“Behold your God!” Behold, the Lord comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. Isaiah 40:9b-10
Rhythms, disciplines, or practices; call them whatever you like but in the Christian life we have a whole list of things to do. They are things we should be pursuing and engaging in as regular parts of our following after Jesus. From Bible reading, to time spent praying, fasting, serving others and worshiping (just to name a few); we have a list of “to do’s” that are a part of our lives.
These practices are good things. They are right things–so long as they are kept in their proper place. So long as they are seen as ways of responding to Christ. So long as the “to do’s” don’t become our identity or the place from which we get our value. I love these things we do. I love learning how to do them better, how to go deeper with them, how to learn more of Christ in them. And I read books on them; books on how to study the Bible well, how to pray effectively, how to fast responsibly, etc.
I’m wondering though, is there a practice (at least one) that we have largely neglected? Not that we would disagree that it’s needed, but have we forgotten to preach and teach on it, to write good books about it; forgotten to encourage one another to spend intentional time in it?
I’m thinking of the practice of beholding. Beholding the greatness of God; beholding his majesty and magnificence. I’m not talking about listing the things he’s done for us, that’s the practice of gratitude (another intentional practice that we don’t give enough attention to). What I’m talking about here though is recognizing the holiness and grandeur of God. Not just being awed by what he does for us, but literally being amazed and astounded by who is.
When was the last time you spent significant energy considering the truths about God’s character that involve more than just listing what he’s done for you?
We see merit in setting aside time to read our Bibles (even if we struggle to do so regularly) and we see the need to give time to prayer. Why would we not also give intentional time to the practice of beholding the greatness of God? The NIV uses the simple word “see” in Isaiah 40:10, “See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power…” and the ESV uses the word “behold” in the same verse. Personally, I like the word behold a little more because for me it intimates something deep and significant. An intentional perceiving of something (or in this case, Someone) impressive. But the call us for to see the Sovereign Lord is such a powerful reminder as well.
How often do we just not see him in our daily activitites? How often do we pray to ask for things from him and read to learn things about him and talk to tell some things about him and yet go through the whole day and not see him?
Behold the greatness of God. He comes and he brings everything with him that he needs. His rule is with him, his reward is with him, his recompense is with him. He does not come needing or seeking to gain. He comes delievering, determining, ruling. And all he receives ultimatley has come from him as well.
I love how Isaiah 40 proceeds afetr verse 10, because it offers the chance to bring about comparisons. It asks some critical questions of God: Who measures up to him? Who is like him? Who can give counsel to him? Comprehend him? Who has his endurance, or power, or faithfulness?
No one. No one. No one.
Behold the greatness of God, who has no equal, who is measured against none but himself. The Sovereign Lord who is Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer all in one.
How would our hearts be changed if we began to give regular time to sit and ponder the greatness of God? What if we were patient enough and willing enough to learn how to make our relationship with Christ less about ourselves and our needs and our wants and our blessings and our thoughts and more increasingly about Jesus? What if when we spent time in Bible study and in prayer we spent equal time in beholding God, in seeing him? Can you imagine the way our hearts would be moved? The depths of the love of Christ we would discover? The change we would experience?
It seems to me we would come to know him far deeper and love him far greater.
Now this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3