“The Beauty of the Lord”

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” (Psalm 27:4).

Beauties, moral, official, and spiritual, meet in Christ. In Isaiah 33 we read, that as King He shall be seen in His beauty, for then His subjects will have learned His redemptive work and His perfect suitability as Saviour and King. What a contrast there is between the lowly “Man of Sorrows” in whom Israel saw no beauty and the mighty Divider of spoils in His kingdom glory.

Great was the beauty He displayed in His humiliation, but it was moral, and for the appreciation of the heart. Great shall be the beauty of the King when seen in official dignity and splendour. “Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty; they shall behold the land that is very far off.”

But, between the humiliation and the kingdom glory, there is a beauty to be seen in Him while still hidden from our actual sight in those heavens which conceal Him. This, I think, may be learned in the words of the Psalmist (27:4). “One thing,” he says, “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.” Here the Lord is not seen in humiliation, grief, and sorrow; nor in royal glory, but enshrined in the privacy of the temple, withdrawn from mortal gaze.

This apprehension must be purely spiritual, and the seeker must abstract himself from all that would obscure the vision. The “beauty of the Lord” is there visible to the eye of faith and to the heart of love. So visible, so attractive, that the writer declares, “One thing . . . will I seek after; that I may . . . behold the beauty of the Lord.” This one thing was the supreme desire of his soul, and that for “all the days of his life”! He was captivated by that beauty; his whole heart was spellbound, but then—
  The Master is so fair,
    His smile so sweet to banished men
  That they who meet it unaware
    Can never rest on earth again.

Never, never! Henceforth, like Paul, they cannot see for the glory of that light; their eye and heart are fascinated by that which eclipses all the sights and glories of earth.

Is this a mere rhapsody, a dream? No, God forbid we should think so. The sorrow is that we so little accustom ourselves while in the rounds of our far too formal lives to allow that beauty to entrance our souls and rivet our affections.

Yet it is there for the deep heart enjoyment of every one of His loved and blood-bought people. Fain would He disclose Himself in all that He is to such, and cause their enraptured hearts to overflow in adoration and praise. Think how a vision of that beauty lifted the martyr Stephen clean out of all his surroundings and made him reflect some of its rays. Oh! how sanctifying is a vision of that beauty; how it transforms the whole life of the disciple. To such an one the Lord says, “I will manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21). This manifestation is individual and personal, but unspeakably precious. Let us covet, above all things, personal intimacy with the Lord, and that for all the days of our life, until we “see Him as He is” in heavenly glory.