“Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.” -Ezekiel 1:28
“Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory…” -Luke 9:32
Deep inside every human heart is a longing for the eternal and for the reality of the limitless beauty of God. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says about God: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
While many people do indeed reject the truth of God, twist the truth about God, exchange the reality of the true God for other gods or suppress the truth in order to continue in sin; the knowledge of God is all around us, even visibly seen by creation itself (Romans 1:18-32). A spiritual thirst also exists within us for the eternal (John 4:1-26); for something greater than ourselves and beyond the physical or material world.
That thirst is really for God himself. Not to merely know about Him, but to truly know Him. And in fact, He alone is able to quench the hunger and thirst of our souls and satisfy the deepest desires and cravings of the human heart.
Nathan Stone, in his book Names of God, writes in the introduction the following: “The first question in some of our catechisms is “What is the chief end of man?” and the answer is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” But we will experience God in such fashion-we will glorify and enjoy him-only in proportion as we know him. The knowledge of God is more essential for the Christian, and indeed for all the world, than the knowledge of anything else-yes of all things together. The prayer of our Lord Jesus for his disciples in John 17:3 was: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Eternal life is not merely about knowing we will go to heaven when we die. It’s about entering into eternal fellowship with our Creator! Heaven is only heaven because God is there and we shall behold him in all his perfect, glorious beauty; in the splendor of His holiness!
In fact, the most beautiful sunset, brilliant sunrise or any other aspect of creation, no matter how breathtaking, cannot compare with the beauty of God himself. If this is true and we long and love to be surrounded by beauty and find rest in it; how much more so should we dwell in, seek, enjoy and find our rest in the beauty of God himself! He is infinitely, indescribably, inexhaustibly glorious, majestic and awesome in the splendor of his holiness. His beauty when gazed upon, naturally and spontaneously causes worship, thanksgiving and praise to flow freely and passionately from our hearts through our lips to his throne! Gazing upon his beauty with a child-like wonder and longing is the most intoxicating, captivating and refreshing thing we can ever do on earth and for eternity. We will never grow tired of it because his beauty is as endless as the waves crashing upon the shore and “in his presence is fullness of joy and eternal pleasures forevermore!” “(Psalm 16:11, 27:4, 29:1-2, 1 Chronicles 16:9).
God is infinite, eternal and limitless in his breathtaking beauty. A.W. Tozer in his classic first volume of The Attributes of God wrote this in his chapter on God’s Perfection: “We have lost also an awareness of the invisible and eternal. The world is too much with us so that the invisible and eternal seem to be quite forgotten or least we are not aware of it. We’re only briefly aware of it when somebody dies. The Church has lost the consciousness of the divine Presence and the concept of majesty.” (pg 179). Later he writes; “The modern Christian has lost a sense of worship along with the concept of majesty, and of course, reverence as well. He has lost his ability to withdraw inwardly and commune in the secret place with God in the shrine of his own hidden spirit. It is this that makes Christianity, and we have all but lost it.” (pg 181).
It is this reality of God, worship of God and fellowship with God that we must recover. It is a sense of wonder and awe we need to reclaim. We need to pray that the Holy Spirit would do a supernatural work in us, opening the eyes of our heart in revealing more of God to us. Paul the apostle continually prayed that way for the Ephesian believers: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” (Ephesians 1:17). To know God, who is a “supernatural” being (something or someone, beyond the natural or ordinary); it requires a supernatural work of the Spirit in our hearts.
Our part is to pray for this and position ourselves before God with a humility, hunger and child-like faith to know him. In fact we need to make the pursuit of gazing upon the beauty of God our number one desire and passion in life. This was the cry of David’s heart and the main focus of his life. In Psalm 27:4 he writes: “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” Another Psalm writer expressed it this way in Psalm 42:1-2: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” This was the deepest longing of the heart of the apostle Paul: “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…I want to know Christ.” (Philippians 3:8, 10).
Do we have this kind of desire for God? Do we place this much value on knowing God, a value and priority greater than anything or anyone else? Are we merely content to go to a church service once a week and even week after week to meet with others but leave unchanged and untouched by the brilliance and beauty of God himself? Fellowship with others, teaching, even serving itself, has its place and importance, but it is God we must be seeking, longing to know and going to meet with most of all!
Are we bored in God’s house? One of the sons of Korah once wrote: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” (Psalm 84:10). Where do we long to be? The presence of God or everywhere but or someplace else? The truth is some are bored of God (because they don’t really know God and have not truly “tasted and seen” of his goodness and glory: Psalm 34:8). Others of us are rightly bored of just “church as usual” where there is no real sense of the presence and majesty of God as we gather together. There is a deadness, dryness and absence of the manifest glory of God in many church services. Even more tragic is how few seem to realize or are willing to admit it. We need an awakening of hunger and longing to simply be with God; a holy restlessness for the eternal and infinite!
I believe in fact, the problem lies in the reality that the church has a spirit of slumber upon her. Her “disciples,” as Jesus’ early disciples, are “sleeping” when they should be communing and praying with their Heavenly Father (Matthew 26:36-45). Some have in fact succumbed as the early disciples did in the garden of Gethsemane (and thus have no power to withstand Satan’s temptations nor any victory, joy and peace in their lives). Others of us battle it each time we go to read God’s Word, pray, worship or sit under the teaching of God’s Word. It is indeed all out spiritual warfare as Satan does not want us coming into contact with God and being changed! We have to recognize this and overcome it! We have no excuse as the early disciples may have had. The Spirit had not yet come upon them to live within them. But today the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us! (Ephesians 1:18-23). He has overcome the “sleep of death” so surely He can help us overcome the Spirit of slumber so that we behold God’s glory!
When Jesus died on the cross one of the prophetically significant things that happened was the tearing of the veil in the temple. The veil was what separated the holy place from the holy of holies. Prior to Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross, only the high priest, once a year, could enter the holy of holies, where God’s very real, manifest and manifold presence was. But with Christ uttering the words “It is finished” no more sacrifice was needed for sin, year after year. Sinful man was no longer separated from a holy God! Christ opened the way for all to approach God, commune with God and behold the glory of God, in the very presence of God! (John 19:30, Hebrews 4:14-16).
This is a reality we should not take for granted, nor fail to take full advantage of! It is time for the church to awaken and see the glory of God! It is time to commune with God and behold the beauty of God. Let the waves of his endless faithfulness, mercy, grace, eternality, transcendence, holiness, purity and splendor wash over you time and time again. Spend time in his glorious presence. His vastness is greater than the ocean or galaxy. He is more limitless than the universe. His glory is more brilliant then the sun and he is more beautiful than creation itself. He is matchless in majesty and power. Oh, how we ought to worship Him! How we ought to adore him and give him the honor, praise and glory He deserves! May the church arise and may God arise in our midst!
“At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.” (Revelation 4:2-3).
“Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13).