fearing the face

082214

Exodus 9:29-35

29 Moses told him, “When I have gone out of the city, I will reach out my hands to the LORD. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the land is the LORD’s. 30 But I know that you and your servants do not yet fear the face of the LORD God.” 31 (The flax and the barley were struck down, because the barley was fresh and the flax was in bud. 32 But the wheat and the spelt were not struck down, because they are late in coming up.) 33 So Moses went outside the city, away from Pharaoh and reached out his hands to the LORD, and the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured upon the earth. 34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he failed to keep his promise yet again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not send the sons of Israel away, just as the LORD had predicted. through Moses.

fearing the face

The expression mifney ‘adonai in Hebrew: “face of the LORD” , or “presence of the LORD” is usually untranslated, but it is associated with fear in all nine verses where it is found.[1] Moses and Pharaoh serve to contrast what it means to fear the LORD’s face. Both were strong, determined men, so fearing the LORD’s face did not mean that Moses was timid and Pharaoh was bold. No, the difference was of a different kind:

1. Moses’ fear of the LORD’s face led him to serve the LORD, not to hide from him.

2. Moses’ fear of the LORD’s face enabled him to reach out to the LORD in prayer.

3. Moses’ fear of the LORD’s face gave him the courage to leave the protection of the city, and pray in the open field, even while the fatal hailstorm was raging.

4. Pharaoh’s lack of fear of the LORD’s face led him to serve himself, even making promises he never intended to keep, because he was not obliged to consider the LORD’s judgment.

5. Pharaoh’s lack of fear of the LORD’s face invited a hardening of his heart. He remained in the “I can handle this “ mode, and so God hardened him to the pain that his stubbornness was causing to all those around him.

The paradox is this: sin causes us to fear the LORD’s presence because we are guilty, but the LORD’s presence is our only means of dealing with sin. When we stubbornly seek to handle things ourselves, we are – in essence – hiding from the only solution to our problem.

LORD, we confess that we fear you, because we are sinners. Yet, by your grace, we will enter your presence and seek your face. We trust in your atoning work. We cannot fix us. So we seek your face.


[1] Gen. 3:8; Exod. 9:30; Judg. 5:5; 2 Kgs 22:19; Jer. 4:26; 23:9; Hag. 1:12; Zech. 2:17; Mal. 3:14. {The Kethiv is mifney Yehovah}.

About Jefferson Vann

Jefferson Vann is a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can contact him at marmsky@gmail.com -- !
This entry was posted in courage, faith, fear, relationship with God, repentance and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s