Is there anything more captivating than baby’s first smiles? And how enchanting is that smile of delight from your beloved as those eyes light up on meeting yours across a crowded room when you arrive unexpectedly. Smiles are among the unique abilities bestowed by the Creator on the human race – facial expressions denied to animals. So, how many times do you suppose the word ‘smile’ is found in Scripture? Simply none! But, hold it! Surely, ‘the happy God’ (as 1 Timothy 1:11 could be translated) must smile often? So, let’s try to hunt down some more subtle clues to God’s own practice of smiling. Such requests as: ‘The Lord make his face to shine on you’ (Numbers 6:25), and ‘Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!’ (Psalm 4:6) must indicate that the speaker was expecting a responsive smile of divine delight, don’t you think? After all, such opposite phrases as ‘her face clouded over’ and ‘a face like thunder’ suggest a frown of disapproval, or some facial expression of disbelief, confusion, disgust or anger.
A day in the life of those on whom God smiles
- They enjoy a blessed schedule … According to Psalm 89:15, ‘Blessed are the people who … walk, O Lord, in the light of your face,’… all day long:
(a) ‘Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!’ – God smiles on them like the breaking dawn of a new day;
(b) ‘You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound’ – they enjoy a profitable day’s work;
(c) and a safe night – ‘In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety’ (Psalm 4:6-8).
- They enjoy individual acceptance … ‘[R]escue me from…my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; … O Lord, let me nor be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame’ (Psalm 31:15-17).
…and personal renewal in obedient discipleship: ‘Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes’ (Psalm 119:135).
- They are corporately restored as God’s sanctuary: ‘Restore us, O God; let your face shine that we may be saved!’ (Psalm 80:3,7,19) – through ‘the man of your right hand [David’s descendant], the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself! [the exalted Lord Jesus]. Then we shall not turn back from you’ [as we would have done had God scowled at us] (verses Psalm 80:17-18). Like Daniel in Babylon, let us pray: ‘Make your face shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate’ (Daniel 9:17; 2 Corinthians 6:16, ‘we are the temple of the living God’).
- They are God’s means of gospel proclamation and demonstration worldwide:
‘May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that … [there] may be known … your saving power among all nations’ (Psalm 67:1). Here again, Christ is the answer. ‘[W]e proclaim … Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness”, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Corinthians 4:5-6).
* So, let’s bring a smile to God’s face!