Snapshots of Glory
“One thing have I desired 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 behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.“ Psalm 27:4 KJV
When we last looked at our foundational scripture we discovered the soul-enriching practice of biblical meditation. We came to this knowledge by learning that our psalmist, David, desired to inquire in God’s temple. We also understood that to inquire means to meditate or think deeply about; and more specifically it means to meditate on God’s Word- the Bible (Psalm 119:97). Therefore, when we desire to behold the beauty of the Lord, we do so, as the psalmist did, through the single lens of scripture. It is solely on the scriptures that we, as gazers, are instructed to meditate. As our thoughts turn heavenward (Philippians 4:8) our mind should always be tethered to the scriptures. And as we dwell in the presence of the Lord, seeking his face, it is then the Holy Spirit, if he so wills, can open our eyes to wondrous things from his Word (1Corinthians 2:10). Using the spectacles of God’s holy Word, the Spirit permits the inner man to see God with greater understanding. The bible becomes like a photo album, with page after page of snapshots of his indescribable glory (1Peter 1:8). As Christians who desire to see the beauty and wonder of God we would be moved to pray like the psalmist:
“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” Psalm 119:18
Or like Job who, speaking of the Lord said, “Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Job 19:27
Deep yearning to see God from the pages of scripture should be our one desire. It is from [God’s] Law that wondrous things are revealed to hearts whose eyes have been spiritually opened. That means when God reveals something of his beauty in our hearts, either in his character or in his works, we see snapshots of his glory. We become enlightened to his reality, we taste a bit of heaven, we partake of his holiness, and we sense his power (Hebrews 6:4-5) It’s from him that the vast riches of his panoramic glory are seen, even if they are brief snapshots, in the soul. These holy moments, in turn, can move the heart with deeper devotion to Christ (Romans 9:23, Ephesians 3:16).
I like what Thomas Watson (1620-1686) said in his book Heaven Taken by Storm. He said, “What delight in holy contemplation! A Christian has such exaltations by the Spirit, and meets with such transfiguration of the soul, that he thinks himself half in heaven.” What I think Watson is trying to describe is what goes on in the heart of a believer. He or she, as they meditate, feels a strong union with the Lord. When our meditations unveil a glimpse of his glory, our soul is alight with a special knowledge of his beautiful presence. These are times of refreshing which come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:20) when God, by his grace, lifts us to have a peek at some heavenly glory! (Ephesians 2:6, 2 Corinthians 12:2, Luke 24:30-32). It’s as if our hearts have taken a snapshot of eternity (Ecclesiastes 3:11). For a moment, it’s not that we’ve entered heaven but that heaven has entered us.
One of my favorite Puritan theologians, John Owen, at the end of his life, wrote a work called “Meditations on the Glory of Christ.” In it he said: “The revelation . . . of Christ . . . deserves the severest of our thoughts, the best of our meditations and our utmost diligence in them . . . What better preparation can there be for our future enjoyment of the glory of Christ, than in a constant previous contemplation of that glory in the revelation that is made in the Gospel?”
As New Testament believer’s the clearest snapshots of God’s glory are in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While nature declares the glory of God (Psalm 19:1), and the Old Testament throws it’s shadow (Colossians 2:17), the glory of God comes into it’s fullest light in the person of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). So, while the main focus in biblical meditation for the psalmist was the Law, for in it the shadows of Messiah were sketched, we have through the Gospel a more complete and beautiful portrait of the Savior. And as often as we turn our thoughts Godward there are many snapshots of his glory that can transform us, empower us, enlighten us, and delight us till the day we see him face to face. (1Corinthians 13:12)
To be continued…
© copyright Steve Covarrubias 2017