Thursday, August 25, 2016

Our Father’s Face

Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved! —Psalm 80:3

Asaph, the author of this psalm, looked north from his vantage point in Jerusalem and saw Judah's sister state, Israel, collapse under the weight of the Assyrian Empire. With her buffer state gone, Judah was vulnerable to invasion from all sides—Assyria from the north, Egypt from the south and the Arab nations from the east. She was out-numbered, out-matched, out-gunned. 

Asaph gathers up his fears in a prayer, three times repeated (80:3,7,18), "Let your face shine that we may be saved." (“Let me see your smile.”)

Faces are us. A frown, a sullen look, a smile and crinkly eyes—reveal what we feel about others. Our faces are our "tell."

I remember my father's face. It was hard to read. (He was a kind man, but stoic and self-contained.) As a child, I often searched his face, looking for a smile, or other show of affection. 

It's good to look away from our fears and search our Heavenly Father's face, though it too is not always easy to read. The best way to see God’s face is to look at the Cross, and "the man of His right hand, the son of man whom He made strong!" (80:17). The Cross is His "tell" (John 3:16). Good Friday is God's smile writ large! 

So know this: When your Father looks at you, he has a great big smile on His face. You're very safe!

As, hungering for his father's face and eyes, 
The child throws wide the door, back to the wall,
I run to Thee, the refuge from poor lies...
George MacDonald, The Diary of an Old Soul, December 15

David Roper

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