Looking on the beauty of God

Have you had one of those "never noticed that before" moments lately?

Huw Williams | 13:46, Thursday 03 October 2013 | Turin, Italy

We have spent the last two Sundays in ICT in Psalm 27 in ICT. I am struck by David's conclusion to this magnificent text:- 

'I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living
.' (v13)

As I was preparing my sermon, I hit Exodus 33 in my personal Bible reading, where we find the remarkable conversation between Moses and God:-

'Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory." And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no-one may see me and live." ' (Ex. 33:18-20)

Moses asks to see to see God's glory, and God agrees to show Moses His goodness. And this is something that Moses isn't only shown visually, but he is also shown God's goodness in word, as God speaks His name:-

'Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation." ' (Exodus 34:5-7)

This is a remarkable event in the whole of scripture; which of us wouldn't wish for what Moses experienced that day, as he was shown the goodness of God? And coming back to Psalm 27, it is striking that David is absolutely confident that this will be his own experience also, to gaze on the goodness of God, 'in the land of the living.' And where does his confidence come from? From the loving character of God - this is something God will act to put into effect - and David will wait patiently for it.

It is hard to imagine that these texts weren't in John's mind when he wrote the prologue to his gospel:-

'The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' " From the fulness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No-one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.' (John 1:14-18)

While many of us crave the 'mountain top' experiences, it is clear to the NT writers that the privilege of gazing on the goodness of God is something which is now available to all of God's people. The goodness of God is on display in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. Moses experienced it, David looked forward to it, and so isn't it about time that we woke up to the privilege which is ours, since God has now made gazing on His own beauty freely available to all of us who will stop to look at His Son?

'He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.' (Colossians 1:15)

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