

26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.” ’ 

If they aren’t supposed to see God’s face, how is praying that God will turn His face towards them a blessing?  It sounds like a prayer for the people to die, in a way.  

As I was wondering about this, I think it’s all about the subject of the sentence.  I know, I know, I’m pulling grammar and English out on you.  Sorry.  But think about it.  We are told not to look at the face of God, or we will die.  (Again, remember, God is spirit.  He doesn’t have a “face” the way we think of it.  It’s all a symbol.  Okay, back to our regular scheduled programming.)  But in this prayer, they call out for God to turn His face towards us.  To show grace to us.  To make us pure.  To come to our level.  It’s not that we ascend to be like God.  It’s a prayer that God will descend to be like us.

That’s crazy!  This prayer of blessing, which the priests prayed daily from that point on, was pointing to the need for God to come for us, not us getting to Him.  I LOVE it!!

So, yeah, today here is my prayer for you:

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” 

May He come for you today.