Contemplate the Beautiful
The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His temple (v. 4).
Edgar Allan Poe once wrote: “The pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most elevating, and the most intense, is derived, I maintain, from contemplation of the beautiful.” The purest and ultimate pleasure, then, according to the psalmist, is our contemplation of God.
David’s chief desire and longing in life was to live in the presence of Yahweh (represented by the tabernacle) and to experience His beauty (Psalm 27:4). What exactly did David mean by wanting to gaze upon the Lord’s perfections? This was David’s way of expressing the inexpressible and of describing the immortal, invisible, only true God (1 Timothy 1:17). It meant, on the one hand, that he wanted to see His literal beauty. Yet, at the same time, he wanted to experience those invisible qualities that make God the definition of beauty. David wanted to enjoy the sweetness of the Lord, rejoice in His gracious friendship, find pleasure in the perfection of His character, and meet with Him face to face. He didn’t simply want an image of beauty—David longed for God Himself. For him, the pleasure that was at once the most pure, the most elevating, and the most intense, was delighting in and contemplating God.
God’s desire is that His people experience the pleasure that is the most pure—delighting in and contemplating Him. We can do this by seeking God with our whole heart, thirsting after Him, worshiping him in the beauty of His holiness, and singing for joy to Him. Our chief longing in life should be to make God our everlasting priority. Preoccupation with the beauty of God leads to life (Amos 5:4-6), joy (Psalm 119:2), renewed strength (Isaiah 40:30-31), and rejoicing (1 Chronicles 16:10; Psalm 105:3).
May we find ourselves contemplating the Beautiful One—being transformed by His perfect holiness, love, wisdom, and care!
Read 1 Kings 11:4 and see what happens when we fail to contemplate and be preoccupied with the Beautiful One.
What are some things you can do or to make God your everlasting preoccupation? What pleasure have you found in focusing your attention on God and His beauty?