“And He said, ‘You will not be able to see my face, for no man can see me and live.’”
The language of not being able to see the face of God and live is language that will be picked up later in the New Testament by both John (John 1:18) and Paul (1 Timothy 6:16). God is infinite and incomprehensible to a finite mind. This prohibition is not meant to keep us from knowing God (indeed, he has given us his Son and his Word so that we might know him), but it is meant to spare us from destruction. To gaze upon his face would be like gazing upon the Sun; it is beautiful beyond comprehension and would sear our eyes forever. So too, is God too wonderful for fallen man to set his eyes upon–yet, God has given us his Son, so that our finite eyes might gaze upon the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15) and we might see the glory of the Father revealed in the Son.
Oh, what a wonderful theme to reflect on for a time—seeing the face of God. Sin has separated us from that blessing and redemption through Christ makes seeing his face something that we will experience once again in heaven. In the face of God are glory, truth, and all beauty; there is radiance and joy for the believer and wrath and judgment for the unbeliever. Redemption, hope, and peace can all be found when God’s face shines upon us. Believer, let the hope of seeing God’s face fully revealed permeate into your very being; let it color the way you live, behave, and interact with the world. It is a great promise that we have been given in Christ and this promise will sustain us through even the darkest of days. Let the things of God become part of the very fabric of your soul that you may never be separated from them and that they will clothe you with hope even when it seems that all hope is gone. Trust and hope in these promises, loved ones, and share them with your children and grandchildren, for these promises are for all who would trust in Christ for their salvation.