Gaze Upon the Beauty

One thing have I asked 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 gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4, ESV)

Recently I was at a park getting ready to photograph a young couple wanting to announce the coming of their first child. It is always such a blessing to be able to capture the joy that people have in celebrating life.

While I was waiting in the park, I took out my camera and looked around at the amazing colors that the trees expressed and again reflected back on how amazing our God is and how not only the heavens, but also the earth declare His glory!

As I sit here and ponder all the beauty in the world around me that reflect God’s glory, I am saddened by the darkness and sin that corrupts it. There are so many things going on today that can distract us from a rich deep relationship with our God. We have disease, anger, frustration, and so many people are looking for salvation in the wrong places.

So many things pull on our time, then when we are given the blessing of a few moments, what is it we fill it with. The unfortunate answer is usually not time with God, but social media, video games, television, Hulu, Netflix, Disney, News shows, and the list goes on.

I am not saying these are all bad, a little bit of these things need not consume our lives and our thoughts. (Though much of the programming these days on a majority of the streaming sites is very questionable and does not do our minds any good) I have to ask myself, where is the majority of my free time spent?

Reflecting back on the heavens and the earth declaring God’s glory, what can we learn from godly leaders in our past? I think about people who’s lives I have studied and read about like Martin Lloyd Jones, Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, Billy Graham, Billy Sunday, Dwight Moody, Andrew Murry, Oswald Chambers, John Bunyan, Ignatius, Polycarp, the Apostles John, Peter, King David, and the other Psalm writers.

All these men where consumed with seeking after the Lord with all their hearts. Lives marked with times of prayer and devotion to Gods word that today we could not even imagine that type of time spent with our Lord. Men and women who’s greatest pursuits where not in the frivolous things of the world but in spending countless hours in God’s word and prayer.

Paul said it well in Philippians 2:12-17:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:12–16, ESV)

Then in Colossians Paul writes these words of exhoration:

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1–4, ESV)

The writer of Psalm 27 (most likely David) also lived in a world were so much weighed on his life. Darkness and a sin-full world pressed in on him. But where was his focus, what gave him great delight?

In this day and age, when so much can take our gaze away from what is truly beautiful, we must look beyond this world and immerse ourselves in prayer and the study of God’s word and gaze upon Yeshua the one who is the radiance of God’s glory and the representation of his essence. Then may we speak in our hearts that which David desired….

One thing have I asked 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 gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4, ESV)

the Radiance

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:1–3, ESV)

One cool night I was gazing into the heavens with my telescope and observed some of many star clusters that are easily found even when there is a fair amount of light pollution. These clusters alone where amazing to observe, marveling at the splendor and majesty of the night sky.

Right before I packed up my equipment, I noticed a light fuzzy area appearing right above the trees in my neighborhood and quickly looked at my star chart to see that this was the star cluster called the Pleiades. I quickly turned my telescope upon them and was just awestruck and how beautiful and powerful they looked. All through this night I could not help but think about what the psalmist penned in Psalm 19…

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1–2, ESV)

I can only imagine what the Psalmist was able to see in his day when there was so little light pollution, and the nights were very dark. The closest I have ever come to that was on a lake in California that was surrounded by mountains and far away from any cities. They sky was dazzling, and the milky way just glowed in the sky.

I sometimes wonder if Paul had this same thought in his mind when he wrote in Romans…

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19–20, ESV)

Of course, what Paul was writing was a stern warning that man is without excuse and that God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against ungodliness and unrighteousness for those who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

If in all this observable majesty were God is so easily perceived, how much more amazing is it when we read about Jesus the Christ and that He is the radiance of the glory of God, the exact imprint of his nature and it is he who upholds this universe by the word of his power. Let that sink in for a moment, Jesus, who as God humbled himself and became a man and walked among us upholds the universe by the word of His power.

I was reading a daily devotion by Skye Jethani and the last section of this devotion just fit in what I was experiencing…

“…maybe that’s what worship is. It’s what happens when God’s delight in us inspires our delight in him sparking an endless loop of joy between Creator and creature; between Lover and beloved.”1

May we gaze upon the beauty of the heavens and the earth an enter into a spirit filled time of worship and sing the words of the psalmist in Psalm 136.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;” (Psalm 136:1–9, ESV)

1 Skye Jethani · WITH GOD DAILY – A Nonsensical Gesture of Love 10.16.20

The Glory of God

I have been pondering Genesis 1:3 lately and just wanted to jot down some of the things I have been thinking about.

The Holeman illustrated Bible Dictionary says this about the Shekinah of God – “Transliteration of Hebrew word not found in the Bible but used in many of the Jewish writings to speak of God’s presence. The term means “that which dwells,” and is implied throughout the Bible whenever it refers to God’s nearness either in a person, object, or His glory.”  Another way to express the Shekinah of God is the visible manifestation of the presence of God the Father.

When we come to Genesis 1:3 and see the phrase “Let there be light” there are 2 words that are used in this passage that are of great interest. The Hebrew word “haya” and the word “or”. Later in Genesis 1 we see a different word used for light, that is the Hebrew word meorot. So why in Genesis 1:3 did the writer use “or”

A quick study on the use of the word “or” (light) in the Old Testament reveals some interesting facts to think about. It is used 109 times in the OT. Only 16 times is it used in the Pentateuch with the majority of the use of the word found in the Poetical and Prophetic books. The highest use is found in Job, Isaiah, and the Psalms.

The Bible Knowledge commentary says this about the Psalms – “The Psalms are the inspired responses of human hearts to God’s revelation of Himself in law, history, and prophecy.”  So it is not hard to understand why light is frequently used in reference to God’s presence or the reflection of His presence from his people.

Looking at the root for the word “or” it can mean “to be, cause or make luminous and enlighten” and can also mean illumination. The word is used throughout scripture in both a literal and metaphorical ways.

So it is not hard to see this word “or” (light) as a expression of God’s presence or of His Glory, even possibly in Gen 1:3 the revelation of God’s glory for the first time.

It is also interesting that God formed the light out of the darkness, possibly meaning that because of the darkness, light had to be revealed. Light overcoming darkness becomes a pattern that is mirrored frequently in the physical realm. This could be why day follows night and why night and day are considered “one day.” The Biblical timetable reveals this concept with each new day beginning with darkness then followed by light — and ending just before the following sunset. Light Shining forth from the darkness then becomes a common recurrent theme throughout scripture.

So to better understand the word for light we must also evaluate the word here for darkness: The Theological Wordbook of the OT say that darkness is the opposite of light, that it is the word that was used to describe the darkness that was over Egypt as a plague, that it can have figurative meanings like ignorance, evil, hiddenness
, blindness, and judgment. Man is said to be in darkness without the revelation of God and His salvation.

Delving into the other important word found in Genesis 1:3, we find the word “haya” (let there be) which literally means “let be.” The word “there” does not appear in the original Hebrew but has been added by the translators for clarification. In fact, the Hebrew actually means “let be” and is a masculine form therefore referring to “him” rather than “it.” So Hebrew could possibly be translated as “Let Him be Light.” In this way, God is revealed in the original Hebrew words!

Now let’s look at some verses that may reveal a bit more of what may be going on right in the beginning of Genesis:

John 1:1–5 (ESV) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 12:44–46 (ESV) 44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV) 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1:1–3 (ESV) 1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

John 1:3–5 (ESV) 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Revelation 21:22–25 (ESV) 22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.

Is it possible then that the light revealed in Gen 1:3 is the first revelation of the Glory of God in our Savior Yeshua the Christ and a first glimpse of redemption before sin even enters the world.

Food for thought.

In the beginning

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” (Genesis 1:1–5, ESV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1–5, ESV)

The book of Genesis and the book of John start our with the most amazing statement…”In the beginning” What is even more amazing is that Yeshua (Jesus) is right there as well.

Is it not interesting that verse 3 in Genesis God says “Let there be light” and yet we do not see the creation of the sun, moon, or stars until the fourth day. The book of John gives us even more insight into Genesis. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.compared to the verse in Genesis…“God separated the light from the darkness.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” (John 1:9–10, ESV)

So many arguments are stirred up regarding the science of creation that sometimes we forget that this is not about science, it is about Yeshua. The word for light in Genesis 1 is from the root owr which means to be or to make luminous. Is it possible that the phrase “Let there be light” is the first revealing of Jesus our Messiah? Lets look at a few other verses that are just amazing when you really ponder them.

The Lord is my light (owr) and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1, ESV)

The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.” (Isaiah 60:19–20, ESV)

And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face.” (Ezekiel 43:2–3, ESV)

He (Yeshua) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3, ESV)

…“for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”” (Luke 2:30–32, ESV)

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” (John 8:12, ESV)

Not only is Yeshua revealed as the light of the world, but it also says he is the light of life!  In scripture darkness is also a symbol of death and separation. So when John says “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4, ESV) He is showing us that Yeshua IS LIFE. He is the one who overcomes the darkness (death). Which is what happens on the cross!

Back in Genesis then, is not the separation of light and darkness a separation also of life and death? Is this possibly just a very subtle foreshadowing of the choices we would have before us in our walk of obedience before our God…“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days…….(Deuteronomy 30:19–20, ESV)

Then once we have choose life, what are we to do with it?  We are obey his voice, and that voice says this about the light….““You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14–16, ESV)

The light of Yeshua, the radiance of the glory of God is reflected in us as we walk in obedience to Him, and that is not to be hidden or concealed but is to be shined before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to our Father in Heaven….“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)

So what are the good works that God prepared beforehand? His instructions on how we should live…The Word of God! His Torah!

Lord, help me to live a life that is aligned with your Words and instructions, and may I humbly walk with my Lord and reflect HIS light to the world around me. AMEN.