To seek the face of God is to seek His presence. The word “face” is a Hebrew idiom that means, “The presence of God.” Psalms 24:6 states, “This is the generation that seek him, that seek Thy face oh Jacob. Selah.” Second Chronicles 7:14 states, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.”
Definition for Idiom
According to The American Heritage Dictionary, an idiom is “…a speech form of expression of a language that is peculiar to itself grammatically that cannot be understood from the individuals’ meaning and its elements.” In lay terms, an idiom is a simple word that is used to describe something much more than it actually is. In our case, when we seek the “face” of God, we seek His presence. Because God does not have a face as you and I, the idiom in this case is to seek His awesome and omnipotent presence.
Examples Coming into the Face of God/Presence of God
Jacob had seen the Face of God at Peniel, for he was in the presence of the Lord where he wrestled with a man all night. It eventually it causes a transformation in Jacob's life that he went from a trickster/Jacob to a Prince of God/ Israel (Genesis 32:24-30; Psalm 4:6). Coming into the presence of God you will never be the same, because His Divine Presence brings transformation and holiness.
People obtain favor, and have joy when they come into the face of God (Job 33:26).
Were delivered, and restored when the Face of God shine's on us (Psalm 31:16, Psalm 80:19).
Moses spoke to God face to face, as friend speaks to another friend; Moses received revelation of the Torah for the nation of Israel , and was known as the most prominent prophet of Israel secondly only Jesus Christ. When Moses left the presence of the Lord, his countenance shine with the glory when came back down the mountain to the people, he had to place a veil to cover his (Exodus 33:11; Exodus 34:34; Deuteronomy 34:10; 2 Corinthians 3:13).
Obed-Edom had the Ark of the Covenant (presence of God) for three months in his house, and the Lord blessed everything he owned (1 Chronicles 13:14), because of the Ark of the Covenant being present.
What Can Cause God to Hid His Face? Ichabod the Glory Departed !
The question should be what causes God to hid His Face/Presence from mankind? Answer would be sin. In Isaiah 59:2 says, "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."
Prime examples of people in the Bible that had an "Ichabod experience" or the presence of God fleeing from His people in the Word of God are as follows:
First example is when Eli the High Priest wicked sons Hophni and Phinehas went out to battle the Philistines, they were killed in battle, and all the men that went to battle with them died, their father Eli after hearing the news that his sons were killed fell back in his chair broke his neck. After all the calamity occurred, Phinehas wife birth a son and called his name Ichabod, which means the "glory of God/presence of God has departed. The presence had indeed departed, because of evil sinful leadership; they couldn't defeat the enemy because of sin in the camp (1 Samuel 4:19-22).
Second example is Samson, his continued sexual immorality was a snare and his down fall, when got up from being with Delilah, he awoke out of his sleep to fight the Philistines like other times, however the Lord had departed(Ichabod) from him(Judges 16:19-21) . The Philistines took him captive, bond him, and put his vision/sight out( without vision or prophetic revelation people perish Proverbs 29:18), Samson demise was that he rejected knowledge(Hosea 4:6).
Third example is the glory departing from the Temple in Ezekiel 10, because of the habitual sin in the nation of Judah the presence of God departed from the Temple, in which later King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem(2 Kings 25:9-10), because the glory of God had departed.
Fourth example is Adam and Eve when they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil they died spiritual first becoming sinners. The first thing they did after sinning, was hide themselves from the presence of God(Genesis 3:8). The glory had departed from Adam, what soon followed was spiritual death, ultimately physical death.
If you have carnal mind then it will bring you death, but if you're spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8: 5-8). Also the carnal mind hates the law of God, and being in His presence (Romans 8:7). We receive life every time we enter into the presence of God
So are you facing a hard situation? Do you need the Lord’s presence to guide and direct you through a certain valley of decision? If so, take time this week to seek His presence and not his hand. He promised that when we do this in humility and turn from our sinful ways, we will see His glory manifested in our lives.