Random thought today. Recently in my daily Scripture reading I came across the story of the shining face of Moses. It’s an interesting tale: Moses comes down from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments and freaks everyone out because “his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.” They aren’t used to their leaders glowing, so they put a veil over his face.
I don’t think this was some kind of special miracle God performed in order to validate Moses’ leadership, I think it was simply a by-product of spending so much time in the presence of God. Moses absorbed so much of God’s glory that it was leaking out of his face. He was glowing with the glory of God.
The same kind of thing happens to Jesus on the mount of Transfiguration, where his appearance is “changed,” and his whole body became radiant, revealing to the disciples what had been true the whole time, that Jesus was completely saturated with God’s glory.
Paintings of saints oftentimes include a halo of light over and around the head. I’ve always assumed this was a figurative symbol of holiness, but I sometimes wonder if it isn’t a more literal depiction of something people could actually see. I wonder if the reason Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed was that their bodies were literally clothed in the light of God’s glory, and when they sinned the “light went out,” exposing them.
Paul writes that if Moses’ ministry came with this kind of glory, “will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?” We who are in Christ, who “with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory.” I’m not saying we’ll necessarily glow, but this kind of radiant, transforming glory is our destiny and privilege. It’s a picture of the river of living water that is meant to be flowing from our lives.
But it doesn’t happen automatically. Like Moses, we have to spend time in His presence, “contemplating the Lord’s glory.” We can’t expect to throw up a few prayers a week and be transformed. This kind of glory is for gazers, not glancers.
The Psalmist declares that “those who look to Him are radiant,” Not those who occasionally glance at him when they’re in trouble. Those who are being transformed are those who are making it their habit to spend time gazing.
We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place (Heb 10:19-25), and are invited to draw near to God in full assurance of faith. We’ve been given access to the very throne room of God. We’ve been invited to the Most Holy Place to gaze on the Lord’s glory. If we do, we’ll be transformed from one degree of glory to another, “soaking up” more and more of what we need to join God in the renewal of all things.
It’s for gazers, though, not glancers. Because of that, I’m working hard to carve out more time in my schedule for gazing.