Adapted from a recent Bible study:
My late mother-in-law had a face that you could read like a book, every emotion, thought and idea was clearly expressed in her countenance. Not all people are an open book when it comes to expressions, some are more like closed books, you just can't get a 'read' on them.
On the other hand, some people are adapt at reading faces. My mother must have been one of those, for often she would say, "Wipe that look off your face, or I will do it for you!"
In Genesis 4:5-6 we read that Cain's countenance reveal something about his heart and from Genesis 31:2-5, we learn that a person's countenance may indicate a change in attitude towards another person. What is on your face is a good indicator of what is in your heart. To be sure, one may hide his thoughts and emotions from others, but sooner or later, that which is in us will be revealed on us.
In our text, Moses had a life changing experience when he encountered God in a very intimate way. It was an experience that could be seen in his face!
After interceding for the people, Moses again ascends the Mount where he would receive further instructions from God. There he not only fasted, he feasted on the Word of God and he faced God one on one.
Upon his return, his face 'shone' (vs 29), that is, it radiated with light. (An interesting side note: The famous sculpture of Moses by Michaelangelo depicts him with small horns protruding from his forehead. This is because the Latin Vulgate translates the Hebrew word "qaran" which literally means "to gore, push, to shoot out" as "horns". It comes from a root word meaning "a projection" as a mountain peak, coronet, or an elephant's tusk. Figuratively, it has to do with the idea of the rays of the sun. So, Moses' face 'shined as with rays projecting from his face'.
Moses' face radiated because of time spent in God's presence. His countenance was a reflection of the One with Whom he had been spending time and Moses face was changed to reflect the One in Whose presence he had been.
My mother could always tell with whom I had been with. Puzzled about how she came to this knowledge, I asked one day how she knew. She replied, "I can see it in your face..." So, this begs the question, "What do others see in us? What's that on your face?"
Read 2 Corinthians 3:18...did you get that? As we behold in a glass (mirror, ie., the Word of God) the glory of the Lord, we are changed. God uses His Word and His Spirit to conform us into the image of Christ! We become like Him when we spend time in His presence.
A couple of lessons:
1. No one can experience real fellowship with God without being affected.
But, it will take dedicated effort on our behalf.
2. This transformation comes only from the Spirit of God as we reflect Jesus
Christ in our lives.
3. Others will see what you do not see. Moses did not know that his face shone the people reacted as they did. When Isaiah saw the LORD (Isa. 8), his
response was "Woe is me...!" When he saw the holiness of God, he also saw
his own sinfulness. Nearness to God is reflected not in our position before
people, but in our position before God.
Thomas Chisholm penned the words to the hymn, Oh To Be Like Thee, which is worth your time to look up and consider.