Tuesday, August 20, 2013
From the Personal to the Prophetic
Psa. 67:1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
Psa. 67:2 that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Psa. 67:3 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
This beautiful Psalm begins by expressing the beauty of the personal relationship with God. The Psalmist cries out for God's personal grace to reach out to each and every single individual -- that God's face would shine upon us. From there it moves to the prophetic, for in this Psalm we see a glimpse of the Great Commission. It is in the personal relationship with God that he is to be glorified, and in this, the world will see God. The power of God is revealed in his saving grace. Therefore, all the people of the earth are called to praise the Lord!
The very first verse of this Psalm brings us to an understanding of God's grace. It is humanity that has turned their backs on God. Even in the midst of our sin God continues to turn toward us and reach out toward those who are lost. The prayer of the Psalmist is for God's face to shine upon us -- a representation of God's presence emanating from him, continually reaching out toward his beloved humanity.
Now, let's turn the question around. Are we turned toward him? The only way that we can be a reflection of his face is for us to be facing him. In sin we turned away, but we must take responsibility to respond to his grace, to turn around in repentance, lifting our faces to God, our Father, the creator of all things and allow his face to shine upon us. What happens in that moment is a restoration of the relationship that God intended for all of humanity -- one in which we are face to face and nose to nose with our God. His face shines on us and the reflection seen within us is the glory of his majestic presence.
Sometimes, however, the glory of that presence makes others uncomfortable, including others who may call themselves followers of God. Moses grew so close to God and spent so much time face to face with God that he literally glowed. The people of Israel asked him to cover his face because they couldn't stand to see it. There is some truth in the fact that the closer we draw to God the more that our relationship with him grows from the personal to the prophetic. My personal walk with the Lord becomes a reflection of God's grace and glory that shines light into the dark corners of other peoples' lives and this may make them feel uncomfortable -- especially people who call themselves followers of God -- but don't want to go deeper in their walk with the Lord. Instead, they would prefer that we would cover ourselves up and that they would not see God reflected in our behaviors. It would certainly make them more comfortable.
Our purpose in life is not to make other Christians comfortable. Our purpose is to clearly reflect the image of God to a needy world. That means that you and I must, personally, be in a right relationship with God so that we can reflect his glory to others. Then his way will be "known upon earth" and his "saving power among all nations." We become the living testimonies to the transformational grace and power of God and the result is not that we are praised, but that God is glorified in all the earth.
Where are we in the journey from the personal to the prophetic? There can be no reluctance on our part for we cannot have one without the other. Do not be afraid to be a shining reflection of God's glory today -- do not cover up what he wants to do in your life. Be a blinding reflection of God and in doing so you will be a living testimony to the world.
Lord, may you be gracious and shine upon me today. Amen.