Monday, January 31, 2011

Learning to Gaze

As I wrote yesterday, I want to learn what it means to "gaze upon" or "contemplate" the beauty of the Lord. In my curiosity, I began to dig a little deeper this morning. Here is what I have learned so far...

"Beauty" when mentioned in conjunction with the Lord typically refers to spiritual beauty. Multiple verses in Chronicles and Psalms refer to the "beauty" or the "splendor" of His holiness. Examples include:

"...ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him;   worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness." 1 Chronicles 16:29

"O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; tremble before and reverently fear Him, all the earth." Psalm 96:9 (AMP)

The qualities of His set-apart-ness make Him beautiful. "It is beautiful that God is God and not man. His holy love, grace, justice and majesty are beautiful" [qualities] says David Guzik in his Study Guide on 1 Chronicles 16.

In Psalms such as 29 and 96, Christ is the object of our worship. According to Matthew Henry's Commentary on Psalms 29, "The object of our worship; the glorious majesty of God is called the beauty of holiness, 2 Chronicles 20:21. In the worship of God we must have an eye to His beauty, and adore Him, not [as One] to be feared...but as [One who is kind, lovely and approachable] and therefore to be loved and delighted in above all... There is a beauty in holiness, and it is that which puts an acceptable beauty on all acts of worship."
So my understanding is this: to contemplate the beauty of the Lord is to gaze upon - or study and meditate on - the qualities that make Him holy, lovely and worthy of my sincere worship.

Father, it seems with each season of life You teach me new qualities of Your character. Each one is lovely in its own way and deepens my desire to worship You. Each one therefore makes You beautiful. As I learn more about Your beauty, I pray it changes me, that I may be a beautiful reflection of You. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

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