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The Beauty of the Lord

Updated: Jan 31

One of the things I most love about West Virginia is the wonder-provoking scenery that permeates the land. I need not go far to be awestruck by her majesty. Countless mornings I’ve been met by a wave of fog crashing over the crest of the East River Mountain range into the city of Bluefield. In these moments my lips can find but one word to whisper - “beautiful.” The beauty I speak of is that which is transcendent in nature. Otherworldly. The kind that leaves you stammering and silent. The kind that stops you in your their tracks and makes hours go by like minutes. I find this kind of beauty to be the epitome of the nature of God. To see Him rightly is to behold matchless beauty. Every facet of His being is holy, other than, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Is this the God you know? Have you ever encountered the presence of the Lord in such a way that your heart and lips were made to whisper “beautiful?” This is what you were made for. When I talk about the presence of the Lord, I don’t mean some abstract idea or feeling. The presence isn’t some cosmic force or mist. The presence of the Lord is His face, His nature made manifest in space and time. The Hebrew word we translate “presence” is “pānê,” and this word simply means “face.” In the garden when Adam and Eve ran and hid from the presence, they weren’t hiding themselves from some force or mist but from the face of God, from pure beauty. This is the great tragedy of humanity. But what was lost in the garden has been recovered in Christ. Because of the finished work of the cross, we can again walk with God in the cool of the day. We can return to a life of face-to-face communion with God. We can again behold beauty. Oh, how this land needs us to behold beauty again. Consider David, a man after God’s own heart - an undignified worshiper, a fierce warrior, and a poet king - but before he was any of those things, he was a shepherd boy whose heart’s cry was for one thing, “…that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4 ESV). If a Davidic people are going to arise in our land, there must be a house in which they can come and gaze upon His beauty. The invitation before us, both individually and corporately, is to become a dwelling place for the beauty of the Lord, an uncommon house that hosts an uncommon measure of the revelation of the character and nature of God. Awareness of the beauty of the Lord is available for those who will lean in, for those who will consecrate their eyes away from worthless things unto the one thing. The eyes only go where the heart allows them, so our prayer must be that of David- “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”(Psalm 51:10 ESV). What makes the heart unclean? Imposter beauties. Lesser lovers. Duplicity. We cannot serve both God and mammon (Matt 6:24). We must be made unpolluted, singular, undivided at heart. God must have us wholly. But see this rightly! This is no rejection of joy and happiness, but rather an embracing of fullness of joy! To be totally given to the Lord is to receive access to unimaginable beauty, the kind that will be no less stunning a hundred billion years from now. We sell it all to buy the field because we know there is a treasure beyond comparison hidden in that field. The treasure is His presence, His face, absolute beauty. It is worth everything. Now, I love to live in the world of theory and concept, but as my good friend Gabriel often reminds me, practicals are needed too. So practically speaking, how do you accept the invitation to become a dwelling place for the beautiful presence of God? That sounds rather complex, doesn’t it? It’s only as complex as we make it. All that is required is a humble heart willing to yield. Could it really be that simple? Don’t we need to clean ourselves up, make ourselves righteous, and fix the wounded places in our hearts before we can become a dwelling place for Beauty? Men and women have attempted this very thing since the dawn of time. It’s called religion, and it has yet to achieve the desired results. We need not make ourselves more presentable to God in order to draw in His presence. The scandalous secret made plain through the gospel is this - God desires union with you. He longs to make your heart His dwelling place because you are His delight, His prize, His favorite one. The Father looks on you today with eyes of jealous love. We accept the invitation to become a dwelling place by yielding to the washing of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts. We sit still and give way to His gentle hands at work in us. “Be still and know that I am God...” (Psalm 46:10). Moments of stillness must reach beyond a Sunday morning church service if this work is to have its full impact. We must learn the rhythm of coming away and being still all throughout the day. As we grow in this, we will become more and more “oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, for the display of His splendor” (Isaiah 61:3). “It is not necessary to be always in church to be with God, we can make a private chapel of our heart where we can retire from time to time to commune with Him, peacefully, humbly, lovingly; everyone is capable of these intimate conversations with God, some more, others less; He knows what we can do. Let us begin.” -Brother Lawrence I invite you to seek the Lord as to what this could look like in your life. What stands in the way of love? What could you let go of in order to allow for moments of stillness and receiving throughout your day? Just ten minutes of coming away with the Lord morning, noon, and night would be a great first step. Let us begin. Let us behold the Beauty of the Lord.

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