The Divine Gaze- To Wander or Wonder

February 21, 2017

“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 enquire in his temple.” 
Ps 27:4

     Biblical meditation is a discipline. But it’s not easy keeping our minds and thoughts focused on the Lord. That is why the psalmist inquired in the temple. He desired to be alone with God. The temple afforded him a quiet place where he could turn all his thoughts Godward. It is also true of New Testament saints. Sweet communion with God happens most frequently when we’re in a place that is quiet, peaceful and free from the noise and busyness of life. Thankfully, we needn’t always go to a brick and mortar building to meditate on the Lord. We should realize, though the psalmist loved to go to the temple to have some alone time with God, he meditated in other places and at other times as well. For instance, in his youth, as a shepherd, he had much time, alone, on starry nights to gaze into the heavens and thoughtfully ponder the greatness and majesty of God. It’s not hard to imagine, perhaps, on one such starry evening he thought: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1). Today believers, have a “new and living way that he [Jesus] opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh.” (Hebrews 10:20) Because of the finished work of Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit we are the living temples of God (1 Corinthians 6:19). This gives us access, anywhere and at any time (Hebrews 4:16), to the Lord’s throne where we can gaze and meditate on the Lord’s beauty. However, we too, still need ‘alone time’ with the Lord so we can fully set our minds on Christ. If our minds are prone to easily wander, it’s only equaled to the many distractions we encounter in a fast paced world. And at times, our minds are constantly trafficking with the noise and rush of life. If our one thing is a desire to be captivated by the ravishing beauty of God, it will mean finding the time and place where we can be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).

     In this regard, Thomas Watson offers sound advice. He said:

“This is the first thing, the soul’s retiring of itself—lock and bolt the door against the world.” (Treatise Concerning Meditation)

     Biblical meditation is a spiritual discipline which teaches us to keep our minds fixed on God’s word and abiding in his presence. Again, biblical meditation isn’t emptying the mind. It’s filling it by contemplating and musing on the written Word of God. This keeps our thoughts from wandering into religious fantasies or false spiritualism. Once the heart takes it’s seat on the Word of God, the eyes of faith are now positioned to wonder and not wander. That is, to think about who God is, what he has said, and what he has done. When the eyes of our hearts are opened by God, it is then the vision of his irresistible beauty astounds and draws us into closer, intimate fellowship with Him. His is a heavenly and glorious beauty that sprinkles the soul with a foretaste of heaven and delights the eye of faith with snapshots of his indelible glory. His loveliness, at times, will be so overwhelming we can be brought to tears, at other times we may feel as if we are standing under showers of his joy. One awe-inspiring gaze of the Lord from the Word of God is enough to flood our souls with rivers of divine grace and love (John 7:38), and feel the magnitude of his majesty and power.

       May I ask you a question?
      Are you distracted? Not by the never ending interruptions in daily life. But by the Lord Jesus Christ. Is he your greatest distraction because he is your fondest attraction? Do you find yourself not wandering far in your thoughts of him? Are you like the bride in the Song of Songs (3:4) who said, “I held him and would not let him go.” Is it hard to keep your eyes off of him so when he sees you gazing on his beauty he says, “You have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes.” (Song of Solomon 4:9). Are you close enough to him that you’ve picked up his fragrance? (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). Does your soul hunger for him?(John 6:56). Do you thirst for him? (John 4:13). Does your heart desire the wine of his kisses? (Song of Solomon 1:2) Like the psalmist, is your one desire to be alone with him? Then you my fellow Christian brother or sister are in love. And He would have it no other way (Revelation 2:4). For that was his plan all along. It was to reveal his beauty, capture your heart and love you eternally. In fact, God’s first words were not “Let there be light…” but, I have chosen to love, you (Romans 8:29) [1]. Yes, long before the world was ever created the triune God had already decided, because of his love for you, to bring you into his family through his Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6

     So far, we’ve seen meditating on God’s word is essential for Christian growth. It creates a craving for the Lord. And for those whose desire to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord they will not stop at only reading God’s Word, but meditating on it as well. They will plunge its depths, contemplate its meaning, and soak in its truth. They are not happy to only buzz around the flower but to draw out the nectar. They are not happy to only find the treasure, but to buy the whole field where the treasure is buried (Matthew 13:44). They are not happy for a light drizzle on the heart, but of thunderclaps from the throne of God. They are happy not only to sail by the compass of sound doctrine, but to experience the powerful sail filling  winds of God’s Spirit. They are not happy only to have the mind stirred but to have the affections set ablaze by the fire of God’s holy love.

     So when you feel your heart start to wander, turn the eyes of your heart Godward and behold the wonder of his beauty.

Footnotes:

1. “For whom he did foreknow…” The word ‘foreknow’ in Romans 8:29 more precisely means foreloved. It carries the idea that before God created the world he already chose beforehand those whom he would lavish his saving love.

to be continued…

© copyright Steve Covarrubias February 2017