Dear members of PRCW and readers of this post: Psalm 27 is such a gem:
“One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple” (verse 4)
That one phrase “to behold the beauty of the LORD” is so encouraging.
But equally – it is so convicting.
It’s encouraging because we are blessed to do just that: behold God’s beauty.
The convicting part is: are we actually doing it? Are we letting ourselves dwell on God’s beauty? Or are we focused only on the ugly events and moments of life?
If you focus on the ugly, then it’s going to rip your soul apart. You need to make the Lord your focus. Does that seem obvious? It should be. But I believe a lot of people, even Christians, suffer from exactly this not just during this “novel Covid-19 pandemic” time, but in every day life. We make bitterness our food and it poisons us. We allow our minds to dwell on the negative (sinful thoughts) and don’t focus on the positive (the beauty of the Lord). The sad part is: we naturally thrive on negativity. We naturally like poison.
I heard an address a few years from Paul Tripp on these exact words in Psalm 27. I ran across them today when I was thinking about what to write for this devotional. He was speaking to pastors and I jotted down a few things. They are in point form, and I haven’t changed anything, but they provide help. At least I found them helpful:
“Now if you allow yourself to let difficulty be your functional theology to meditate on, the scary ‘what-ifs’ of your theology, when you feed your soul more and more on those difficulties larger and larger in your mind, you are not suffering difficulty. You are suffering anti-theology difficulty. B/c you’ve made what you don’t really understand a story – a story that is written and you’re not the author – you make this the source of your meditation. And it’s beating your soul apart.
-rather you need to say, ‘I am not denying the harsh realities of that moment, but God is my meditation, this God of awesome stunning beauty’
-‘it’s only when my heart is filled with the fullness of His beauty that you can look at those things in an appropriate way and not be defeated’
-that’s Gospel living!
-I’m going to say this b/c I am here to pastor you: stop making “ministry ugliness” your meditation! It’s hurting you. Stop rehearsing it over and over again. It’s hurting you!
-Instead gaze on the beauty of the Lord.
-I want to give you your homework b/c I want this to be practical. I want to capture all this with four words:
1. Gaze – start every day, not some much in Bible Study, but start every day by gazing on the beauty of the Lord. Just gaze. Also study your Bible (of course). But just gaze on God’s beauty. Don’t know where to do that? Choose some passage which highlights some attributes of God. E.g., Isaiah 40, last chapters of Job, Ephesians 1, etc. It will change your life!
2. Remember – as you gaze, remind yourself again, this glorious grace defines you. It identifies who you are as a child of God.
3. Rest – bask in it. Speak to your heart. Be a Psalm 42 pastor. Let it go. Rest is not passive. Rest is a spiritual activity.
4. Now Act – act not b/c it is easy, not b/c people affirm you. B/c this One of Glorious Beauty has affirmed you. Act with hope and courage. Live the glory that you preach!”
Pastor Rich Anjema