Psa. 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
One of my big challenges throughout my Christian experience has been waiting on the Lord. I have a natural tendency, like many of us, to take matters into my own hands. How many times do I have to be reminded that the Lord doesn’t need my help? Taking what we perceive as the Lord’s work into our own hands can be quite deceptive. We mask our own motives behind a spiritual facade. How do I know? I have been guilty too many times. Waiting on the Lord brings us to a place of total decency on the Lord, gives us greater clarity, and makes room for His power and glory to be displayed. As Isaiah says, “they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. Here are some thoughts from A.B. Simpson on waiting on the Lord.
“Wait on the Lord. How often this is said in the Bible; how little understood! It is what the old monk called the “practice of the presence of God”. It is the habit of prayer. It is the continual communion that not only asks, but receives. It is this that renews our strength until we “mount up with wings as eagles, run and are not weary, walk and are not faint.” Our hearts are too limited to take in His fullness at a single breath. We must live in the atmosphere of His presence till we absorb His very life. This is the secret of spiritual depth and rest, of power and fullness, of love and prayer, of hope and holy usefulness. Wait, I say, on the Lord.”
Waiting on the Lord is how my calling to New Orleans was confirmed to me so many years ago. I was zealous for foreign missions. I had built my zeal reading about missionaries like Hudson Taylor, C.T. Studd, Jim Elliot, and David Brainerd. I wanted to make my mark on the nations. As I was preparing to go, the Lord spoke to me by various means all saying the same thing, “Be still and know that I am God”. As I reluctantly waited on clarity from the Lord His direction became crystal clear, I was to return to my home in New Orleans. Yes, I was called as a missionary; a missionary to the city of New Orleans.
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek:
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 seek him in his temple.
I used to have a friend as a young Christian that would ask the strangest questions. One of them was something like this. “If I get really close to the Lord I’m afraid He will ask me to do something that is too hard, something I don’t want to do”. We talked for hours about this and other pretty funny questions. I have to admit, neither one of us had many of the right answers back then. Today I can begin to respond to that thought, when Jesus becomes my treasure and I draw near to Him all of my desires begin to change. Actually He begins to put His desires for my life into my heart. They then become my desires and joy. What an awesome God. Here is how Andrew Murray described this reality.
“When God’s desire becomes our desire, these words also become our words: to dwell in His house, to gaze upon His beauty, and to seek Him in His temple. The more we realize God’s desire to give rest and peace in our heart, and the more our desire is quickened to dwell with Him and behold His beauty, the more the spirit of intercession will grow upon us to claim all that God has promised in His New Covenant. We will start thinking more of our church and country, home and school. We will think of saved ones and their need, or the unsaved and the dangers that threaten them. We will think of God’s desire to find His home and His rest in the hearts of men. All thoughts of our weakness and unworthiness will be swallowed up in the wonderful assurance that He gave to His children: “This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it” (Psalm 132:14).”
Actually, this is the answer to all of our misery. Our self absorbed lives that lead to depression and misery get swallowed up. We find ourselves in love with the Lord and passionate about His kingdom. Our hearts are filled with love for the hurting that spills over in ministry and intercession. This is the beautiful work of God. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psa. 27:4 ¶ 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.
What is your definition of beauty? Is it the symmetry of someone’s face or maybe a sunset that reminds you of some impressionist’s masterpiece? Or maybe beauty to you is the smile of a grandchild or the first steps of your firstborn. As they say, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. For the golfer, it is the perfect swing; the fisherman’s beauty is the ‘fight’ in that trophy bass, and for the baseball fan it could be the ‘perfect game’ pitched by the starting pitcher. King David had his own definition and ideas about beauty, he had seen the Artist and Creator of all beauty and recognized anything of beauty in this life is only a shadow pointing to the One Who is altogether lovely. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on David’s view of the beauty of the Lord.
“He would dwell in God’s house, not for the plenty of good entertainment that was there, in the feasts upon the sacrifices, nor for the music and good singing that were there, but to behold the beauty of the Lord and to enquire in his temple. He desired to attend in God’s courts. That he might have the pleasure of meditating upon God. He knew something of the beauty of the Lord, the infinite and transcendent amiableness of the divine being and perfections; his holiness is his beauty, his goodness is his beauty. The harmony of all his attributes is the beauty of his nature. With an eye of faith and holy love we with pleasure behold this beauty, and observe more and more in it that is amiable, that is admirable. When with fixedness of thought, and a holy flame of devout affections, we contemplate God’s glorious excellencies, and entertain ourselves with the tokens of his peculiar favor to us, this is that view of the beauty of the Lord which David here covets, and it is to be had in his ordinances, for there he manifests himself.”
Henry got it, he said ‘His holiness is his beauty, His goodness is his beauty. The harmony of all His attributes is the beauty of his nature’. The beauty of the Lord is spiritual and can only be observed by revelation. We first see His beauty revealed to us in the written Word. From there we see the love shining through His Son, His grace revealed through His sacrificial death, and His life on display and available to us through His resurrection. Once you have seen His beauty then all of the other ‘beauties’ in this life fall in place and gain perspective. All true beauty in this life points us back to the Author, after all He is the Master Artist and is setting His beauty on display all around us.
Songs of Worship
4 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.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
What did David mean when He spoke of the beauty of the Lord? Of course David did not physically see the Lord in the tabernacle, he experienced the beautiful sence of His presence found in the anointing of the Lord. The anointing is the revealing of God’s very nature, which is perfect goodness. Whenever someone “feels” the presence of the Lord they are struck by His beautiful qualities. Things like purity, kindness, holiness, extravagance, wisdom, and power are what you encounter and David refered to as the beauty of the Lord. Worship is not a means to anything else, it is not a formula for success. Worship is our response to greatness. When you encounter the Lord, you will become a worshiper. You will sing like David,” One thing have I desired of the Lord, and that will I seek after, that I might dwell in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord” . Begin to look for the Lord today. You might find Him in your devotional time, possibly in your present circumstances, or in His handiwork revealed in creation. Once you see Him your only response is to gaze upon Him in worship.