The Banner Of Truth 2014
Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. (Psalm 60:4 )

"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
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The Face of the Lord
By Michael Zaucha

 
When the Scripture uses the word “face,” it uses it in a wide range of meanings. At the burning bush when Moses hid his face from the God of his father Abraham, it was declared to be an expression of fear, for he was afraid to look upon God (Ex. 3:6). When Almighty God talked with Abram, “Abram fell on his face” (Gen. 17:1-3) revealing his humility before God, and when Jesus steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem (Lk. 9:51) this revealed His determination above any and all other things to do Thy will O God.
 
When the Scripture speaks of the face of the Lord it does so in a revelation of the very Person and Divine Character of God, making known His glory and power: “Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before Thy face” (Ps. 89:14).  What God does is an exact manifestation of who He is.
 
And to those upon whom the face of the Lord is seen, the benefits of His favor are received: “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of Thy countenance.  In Thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in Thy righteousness shall they be exalted.  For Thou art the glory of their strength: and in Thy favour our horn shall be exalted” (Ps. 89:15-17).
 
When the face of the Lord is towards you – or from our perspective, when we can see His face, now, by faith - it reveals a most favorable position, one in which God favors you, receives you and accepts you. God hears you, your cries and petitions. “Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord” (Lam. 2:19), “For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath He hid His face from him; but when he cried unto Him, He heard” (Ps. 22:24).
 
The Apostle Peter would make known who these favored ones of the Lord are: “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers,” but the Apostle was quick to point out that there is another perspective concerning the face of the Lord; that being, if His face is turned from you, it reveals not only God’s disapproval but also His rejection of you and Him being against you: “but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (I Pet. 3:12).
 
The prophets revealed that which made the face of the Lord turn and hide His face from you: “your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that he will not hear’ (Isa. 59:2); “Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before His face” (Ezek. 14:4), “And I will set My face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I set My face against them” (Ezek. 15:7).
 
In Moses and the prophets are recorded times that Israel sinned against God, and because of their sin, they experienced the pain, harm and sorrow of being separated from the face of the Lord. God’s righteous judgment against them drove them from His presence into times of captivity away from His face.
 
But the Scripture also makes known the effect of man’s sin that it had upon God Himself, their Creator.  God was not immune from the pain and sorrow of being separated from them. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart” (Gen. 6:5-6).
 
Later, God would reveal His grief over the very ones He took by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt: “Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known My ways:  Unto whom I sware in My wrath that they should not enter into My rest” (Ps. 95.10-11). At the root of this word “grieve” is not only of displeasure but also that of hurt and sorrow.
 
The truth of the matter is that sin – then and now - does cause harm and pain to all parties involved, but God had purposed that His Spirit shall not always strive with man (Gen. 6:3), and God made provision for this to occur in the sending of His Beloved Son to “reconcile all things to Himself (Col. 1:20).
 
In order to accomplish this most wonderful work, God’s Son would have to take upon Himself the form of a servant, and being made in the likeness of man (Phil. 2:7-8), Jesus was enabled to be touched with feeling of our infirmities (Heb. 4:15), which included that of separation from God, of God turning His face from Him because of sin, because of our sin.
 
Remember the One of whom we are speaking of here: “For David speaketh concerning Him (Jesus), I foresaw the Lord always before My face, for He is on My right hand, that I should not be moved” (Acts 2:25). This is not only speaking of God’s nearness to His Son during the time of His sojourning on the earth, but also reveals that this nearness had been Theirs from the beginning. The NASB reads this way: “I WAS ALWAYS BEHOLDING THE LORD IN MY PRESENCE.” This is the One that was with God – with God not only in presence but also in desire, purpose and working – and was God. The same was in the beginning with God (Jn. 1:1-2).
 
In order for men to be “brought to God,” God had to put away that stumblingblock of iniquity from before His face, and God did it when He made Jesus to be sin for us, who knew no sin (II Cor. 5:21). In Jesus’ bearing the sins of the many (Heb. 9:28) in His own body on the tree (I Pet. 2:24), God turned His face from Jesus and Jesus – by Himself (Heb. 1:3) – bore the full judgment of that turning.
 
On the cross, Jesus tasted of the cursing of God. Jesus was stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. Jesus was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities (Isa. 53:4-5). All this revealing the truth of God’s turning his face from his Son. And being more than He could bear: “at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mk. 15:34).
 
Jesus truly partook of the judgment of being separated from God, but still He trusted in God. “Though He slay Me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15), for the last words Jesus spoke from the cross reveal His trust in God: “Jesus cried with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit: and having said thus, He gave up the ghost” (Lk. 23:46).
 
In His wrath, God remembered mercy (Hab. 3:2), the sure mercies that God had promised to His Beloved Son (Acts 13:34), and the mercies promised to those whom Jesus died for: “For a small moment have I forsaken Thee; but with great mercies will I gather Thee.  In a little wrath I hid My face from Thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on Thee, saith the LORD Thy Redeemer.  For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with Thee, nor rebuke Thee.  For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from Thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on Thee.”
 
Because of Jesus’ faithfulness in doing the will of God, God would recompense Him with His own house; “whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb. 3:5-6), one that the heavenly hosts had not been given to see – one that would make the habitation of God with men (Eph. 2:22; I Pet. 2:5; Rev. 21:3): “O Thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay Thy stones with fair colours, and lay Thy foundations with sapphires.  And I will make Thy windows of agates, and Thy gates of carbuncles, and all Thy borders of pleasant stones.  And all Thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of Thy children” (Isa. 54:7-13).
 
The putting away of sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9:26), and our receiving the atonement (Rom. 5:11), shouts of our justification before God: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). This great peace we have now, with the stumblingblock of iniquity being removed before His face by the blood of Christ, we do partake of the glory of His work: “therefore I have seen Thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and Thou wast pleased with me” (Gen. 33:10). Brethren, He hath made us accepted in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6). 
 
And let us hold fast to His continuing promise to all those in Christ Jesus; “Neither will I hide My face any more from them: for I have poured out My Spirit upon (them), saith the Lord GOD” (Ezek. 39:29).
 
Therefore, because of the wonderful works of God in Christ Jesus that we do partake of now, let us be quick as the people who have received of the Lord God: “unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto Thee do we give thanks” (Ps.75:1). --Michael Zaucha 

 
 
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"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).