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What does it mean to seek God's face?

As the old saying goes, "the eyes are the window to the soul." When we look someone in the face, we are better able to gauge their mood and understand their thoughts. We will probably be able to tell if they are happy or sad. If we are looking someone in the face, we are prepared to actively listen to whatever they have to say. It is the same way with seeking God's face. When we talk about seeking God's face, it means we are seeking to know Him, understand His character, and hear His voice.

The Bible instructs us to seek God's face: "Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always" (Psalm 105:4, NIV). But why are we to seek God's face? The answer lies in the translation of the word "face." Different translations translate the word face as "presence." In the ESV, this verse is translated as: "Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!"

The Lord wants us to seek to spend time with Him in His presence more than anything else. He promises that we will find Him: "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13; see also Matthew 7:7–8). When we seek God, we get to know Him and we desire Him more than anything else. Psalm 63:1–3 expresses this strong desire: "O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you." When we seek God and find Him, it is bound to translate to praising Him.

How can we seek God's face? There are a few primary ways we can seek the face of God—His Word, prayer, and worship. When we read His Word, we learn His character and His ways. As we pray to God and spend time with Him, we learn to hear His voice. When we worship Him, He shows up as we welcome His presence.

When we seek and find God's face, we will see Him looking with favor and love toward us. The Old Testament refers to God's face shining on His people with grace and as a means of restoration and salvation (Numbers 6:24–26; Psalm 80:3, 7, 19). All who have put their faith in Jesus Christ have been forgiven and have become children of God (John 1:12; 3:16–18). When we genuinely seek God's face, we will come to understand His love and His holiness more deeply, and we will reflect His character more. When we seek God's face, we aren't approaching Him with a list of what we need and want; we approach God because we truly love Him and want to get to know Him better. We want to learn His character and behold His presence more than anything else, and we can trust that He knows what we need (Matthew 6:30–33).


Related Truth:

Seeking God — Why is it important?

Why should I spend time alone with God?

How can I come to really know God?

What is the key to hearing God's voice?

What is the significance of the command to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?


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