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To See God's Face

Our daily and eternal hope.

Psalm 17.15

"As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake."

This verse never ceases to amaze me. Beset by threats on every hand, David's great hope was what he expressed here. He trusted the Lord for his daily safety and wellbeing, of course, but his life orientation was beyond circumstances and even beyond time. Men may find fulfillment in riches and progeny. David will seek the Lord.

The phrase "when I awake" may have a double meaning. First, it seems to have an eternal focus: When I awake from this mortal life into the eternal presence of God. Thus David declared his ultimate hope, that toward which he aspired in all his life, that which gave meaning and direction to his thoughts and desires, as well as all his daily undertakings. He was resolved to increase in righteousness toward the day of his appearing before the throne of God (cf. 2 Cor. 7.1), so that, when he stood before the Judge of all flesh, he may be satisfied and at peace (vv. 2-5).

Second, this may refer to David's daily hope - to see the face of God and to increase in Him with each new day. David sought the vision of God exalted in glory as the daily framework or context, the orienting perspective of his life. This is what we see in many of his psalms, where he forces his soul into contemplation of his exalted King.

This is the work of meditation and, if David's example can be instructive, of singing and prayer, and perhaps even journaling. The face of God is associated with His Law and all His Word (Ps. 119.135) and the filling of the Spirit (Ezek. 39.29). Thus to set our souls on seeking the face of God requires immersion in His Word and Spirit at the beginning and throughout each day.

Paul certainly believed that this should be the believer's daily orientation and practice (Col. 3.1-3). If we ever begin to glimpse the beauty, majesty, splendor, goodness, light, and power of Christ in His glory, and to look upon His face (2 Cor. 4.6) and enter into His presence, joy, and pleasure (2 Cor. 3.12-18; Ps. 16.11), then our desire "when we awake" will be that of David and Paul, and we will know safety, confidence, peace, joy, and victory, regardless of the circumstances of our lives.

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