Do you know what the word ‘countenance’ means? Yeah. I didn’t either up until a few weeks ago. Now that I know though….I’m completely blown away. You will be, too.
It all started with a Jesus Culture song. Many of my revelations do for some reason. They are such a sound, Spirit-filled band. Their song, Light of Your Face, starts out like this:
Oh Lord bless me
And keep me
And cause Your face to shine on me
Lord be gracious
With the light of Your countenance
Give me peace.
Countenance. When I first heard them sing it – I was intrigued. But the party really got started when shortly after I noticed it in the song…I ran across the same word in Scripture. I took that as my cue to delve deeper.
Upon looking up every occurrence of the word ‘countenance’ in the NKJV Bible – I ran across a few treasures. Take a look at Numbers 6:24-26 with me:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
Sounds familiar. I love it when bands get their lyrics straight from Scripture. There’s something powerful that happens when we use The Word in worship. Anyhow, back to ‘countenance’. When I looked it up in the Hebrew lexicon, I discovered that the Hebrew word for ‘countenance’ is paniym
. It means ‘face’. And the root word is panah
. It means ‘to turn’. So the word ‘countenance’ in this verse literally means ‘to turn His face towards you.’ This gets me excited. Like super excited. If you don’t know why….read this.
Even if you do know why…fancy me and refresh your memory anyway. I just read it again my own self! The Lord’s face has been a huge theme for me this year. It’s changed my life, really.
That’s what’s so cool about all this. The Lord has ‘turned His face towards me’ so many times over the past few months. He pursued me and my doubt-filled heart – turning my puny, almost non-existent faith into a raging fire of faith and freedom. And just when my light needs a little rekindling….He does it again.
Great is His faithfulness.
What a beautiful picture all of this paints. For a Father to look upon…gaze upon…watch and turn His attention to…. His children – is just sweet. To have the attention of Abba – the ultimate Daddy – just makes me feel so pursued and sought after. What’s more…His face turning upon us doesn’t only mean that He has shifted His eyes towards us….it also means that His light is shining in our direction. We know from John’s vision in Revelation 1:16 that…
…His countenance was like the sun shining in it’s strength.
When we look for Him, yearn for Him, long for Him – He turns towards you. His eyes and His face cast a light on you – causing you to never ever be the same. Ever.
Oh friends – may we have a hunger and a thirst that fails to be satisfied by anything or anyone but Him. Can I shoot straight with ya for a sec? Ladies – the gaze of a man pales sadly in comparison to the gaze of your Lord. Remember that. His gaze is always good. Let’s long for the pure and holy eyes of The King – instead of the earthly, often times lustful eyes of man. And men – while your Savior graciously turns His gaze upon you…what will He find your gaze upon? Let it not be on a computer screen, or a magazine, or a pin-up or on the figure of a woman who isn’t wearing your ring. Let’s conduct ourselves like we know Him. (Sorry for the random tangent – it just fit.)
May we see Him facing us in all His glory. May we feel His light shining on us in all His warmth and realness. And may the realization that we were indeed created by a Creator who pursues – set us ablaze for His Kingdom cause and purpose.
Take it away Jesus Culture, take it away: