The psalmist says in verse 15, “I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.” He thinks that his righteousness will allow him to see God’s face. For him, as for us, seeing is believing. If we cannot experience something with our senses, we have difficulty believing it is real. The Common English Bible adds a sense of longing, a need to be filled with God’s presence: “I will be filled full by seeing your image.”
Seeing God suffices for the psalmist. But some of us want more—an experience of God that draws in all our senses. We want to feel the breath of the Spirit, the wind and fire in our souls. We long to smell the fragrance of the Son. (See 2 Corin- thians 2:14.) We desire to hear God's voice clearly, for we know that God does speak. (See Acts 22:14.) Psalm 34:8 suggests we can taste God's goodness, the sweetness of God’s presence.
The world saw God in the person of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Jesus’ contemporaries did not understand all he tried to teach them. But he told them he would be with them always. Once he left this world, God sent the Holy Spirit as their (and our) guide and comforter. The Latin root words mean “with strength.” The Spirit exists to make us strong in mind and spirit so we can cope with whatever comes our way.
The Spirit emboldens us to ask for God’s help, to take refuge in God’s steadfast love. Then in our righteousness, we shall see God face-to-face. The open, loving relationship will allow for full communion. God hears and answers.
Today, let us praise God, the Three-in-One: Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise God, all creatures here below; Praise God above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
The heavyhearted psalmist gives voice to the feelings of many when he states, “Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry.” In the Genesis text Jacob wrestles with a “man.” At one level, this story is about human struggle with God, but at another level the story tells of a human being’s struggle with himself or herself. Yet even in the midst of our struggles, the enduring word is one of God’s grace. Romans 9 also deals with suffering: Paul’s personal anguish over Israel’s failure to receive God’s messiah, the Christ. Matthew 14 reminds us that God’s mercy is real. Obedient disciples become agents through whom God’s provisions are served to hungry people.
• Read Genesis 32:22-31. When have you felt like you were wrestling with God? What impact did it have on your relationship with God?
• Read Psalm 17:1-7, 15. In what ways does your faith give you strength in the face of adversity? Reflect on a difficult time when you felt God’s presence.
• Read Romans 9:1-5. How do the words of Peter in Acts and Paul’s words in Romans shape your understanding of the Jewish faith?
• Read Matthew 14:13-21. How hungry are you for Jesus? Are you willing to nibble and snack, or are you starving for substance and sustenance?
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