What does it mean to have God’s face shine on someone? (Psalm 119:135)

What does it mean to have God’s face shine on someone? (Psalm 119:135)

135 Make your face shine on your servant
    and teach me your decrees.--NIV

Psalms 119:135

ESV - 135 Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.

Clarify Share Report Asked March 22 2019 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Data Jeannette Shields Mom of three
The New Living Translation (NLT) says, “Look upon me with love; teach me your decrees.” The Amplified version says, “Make your face shine [with pleasure] upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes,” if these help you to understand.

March 24 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
This figure of speech is used in multiple places in the Bible -- most notably (I would say) in the benediction with which Israel's priests were commanded by God to bless the people, as given to Moses in Numbers 6:22-27.

In my opinion, the phrase conveys a sense of favor (in the same way that we speak today of one person's smile "beaming" upon another -- in imitation of the warmth, pleasantness, and beneficial effects (such as promoting the growth of crops) of the beaming of the sun -- being a sign of the first person's great happiness with, and good will toward, the other); and is also intended to indicate God providing a means of illumination to show humanity the spiritual path in which it should walk, so that it will not stray into the darkness, which is used throughout Scripture as a metaphor for evil or lack of spiritual knowledge or enlightenment.

March 24 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
"Face" in the Bible is used at times as a metaphor or symbol; sometimes it means Acceptance/Blessing (Face Shine on You) as in Num. 6:25, Ps. 4:6; 67:1, and Ps. 119:135.-- Wiersbe's Index of Biblical Images. When His face shines on someone, blessing and deliverance come (Ps. 4:6 again). See Psalm 4:6 where David appeals to the Lord to restore the well-being of the nation, using a common expression for favor (Ps 13:1).

When God hides His face from His people, He is disciplining them (Ps 13:1; 80:3-7), but the shining of His face upon them is a sign of His blessing (Ps 4:6; 67:1; Num. 6:25). 

As we walk with the Lord in freedom -- [Ps 119:133 "Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me."], we walk in the light and have nothing to hide. 


July 28 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Grant Abbott Child of Father, Follower of Son, Student of Spirit
The face of God is an amazing metaphor with multiple meanings. As mentioned in the other answers, when God shines his face on us it means that he is pleased with us - our relationship with him is intimate and personal, plus we are living in obedience to his commands.

The bible also says in Exodus 33:11 that "The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend." Having God's face shining on us, affirms that we are close friends, that God is present with us.

But I think the most important and powerful metaphor is that God's face is the ultimate expression of his glory. The glory of God reflects the nature and character of God. Let's consider this passage in Exodus 33:12-23:

"Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

Jesus said that no one has seen the face of God except for the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man - Jesus Christ. Jesus said that anyone who had seen him had seen his Father in heaven because Jesus is the exact image of God (John 1:18; John 6:46; John 14:6-14). We can finally see the face of God through the birth, life, ministry, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In my view, when we seek to know God in an intimate and personal way (as close friends) and we want to experience God's presence with us all the time, then God is pleased to reveal his glory (shine his face upon us). God reveals his glory TO US (we grow in our knowledge of God's nature and character); God reveals his glory IN US (he transforms our character to become like him; and God reveals his glory THROUGH US to show the world what he is like - we do greater things than Jesus did by the Holy Spirit.

After Moses encountered God's glory in such an intense way he left the mountain and his face was shining from being in the presence of God. The radiance gradually faded but the people of Israel knew that Moses had been in the presence of God and that God would always be with them as long as they remained faithful to him.

Paul picks up on this metaphor in 2 Corinthians 3:7-18 and concludes with this truth "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 

We display the Lord's glory as we are being transformed into image of Jesus Christ. When people see Christians whose faces appears to be shining, they are seeing the radiance of God's glory "UPON, INSIDE and FLOWING THROUGH us. We are glorifying God with our whole lives and that puts a smile on our Lord God Almighty's face.

July 29 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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