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Bearing the Name in Babylon Pt 2

March 10, 2011 3 comments

Beholding the Shining Face
The Lord also promises to “make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.” Even as the faithful fall into Babylon, the promise of His Shining Face remains. Ezekiel beholds this Shining Glory on the banks of the Chebar canal. Standing alongside the captives, in the midst of the dark land, Ezekiel beholds the glory of the Lord.

This is the glory of the holy mountain coming down into the valley of the shadow of death. Moses is called up the mountain to behold the glory. It is from this place of beholding the Lord that Moses speaks the Law and proclaims the Word of the Lord to the Children of Israel.

In obedience to the Lord, Israel builds a Tabernacle and later a Temple where the glory of the Lord will dwell among His people. This glory is His favor, His intimacy, His presence. The Tabernacle and later the Temple serve as Mountains of the Lord. In fact, the Temple is built on Mt Zion. For the mountain is the place where man ascends between heaven and earth to behold the glory of the Lord.

This is the Aaronic blessing that the LORD “make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.” Long after the Temple burns and the mountain is far, far away, Ezekiel beholds the Shining Face. The blessing of the Name,the burden of the Name is the promise of God’s faithful presence even in the place of judgment. His people may enter into judgment of captivity, but He will join them in the land of the alien gods.

His Ever-Shining Face glorifies His people even as they suffer in the land of darkness. Paul knows the glory of the Shining Face in persecution, in suffering, in prison and even in despair. In 2 Corinthians, he expounds the depths of his suffering and wasting away while at the same exalting in the glory of the Shining Face that grows ever brighter even as Paul is growing ever weaker.

The desert, the prison, the dark places cannot extinguish the promise of His Shining Face, his gracious love that covers us, sustains us, renews us, and glorifies us. Though we face death all the day long nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ.

Categories: Lent
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