Devotion 4 of 4 in the series Beauty for Ashes: Psalm 27:4 and Psalm 96:1-6

How Worshiping the Beautiful One Flips Your Perspective

How Worshiping the Beautiful One Flips Your Perspective_sunrise over ocean at beach

In our series on Beauty for Ashes, we have discussed Noticing Beauty5 Surprising Traits of Inner Beauty, and the Sacrifice of Spreading Beauty. Today we shift our focus to worship the Creator of beauty, the Most Beautiful One.

Psalm 27:4 (ESV)

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
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 96:1-6 (ESV)

Worship in the Splendor of His Holiness

Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Digging into God’s Word

I have been floundering this week, finding myself unfocused on some big volunteer projects and unmotivated to get out of bed in the morning. I came to the last night before I could write this devotion with no idea of its direction. Truthfully, I was getting a little worried about my blahness.

I asked God for direction, and I awoke with the lyrics in my head of a song I have not sung in years. It was written by Keith Green, a recording artist who was killed in a plane crash in 1982. The song’s title? “Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful.” I smiled and shook my head. Don’t ever doubt God’s faithfulness! The song begins and ends with these lyrics:

Oh Lord, You’re beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

The song is not the inspired Word of God, but the sentiment is pertinent: Worshiping the Lord reminds us that His grace abounds to us.

The Lord is so beautiful that writers of scripture couldn’t contain their descriptions of Him. In actuality, the word beautiful is rarely used to describe Jesus. We find one occurrence in Psalm 27:4, our reading for today, where the psalmist longs to “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.”

From the psalmist’s portraits of splendor, majesty, and glory to John’s overwhelming, almost frightening, vision of the Faithful and True Jesus riding  on a white horse, eyes like flames, crowned with diadems, a sharp sword extending from His mouth, human words fail to describe the Lord. The awesomeness in Revelation 19 is made all the more indescribable with Jesus’ victory over the devil and death. Modern songwriters have summed it up as beautiful. The word perhaps simplifies too much, and yet encapsulates all of the awe-filled descriptions of those to whom Jesus was revealed.

When we read the entirety of scripture and understand the fullness of what God did for us in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, we cannot help but fall to the ground, at least in our hearts, and respond with humility and confidence with Keith Green’s lyrics on playback: “For when your eyes are on this child, your grace abounds to me.”

Thank you, Jesus, for your beauty and for your grace. Surely, it abounds to us beyond what we can ever imagine.

Digging Deeper

As you are able, spend time with God, reflecting on these questions or journaling your thoughts.

  1. What do people generally consider beautiful in this world? What difference do you see in what is considered the beauty of the Lord? How does this change what you might consider truly beautiful?
  2. Open to Psalm 96 and pray through the entire psalm. As you reach the phrase about “marvelous works,” thank God for the marvelous works He has done in your life. As you read verse 9 and consider the splendor of the Lord’s holiness, ask what about God makes you tremble? Praise Him for His holiness.
  3. Look up Keith Green’s song “Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful” on YouTube or Google Play. Listen, sing, let it fill your heart with joy. Receive God’s grace in your life.

Next Series

We live in a time when God is at work in obvious and miraculous ways. So He was in the times of the prophets, and in our next series we will look at Elisha: the man with the double portion of the Spirit’s power from Elijah. Hold onto your hats, and prepare to be blown away by God’s power and His miraculous working in Elisha’s life. Oh, that we may experience the same.

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