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  • Writer's pictureAllie Sherron

The Radiance of His Glory

“What a means of blessing one look at the Lord may be! There is life, light, liberty, love, everything in fact, in a look at the crucified One.”*

The pieces that belong to the Sun Turns charcoal drawing collection were born out of my love for the Psalms, specifically the thirty-fourth Psalm which is one of my favorites. Written over 3000 years ago, it prophetically holds the praise of God's redeemed people who have been "delivered from all their fears (verse 4) and saved out of all their troubles (verse 6)."**

As I began studying Psalm 34 in preparation for this collection, my heart became more and more fond of the line that reads, "Those who look to Him are radiant." And as I started to uncover some of the beautiful truths that this line holds, I couldn't wait to share them with you. Let's take a look.

Setting the Scene

In order to get the full effect, I'd like to start from the very beginning. In the first two chapters of Genesis, God creates man and woman in His exact image and likeness. Also in those first two chapters, God lays out what He sees as good and what He sees as not good. And man and woman are to act based on God's predetermined analysis of what is good. It isn't until the third chapter that man determines to see for himself what is good and what is not good. This is the moment the Christian tradition refers to as the fall. In that instant, although created in the image and likeness of God, man's ability to act as God intended was corrupted. And because God is holy, He cannot be near anything that is not also perfectly holy. So, from that point on, man was removed from the garden with God, and there was a veil that separated God and man (Genesis 3: 23-24; Exodus 26:33). Yet, God promised to send a second Man to reverse this tragic catastrophe (Genesis 3:15).

Going forward, all throughout the Scriptures you will find men determining with their own eyes what is good and what is not good. Sometimes they follow God, and other times they do not. All the while we are trying to find this new Man that will correct what had been broken.

Finally we come to the Gospels. And it is here that God sends forth His Son to right all of our wrongs. In His excruciating death on the cross Christ tore the veil separating God and man (Matthew 27:51), and in His victorious resurrection He brought hope to all who might look to Him (Hebrews 6:19) those who would see with their own eyes that it is He alone Who is good. It is so pretty to me in Matthew 28:9 when just this happens. After the women found Jesus's grave empty they ran to tell the disciples that He had risen. After they reported their news, "behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him." They finally saw Who is good. And more than that, they finally acted as God intended. They took hold of this good Man's feet and worshiped Him.

Turn and be Radiant

So what does this have to do with the thirty-fourth Psalm? And how exactly do we go from corruption and separation from God to radiancy? A quick look at 2 Corinthians 3:14-18 will shed some light into this, quite literally, glorious transformation: "It (the veil) is removed in Christ...whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away...we all, with unveiled faces, looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." In other words, when we look to Christ, it is as if we are looking into a mirror. Now when God looks at us, He sees His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Christ is "the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power." Herein lies the beauty of Psalm 34:5, "those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed."

Because Christ is the radiance of the Father's glory and He has accomplished what is necessary to remove the veil between us, we are radiant when we look to Him.

This is true of ALL those who look to Christ. Charles Spurgeon comments on Psalm 34:5 that "each one of them on looking to their Lord were brightened up, their faces began to shine, their spirits were uplifted."***

The Hebrew word that we translate as "radiant" is understood here as a metaphor meaning to shine or be radiant with joy.**** Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This does not mean that afflictions will not come our way; in fact Psalm 34 says that "many are the afflictions of the righteous," but we will have joy because "the LORD delivers him out of them all," (verse 19).

So what does this mean?

It means that every child of God, every sun turn flower, delicate though she is, has a radiancy which can only be of Christ shining out of her, brightening up her face so that when God looks at her He sees the perfection of His Son.

It means that every child of God, every sun turn flower, darling though she is, will encounter many storms and afflictions, yet her Redeemer will deliver her from all of her fears and save her out of all her troubles, bringing God glory and the sun turn the sweetest joy she could ever imagine.

One Last Scripture on which to Meditate: Isaiah 40:7-8, 28

The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

My Heart for You

My greatest desire for you right now is that you remember throughout the day that Christ removed the separation that existed between God and you, His sun turn, and that you, the sun turn, need not ever be afraid nor ashamed because you are radiantly being transformed into the very image of Christ, and that is Who God sees when He looks at you. So, when your heart is troubled and all you feel is weary, look to the One who will give you strength. Write these verses on a notecard and place them on your kitchen table, tape them to your bathroom mirror, or carry them in your pocket. How remarkable would it be if someone sees your notecard and it starts a conversation about Christ, the radiant Savior who can deliver them from all their fears, and the blessed hope of everlasting life available to them through Him?

And if you feel compelled, you'll soon be able to find my charcoal drawings of the sun turns for sale in the Desert's Sage shop.

* Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Classical Reflections on the Wisdom of the Psalms, vol. 1, Psalms 1-57 (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 2016), 123.

** A. C. Gaebelein, The Annotated Bible: The Holy Scriptures Analysis and Annotated, vol. 3, Ezra-Psalms (New York: Our Hope, 1916), 253.

*** Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Classical Reflections on the Wisdom of the Psalms, vol. 1, Psalms 1-57 (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 2016), 123.

**** William L. Holladay, A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1988), 230.

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