The King in His Beauty

“Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty…”
Isaiah 33:17

I am preaching tonight at a celebration of life service for a sister in Christ.  Family members are sharing the eulogy and reflections on her life, and I was asked to give a message of hope and encouragement.  This is a welcomed privilege and honor, and I pray that God will be glorified and our spirits blessed by our time of worship and reflection upon God’s word.

In preparing for this service, my eyes kept turning to the title of a book that I’ve been reading by Thomas Schreiner called, “The King in His Beauty.”  It is a Biblical theology book that unfolds the revelation of God through the Old and New Testaments.

The title of the book, and the passage of Isaiah from whence it is taken, captivates me.  How often do we think of Christ our King as beautiful?  Sure we call upon Him as gracious, loving, mighty to save, and faithful.  We acknowledge that He is the only begotten of God, in whom the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, that He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.  But do we say that He is beautiful?

I think we have lost something in our appreciation of who Christ is when we fail to reflect upon His beauty.  It’s not surprising, but the Puritans were able to articulate the beauty of Christ brilliantly.

As the Word of God through whom all things were created, all the beauty we see today is derivative of Christ’s beauty.  Johnathon Edwards wrote,

“When we are delighted with flowery meadows, and gentle breezes of wind, we may consider that we see only the emanations of the sweet benevolence of Jesus Christ. When we behold the fragrant rose and lily, we see his love and purity. So the green trees, and fields, and singing of birds are the emanations of his infinite joy and kindness. The easiness and naturalness of trees and vines are shadows of his beauty and loveliness. The crystal rivers and murmuring streams are the footsteps of his favor, grace, and beauty. When we behold the light and brightness of the sun, the golden edges of an evening cloud or the beauteous bow, we behold the adumbrations of his glory and goodness, and in the blue sky, of his mildness and gentleness. There are also many things wherein we may behold his awful majesty, in the sun in his strength, in comets, in thunder, in the hovering thunderclouds, in ragged rocks, and the brows of mountains. That beauteous light with which the world is filled in a clear day, is a lively shadow of his spotless holiness, and happiness and delight in communicating himself; and doubtless this is a reason that Christ is compared so often to those things, and called by their names, as the Sun of Righteousness, the morning star, the rose of Sharon, and lily of the valley, the apple tree amongst the trees of the wood, a bundle of myrrh, a roe, or a young hart.”

Our eyes are naturally drawn to that which is beautiful, and there is nothing more wonderful that the beauty of our Savior.  The promise that we will one day look upon our King in His beauty is a glorious assurance.  It is the fulfillment of our heart’s desire.  Psalm 27:4 says, “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.”

May we know the King in His Beauty.  May we long for the King in His Beauty. May we see the King in His Beauty!

SDG

 

More Recommended Reading

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about what I’m reading, so I thought I’d share with you my current reading list as a recommendation.

Stuff Christians Like  -              By: Jonathan Acuff      Stuff Christians Like (Jonathan Acuff) – Okay, I’m starting with the guilty pleasure.  I’ve been a fan of their blog and website for a while now, and when I saw the book, I just had to get it.  It’s light, humorous reading, often poking fun at the little assiduities that Christians know are true but are never willing to admit.  Surpisingly, there are rare gems of insight that help you to see what the church is all about, stories that can move you.  Overall, a fun read.

The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & DevotionsThe Valley of Vision – Where “Stuff Christians Like” may be a guilty pleasure, “The Valley of Vision” is a heart breaking collection of Puritan Prayers, from writers such as Bunyan, Watts, Spurgeon, and others.  With a wrenching honesty before God, “The Valley of Vision” helps the reader articulate the groanings of the soul.  I’ve used portions of these prayers in worship, I read from these prayers to help suppliment my personal prayer time; an excellent read for those who desire to mature in prayer.

Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church  -              By: Kenda Creasy Dean      Almost Christian – (Kenda Creasy Dean) I’m reading this one in study with my Youth Ministry Director.  Based on the National Study of Youth and Religion Dean investigates why American teenagers are so positive about Christianity, and at the same time so apathetic about traditional forms of religious practice?
Dean explores the breakdown of the church into the false gospel of Moralistic Theraputic Deism, and offers insight into ways in which an authentic, meaningful, and life-changing Christian faith can be passed from one generatino to the next.  Not my normal cup of tea, but it has been very informative.

Jonathan Edwards: A Life   -              By: George M. Marsden      Johnathon Edwards, a Life (George Marsden) – Maybe I’ve never cared enough about someone else’s life to read a biography, but this is the first biography that I have ever willingly chosen to read – and I am so thankful for it.  I’m still working through this exhaustive volume on Edwards by George Marsden (640 pages), but I am loving every page.  On one page I’ll be laughing at the seemingly absurd reaction over the phrase “let all the people say, amen,” and on the next I’ll be moved to tears over the anguish and struggle of this man of God.  So often Edwards has been portrayed as a rigid puritanical despot, or whittled down to a well-spoken naturalist deist – neither of which is a fair representation of one of the greatest minds of American Christianity to date.

Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion  -              By: Ted Kluck, Kevin DeYoung      Why we love the Church (De Young and Kluck) – When everyone else is producing books on what’s wrong with the church and how to be the church without going to church, here are two guys who love the church and make a great appeal on it’s behalf.  The writing styles of DeYoung and Kluck balance one another well with a good mix of Biblical study, historical information, and humor.  As the cover says, “Whether you’re committed, disgruntled, hesitant, or disconnected from the body of Christ, this passionate resource will help you renew your love for the church in all its real-life guts, gaffes, and glory. DeYoung and Kluck’s valuable resource provides a solid reminder of the biblical mandate to participate in our local congregations. Relevant and encouraging!”

Good reading everyone!

SDG