One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of theLord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4
"To gaze on the beauty of the Lord" really struck me this morning. I don't really do that. Yes, I celebrate the beauty of His creation and give Him credit for His artistry. We have the most remarkable view of sunsets and sunrises from our location on the Westside. The trees in our neighborhood are huge and varied, with beautifully shaped branches that artistically bend in different directions to reach the sun, and are filled with thick leaves and often birds, squirrels and the occasional elegant hawk or majestic owl. The creek that runs alongside the trail in our neighborhood is generously scattered with small waterfalls, large and small rocks, and the soothing sound of rushing water that makes it hard to believe I am sitting in the middle of a city. I have no trouble celebrating the beauty of God's handiwork. But I don't actually gaze at Him.
Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for at his command they were created, and he established them forever and ever—he issued a decree that will never pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. And he has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his faithful servants, of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the Lord. Psalm 148
He sits on THE throne of power above all powers: the power of viruses, the power of storms and earthquakes, the power of global leaders and local policymakers, the power of his enemy and all his enemy's schemes, the power of human spiritual resistance and blindness, and any other conceivable power that threatens or bullies us.
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 theLord. Psalm 27:6
When I set my gaze on His beauty, on His presence, on all that is true about His power and control, I can sing and sacrifice with shouts of joy in the midst of those enemies, assailants, threats, fears, concerns, worries, anxieties, losses, defeats, and broken places. When I pull my gaze away from myself, my understanding and perceptions, my attempts to control or cajole, my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me. When my gaze is fixed upon God, I am reminded that He is more true than all that threatens to steal life (emotional, spiritual, physical, mental health) from me. My circumstances may not be changed, but I will be changed.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1