Summary: After Moses had beheld God's glory on Mt. Sinai, he could not help but reflect God's glory. That is God's will and plan for us. We are supposed to behold God, become like God, then reflect God to others.
A. Our mission as children of God and disciples of Jesus Christ is to behold and to reflect our God.
1. Let’s begin with two illustrations – one about beholding and the other about reflecting.
B. We are all familiar with the saying: “You Are What You Eat.”
1. I like this meme: “They say you are what you eat, but I don’t remember eating a heaping helping of awesome!”
2. When we use that phrase “You Are What You Eat” we are saying that it is important to eat good food in order to be healthy and fit.
C. And in a similar way, we become what we look at and listen to, or whom we look at and listen to.
1. That is to say, we emulate or become like the people (and things) we most admire.
2. In other words, we become what or whom we worship.
a. Psalm 115:8: Those who make them (idols) are just like them, as are all who trust in them.
3. The English word “worship” is derived from an Old English word that means “worthiness or worth-ship” which is to give worth to something.
4. To worship something is to see worth in that person or object.
5. But there is a reciprocal nature to worship in that the person or thing we worship shapes and affects us.
6. Over time, we become like the things or individuals we worship.
D. Nathaniel Hawthorne illustrated this principle in a powerful, symbolic short story called “The Great Stone Face.”
1. The picture you see on the screen is a photo of the Great Stone Face, or Old Man of the Mountain as it looked for centuries in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, unfortunately, it collapsed on May 3, 2003, so it no longer looks this way.
2. Hawthorne tells the story of a young man named Ernest who grew up in a small, rural town.
a. On a mountain near the town, formed out of a cluster of rock, was the likeness of a giant man, a Great Stone Face.
b. For countless centuries, this Great Stone Face had overlooked the valley like a benevolent guardian.
c. Everyone looked up to this Great Stone Face. Its “expression was at once grand and sweet, as if it were the glow of a vast, warm heart.”
3. Local legend claimed that one day, the Great Stone Face would visit the people in the form of a man.
a. When he appeared, the townsfolk would recognize him as “the greatest and noblest person of his time.”
4. Young Ernest longed to meet this noble person and eagerly anticipated his arrival.
a. While waiting for this person to appear, Ernest spent much of his time pondering about and learning from the Great Stone Face.
b. Studying its greatness, Ernest was filled with wisdom and sympathies beyond that of any of his peers.
5. In time, Ernest became a preacher and encountered several individuals who were rumored to have the likeness of the Great Stone Face: a merchant, a general, a politician, and a poet.
a. But each of them had flaws in their nature that put them at odds with the perceived character of Great Stone Face.
b. Ernest began to doubt that he would ever see the Great Stone Face personified.
6. Many years passed, then Ernest was asked to deliver one of his sermons at the base of the Great Stone Face.
a. Let’s conclude the story with Hawthorne’s own words: Ernest began to speak, giving to the people of what was in his heart and mind. His words had power, because they accorded with his thoughts; and his thoughts had reality and depth, because they harmonized with the life which he had always lived. It was not mere breath that this preacher uttered; they were the words of life, because a life of good deeds and holy love was melted into them. Pearls, pure and rich, had been dissolved into this precious draught…At that moment, in sympathy with a thought which he was about to utter, the face of Ernest assumed a grandeur of expression, so imbued with benevolence, that [someone in the crowd], by an irresistible impulse, threw his arms aloft and shouted, “Behold! Behold! Ernest is himself the likeness of the Great Stone Face!”
b. Ernest’s beholding of the Great Stone Face had resulted in his becoming like the Great Stone Face.
E. Thus far in our sermon series “It’s All About God – Living A God-Centered Life,” we have been seeking to get a clearer picture of our God, who is truly the greatest of “Stone Faces”
1. We have been attempting to behold God’s glory and holiness, to understand God’s eternal and unchanging nature, and to grasp the fact that God is love.