I was reading Psalm 27:8 and soon found myself crying out to God, “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’ ” Then I heard the Holy Spirit ask me, “Why?”
There was a moment of silence because I’ve never thought of the ‘why’ apart from seeking Him to know Him more. And so, gleaning from the prophet Ezekiel’s wise reply in Ezekiel 37:3, I replied, “O Sovereign Lord, You alone know the answer to that.” Then the Holy Spirit continued, “It’s so that you’ll not be deceived!”
Immediately, I understood what He was telling me because, just the other day, I was walking in the shopping mall when suddenly I felt a little hand grab mine. The toddler seemed oblivious to what just happened and was rather comfortable with that. We walked for a short distance before he looked up, saw my face and realised I wasn’t his dad! He was shocked and immediately let go of his hand and started looking for his parents who were calmly trailing us, just playing along.
Or, if I showed you three identical pairs of hands and asked you to identify mine, would you be able to guess correctly? Probably not. But if I showed you the three corresponding faces and asked you to identify me, it should be quite obvious to point out the ‘real’ me.
In Psalm 103:7, we were told that God ‘made known His ways to Moses’ but He only showed ‘His acts to the Children of Israel.’ The Children of Israel only wanted God’s hands – what He could provide and do for them, whereas Moses was after God’s face, to know Him for Who He was. The Children of Israel saw God’s acts, deeds, and miracles. Moses, however, desired to understand God’s ways, character, and nature. The people knew what God did, but Moses knew God. The people were contented with the gifts, but Moses pursued the Giver. Bill Johnson put it this way, “Seeing God’s works lead us to understand His ways. Understanding His ways lead us to His face.”
We’re created to ‘look for faces, not hands.’ Have you noticed that, whenever you take group photos, the first thing you look for is your face? Whether you look nice or not, do you need to do a retake, etc. So far, I’ve not come across anyone who’d look at their hands first to determine if they needed a retake.
Jesus said that in the last days, “Many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold” (Matt 24:10-12).
The reality of deception is that the one who’s deceived usually doesn’t know it. When we seek God only in times of need, we’re just like the Children of Israel described in Psalm 103:7 who had no desire to seek God’s face, His heart, and His ways. These people can be easily deceived, much like the little boy who held my hand by mistake, thinking he was holding his father’s hand – until he saw my face!
How then can we guard ourselves from being among the ‘many’ who will be deceived? When you seek God’s face and desire to know truth in your heart. To know truth, you have to love truth. If you love Jesus, you have to love truth, because He is THE Truth (John 14:6). King David cried out in Psalm 51:6, “I know that You delight to set Your truth deep in my spirit. So come into the hidden places of my heart and teach me wisdom.” When you embrace truth, it shall set you free (John 8:32) and develop discernment in you to detect deception, especially from ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’.
To differentiate real money from fake notes, you study what the real ones look like. There’s no point studying all the fake notes because these can come in many different variations. But, once you know the ‘real thing’, anything that doesn’t look or feel like it is a counterfeit. The enemy may be able to imitate some ‘acts of God’, but he can’t impersonate the ‘ways of God’.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 warns us that the enemy will use every kind of evil deception, counterfeit power, signs and miracles to fool those who ‘refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.’ We need to heed this warning and allow God’s truth to guard our hearts, and be a courageous ‘speaker of truth’ in our time.
May the Lord give us an undivided heart for Him. And here’s a wonderful promise in Psalm 67:1-2 for us to press into – that when God’s face shines on us, it’ll cause salvation among all nations! Your face, Lord, will I seek!
Ps. Kevin Koh