It is the privilege of every child of God not only to converse with the heavenly Father but also to behold His glory. With our natural eyes, we cannot see the face of God, because such glory would be so overwhelming that we could not endure it and live. But our Spirit can behold God’s glory.
To see His glory is to get to know God better and to get a clear understanding of who He is. Our souls are filled with reverence, wonder, and great joy when we behold His glory. Some day in our eternal home, we shall see His majesty face to face. Yet even today, we can get a glimpse of His glory, a foretaste of that bliss. Once we have seen a glimmer of the indescribable glory of God, our souls be will filled with the joy that is the privilege of every child of God. After the Psalm writer had this experience, he cried out: “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4). When we have seen His glory and majesty, the glory of this world dims and loses its appeal for us. To dwell in the house of the Lord – where he could behold the glory of God – was the burning desire of David. In our context, to be in God’s house means to be in the presence of the Lord, to have fellowship with the Lord. This can take place when we are reading His Word, when we are praying, when we have devotions with our family, or when we are in a public church service. In all these instances, we should be seeking to see the glory of the Lord. We may take part in a prayer meeting or church service, but if we have not had at least a glimpse of the glory of the Lord, then in the truest sense, we have not been in the house of the Lord.
It is not God’s fault but our own if we do not see His glory. He desires to reveal Himself to us. To which of us do the words of Jesus apply: “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me?” (John 14:9) What can keep us from seeing the glory of God?
First of all, we must be willing to see. To look to the Lord encompasses much. There is effort involved. Think of what it takes for an artist to paint a landscape scene. As the artist studies the landscape, many things become apparent that a casual observer will never notice. Likewise, a scientist describing the beauty of a spider web or the intricacy inherent in the wing of a wasp will point out wonderful details most of us will not even notice. Precious metals are found by those willing to search for them and then bear the cost of excavation. Genuine pearls are discovered by those willing to get them from the ocean floor. After a prolonged struggle, Jacob could say that he beheld the face of God. “So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: ‘For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved’” (Genesis 32:30).
A second reason why we do not see the glory of God is because we are too busy looking at other things. Focusing on the peripheral may lead to dismay. In the book of Isaiah, we read “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). Looking at upsetting circumstances instead of God discourages us. Instead, we should focus on God’s willingness to help us. That will help us see His glory. Elijah sought the face of God, and fire fell from heaven. Yet, the following day he focused on the threats of Jezebel and feared for his life. When Peter looked at the waves, and no longer at Jesus, he began to sink. Hagar could not see the spring of water as long as she looked at the empty water container that she had used to quench her thirst up until then. In order to save her from dying of thirst, God did not need to create a spring of water but merely make her aware of a spring that was already there.
The man of God prayed: “Open my eyes, that I may see the wondrous things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18). Oh that God would also open our eyes so that we may see the precious treasures that He has in store for us. Oh that the veil may be taken from our eyes so that we could see the glory of the Lord! If we focus too much on material things, then our spiritual eyes will be unable to discern that which cannot be seen by the naked eye. Let us turn our focus away from the temporal things that will pass away with time and concentrate on eternal things that will never pass away. Let us look to Jesus and behold His glory. The effort is worth it.