The Beauty that Transforms Your Creative Life
After a traumatic year or season we can all feel weary, but I am inviting you today to discover the beauty that transforms your creative life and your spiritual life, and gives you hope. This unique beauty is not only the source of your creativity, but it is also the source of your hope and joy in Christ. This beauty is so profound that King David made experiencing this beauty his priority when he was enduring his own traumatic season. He was attacked, maligned and threatened by those around him. When other kings would go to the war room and sharpen their swords, King David sought out this beauty of the Lord.
This profound beauty is found among David’s writings in the book of Psalms:
“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
Facing the ugliness of failure, hatred or injustice, is taxing on the soul. The greater the pain, the more we cannot handle it on our own. We need another source of hope and joy. This is what David understood profoundly. Our soul needs to be refreshed and transformed by the beauty of God himself.
The Dangerous Poet
King David was a poet, a musician, a songwriter, and a man who was moved to dance with all his might before the LORD. None of these qualities were listed in the job description for kings, but God chose him – the “Artist King” and the “Warrior Poet”. His creativity and passion were evident to all, and embraced by his loving Father in heaven.
David was a warrior and an artist. He was never one without the other. David began not only by killing Goliath, but also playing the harp to soothe the soul of King Saul as he was tormented by a spirit (1 Sam 16:23). His wisdom, courage and talent were all found in the service of God over and over. To only see him as a warrior is to belittle his talents as an artist, and the arts themselves. To only see him as a poet is to belittle his strength and courage as a warrior, and the need for a protector who will fight to rescue and protect you. God loved both the passion and the poetry, the courage and the creativity of David. It is no small thing that he was the only king of which it was said “He is a man after God’s heart” (1 Sam 13:14).
Following God’s Dangerous Poet
Where do you and I run when we are fraught with anxiety and concerns about our loved ones, our homes, and our cities? Do we run to the news? Do we begin with logistics and strategies, or do we run to God? Do we see it as all up to us, or do we remember who is really sovereign over everything? Read the context of David’s request: He is not on a retreat writing poetry, or using a peaceful season of life to ponder new lyrics as he sits patiently waiting in the Temple for inspiration? No. Read these verses that precede his request to gaze upon the Lord’s beauty:
“Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.”
– Psalm 27:3
Imagine being in the Temple of God in Jerusalem, worshiping God. As you listen to others, you hear rumors of other nations ready to attack, and leaders who want to conquer Jerusalem. And then, to your surprise, you see the King of Israel, David himself walk in the room and begin to worship the Lord, God Almighty. From out of the corner of your eye you catch a glimpse of how David prepared for war. It wasn’t by a visit to the war room to meet with his strategic advisors. It wasn’t a visit to his armory to check on his armor. He knew that others would trust in their armor and in their chariots, but God’s people will trust in the name of their Lord God.
This man, chosen by God, runs to the house of worship, seeking God’s presence and soaking in the beauty and majesty of God in His temple. Though a thousand concerns raced through his mind, He asks for only one thing. One thing he desires! He wants to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.
Your Imagination Transformed by God’s Beauty
The key to this passage is to understand the role of your imagination. Your heart, your emotions, and your fears are all fed by what you place before your eyes and what inhabits your dreams.
Whatever you love the most, is the thing you will fear losing.
Whatever you think you deserve the most, is the thing that will crush you when you do not receive it.
Whatever you fear the most is the thing that will bring anxiety into your heart.
David’s focus was on how purely good, true, just, loving, and beautiful God is. David knew that to dwell on the goodness of God would bring peace to his soul because God upholds the righteous. He knew that to dwell on the truthfulness and faithfulness of God would bring him confidence in God’s promise to go with David into the battle he must fight. And, he also knew that to soak in the beauty of God’s character, would bring hope and healing to his soul because this God of Israel is the only God who brings “beauty for ashes”, and “the oil of joy instead of mourning,” and a “garment of praise instead of a downcast and depressed spirit.” (Isaiah 61:3)
David saw that beauty is a gift of God, and a foretaste of eternal life with God. It was like the aroma of hope, and a picture of the beauty of life in the New Jerusalem. This beauty was the hope to which he held on to. As you think about the life of this Poetic, Warrior King, consider these questions:
1. What do you place before your eyes and your imagination, that will give you a holy confidence in the goodness of God?
2. What inspires your soul to lift your eyes to God, to be filled with his spirit, and do whatever He has commanded you to do?
The Beauty We Will Experience in Heaven
Take time to read the rest of Psalm 27, and ask God to show you how King David depended upon the Lord for his hope, his ability to lead God’s people, and for his inspiration and creativity. David wrote so many wonderful songs that continue to speak to God’s people today. His inspiration was the beauty of God, as seen through the beauty of the Lord’s Temple.
One day we will see God face to face, and we will be undone by such beauty as have never before beheld. Not merely a beauty of physical proportions, but a beauty that flows out of a heart of love, vast and deep. In that day, we will be known and loved by the only one who is perfectly good, perfectly true, and perfectly beautiful. No more shame or guilt. Only forgiveness, and love.
May we echo the words of King David in Psalm 27:8
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
Lord, may we seek your face, and meditate upon your beauty wherever we find it – in nature, in cathedrals, in gardens, and in Christian community. You are our hope and our deliverer. Refresh our imagination so that we may create great works of art, and refresh our soul so that we may love you more deeply as our God and Father, and love our neighbor as ourself.
Copyright © 2021 Joel & Michelle Pelsue. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.
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