Jonathan Edwards and Psalm 27:4

One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4).

David wants to “behold the beauty of the LORD.” You want a man who was caught up in the “beauty of the LORD”? Read Jonathan Edwards describe his conversion experience.

He writes, “The first instance that I remember of that sort of inward, sweet delight in God and divine things that I have lived much in since, was on reading those words [1 Tim. 1:17], ‘Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever, Amen.’ As I read the words, there came into my soul, and was as it were diffused through it, a sense of the glory of the Divine Being; a new sense, quite different from any thing I ever experienced before. Never any words of scripture seemed to me as these words did. I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up in him in heaven, and be as it were swallowed up in him for ever! … From about that time, I began to have a new kind of apprehensions and ideas of Christ, and the work of redemption, and the glorious way of salvation by him. An inward, sweet sense of these things, at times, came into my heart; and my soul was led away in pleasant views and contemplations of them. And my mind was greatly engaged to spend my time in reading and meditating on Christ, on the beauty and excellency of his person, and the lovely way of salvation by free grace in him…. The sense I had of divine things, would often of a sudden kindle up, as it were, a sweet burning in my heart; an ardor of soul, that I know not how to express.

“… I spent most of my time in thinking of divine things, year after year; often walking alone in the woods, and solitary places, for meditation, soliloquy, and prayer, and converse with God; and it was always my manner, at such times to sing forth my contemplations. … The delights which I now felt in those things of religion, were of an exceeding different kind from those before mentioned, that I had when a boy; and what I then had no more notion of than one born blind has of pleasant and beautiful colours. They were of a more inward, pure, soul-animating and refreshing nature. Those former delights never reached the heart; and did not arise from any sight of the divine excellency of the things of God; or any taste of the soul-satisfying and life-giving good there is in them.” (Murray, Jonathan Edwards, pgs. 35-36)

It’s interesting that in the same section, Edwards mentions how that before this conversion experience, he was terrified of thunderstorms. But afterwards, he rejoiced in them and was entertained by them, because he could see the majestic voice of God in them, which led him to “sweet contemplations of my great and glorious God.”

That is what David desires as well. David wanted to be where God was. He craved it. Can you say with confidence that you regularly behold the beauty of the Lord?

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