Saturday, December 20, 2014

Beauty—separate from the madness and mayhem

forest with sun streaming in
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Chronicles 16:23-36

TO CHEW ON: "Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering and come before Him.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." 1 Chronicles 16:29

Our reading today is part of the song of thanksgiving David sang when he brought the Ark to Jerusalem. It soars with praise and thanksgiving, God-compliments and God-boasts. It suggests to its listeners and participants how to worship:
"Sing to the Lord …  proclaim the good news …  Declare His glory …  Give to the Lord glory and strength … the glory due His name. Bring an offering … Worship…in the beauty of holiness… Tremble before Him… Give thanks and say, 'Save us, O God of our salvation."

To me the climax of David's song is the line from verse 29: "Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."

[Holiness (Qodesh) means apartness, sacredness, separateness, holiness.]

A sidebar article in my Bible explains:
"To worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness is to worship God in the adornment, enrichment, enhancement of His "otherness" and sacredness. He is separate and set apart from all that He created. He is the Holy One—this is His crowning attribute that sums up all His attributes" - LeMar Boschman, "Worship In Holiness," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 539.

As I'm writing this, our news media is all a-frenzy, reporting on two events—the antics of local eco-protestors on Burnaby Mountain and the riots, looting, fire-setting and general lawlessness that started in Ferguson, Missouri on November 24th.

No matter who's right or wrong in these situations, the ugliness, bad language, violence, anger, resistance to authority they bring out is sickening. To me it's a vivid illustration of the beastly heart inside us, usually covered by a veneer of civility but so readily aroused to rebellion and mayhem.

Setting my mind, tuning my mouth to praise God, who is "separate and set apart" from us—clamorous, violent, easily provoked humans—spending time in His altogether fair, powerful, pure presence, appreciating His creativity, thanking Him for His accomplishments in history (knowing that He will sort out these events too), salvation, my life, is mighty attractive right about now!

PRAYER: Dear God, I know my mind can only begin to comprehend You—just because You are holy, separate, other. Today, please help me to experience some of Your holy essence as I worship in Your presence. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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