August 2, 2020
Wouldn’t it be convenient if the Old Testament had been written in English? But it wasn’t. It was written in Hebrew, a language that would have been lost had it not been preserved in the Bible. Occasionally, English translations don’t quite convey the meaning of the Bible’s Hebrew words and phrases. I’ve learned that the Hebrew phrase translated “Your presence” actually says, “Your face[s]”.
For example, when God threatened to send an angel to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land instead of leading them Himself, Moses pleaded, “If Your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here...” (Ex 33:15). The Hebrew says, “If Your face[s] will not go with me….” The Lord told Aaron to bless the people of Israel saying, “The Lord make His face to shine upon you” and “The Lord lift up His countenance [face] upon you” (Nu 6:25, 26). But because the Israelites rebelled against God (see Ex 23:20-21, 24), they couldn’t even gaze at the reflected glory on Moses’ face after he had met “face to face” with the Lord in the Tent of Meeting (Ex 33:11, 2 Co 3:12-15).
In a very practical demonstration of the Aaronic blessing, God sent His Son to be with His people, not as an ethereal “presence”, but as a person with a face that looked at them and loved them (Mk 10:21). Jesus told Philip, “Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). Faces are personal. I so appreciate the Prayercast videos precisely because my heart melts at seeing so many Muslim faces.
Long before Moses, God met Hagar the slave in the desert and told her she would have a son who would be free and that He would multiply her offspring. “So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen Him who looks after me” (Ge 16:10, 12-14). Just as I believe God’s name for Ishmael, “God hears”, was prophetic of a time in the future when the Father would hear the cries of Muslims (who regard Ishmael as a spiritual forbear) and call them home, I believe Hagar’s name for God was prophetic of a time when Muslims would see Jesus in dreams and visions. We hear many such testimonies now.
The Islamic festival of Eid Al Adha runs from evening on July 30 to August 3. It celebrates Abraham, so devoted to God he was willing to sacrifice his son (whom Islam teaches was Ishmael) before God provided a lamb. Families and friends get together to enjoy fellowship, reconcile relationships and ask forgiveness, eat together and care for others. Muslim-background believers leading movements in over 150 nations have asked for “a day [Friday, July 31] of strategic prayer, of blessing and spiritual breakthrough as many will risk their lives to share the Gospel”. Their prayer requests are below in bold. My additions are in regular font.
- God would reveal His Father’s heart as the One who cares for them and wants to show them His face.
- Signs, wonders, dreams and visions would reveal Jesus Christ (see Jn 14:10-11).
- The Father would empower His children to boldly and sensitively share His love and forgiveness with Muslims.
- Pray the believers’ faces would radiate God’s glory such that Muslims would see Jesus in them. “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Co 4:6).
- Satan would be bound and all who share Jesus would encounter remarkable favor with open hearts and homes as well as miraculous protection in dangerous situations.
- That personal, face-to-face relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would distinguish Muslim-background believers just as Moses described His relationship with the Israelites (Ex 33:16) and would result in today’s Jews becoming envious unto salvation (Ro 11:11-12). This is family reconciliation.