When Isaiah received a vision from God his response was, "Woe to me, I am ruined... my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." (Isaiah 6:5) John, when seeing the full glory of Jesus on his throne fell "as though dead." I wrote before about Elijah finding God in the whisper. When he heard that sound, he "pulled his cloak over his face" before going out to meet the Lord. After Moses met with God to establish his Law, his face glowed because of God's glory; so much so that he had to wear a veil to cover it. And Jacob named the place he wrestled with God Peniel because "I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." (Genesis 32:30)
Gazing upon the Lord casually is dangerous. I don't think Tozer's description of it being "easy" is the same as being casual. However, I think we need to keep these lessons from the Bible in mind when in faith we seek God's face.
The face of God in the Bible is also a sign of favor. Frequently the prophets warned Israel that God would "turn his face against" them. The Psalmist would cry, "do not hide your face from me" when in anguish and would often "seek [God's] face" for comfort.
"My heart says of you, 'Seek his face!'
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior."
So no, when the eyes of our heart seek out God we do not just see "friendly eyes" looking back at us, we see the full glory of God's face. Yet because of Jesus, we do not need to tremble with fear or hide our face behind a veil. "But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away... And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:16-18)
Because of Jesus, we receive God's favor and comfort knowing he will never turn his face away in anger. We can see him face to face and not only live, but live a new life.
"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face." (1 Corinthians 13:12)
This blog is part of a book club reading The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. Please join the discussion here and at our hosts, Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter. Need a copy of the book? You can get it for free on Kindle.