Links Daily Devotional

The Beauty We Fear

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 1:28b, NIV)

It’s summer, and the talk among your friends may be similar to what it is among mine. “Where are you headed this year? What courses will you play?”

One of the great pleasures of our game is that it is never contested on the same playing field. Even the same course can be greatly altered one day to the next by placement of the tees and pins. Such a variation in the 2012 US Open at The Olympic Club may have cost Jim Furyk the championship, when he couldn’t negotiate the suddenly awkward tee placement at the par-5 sixteenth on the final day. The win went to Webb Simpson.

The beauty of God is stunning, only barely captured in words. But we know this is true: it produces the fear we call awe.While in other sports, the manmade variety of arenas provide an attraction, a baseline is a baseline is a baseline. A soccer pitch may vary in size, but not much, and its shape is always the same. Maybe only cyclists and Formula 1 racers can appreciate the diversity of their playing grounds as we do, and surfers certainly recognize the change in natural conditions from day to day. Maybe they too are able to stand back enough in the midst of what they’re doing and enjoy the beauty of it all.

The wonders of creation—including those on and around golf courses—are perfect reminders of the hand of God. Even creation, we know from Paul’s words to the Romans, is groaning for the full coming of Christ’s kingdom, but we know as well that “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1) and “mountains and all hills, fruit trees and cedars” are called upon to sing God’s praises (Psalm 148:9).

So if you’re one of those traveling this summer, whether you will be playing golf or not, keep your eyes open for the wondrous works of the hand of God.

And yet, we should not stop at the works of God. We must seek too the beauty of the Lord himself.

In the opening chapter of Ezekiel, the prophet’s dream-driven words would strike us as ethereal if the images weren’t also pictures of great strength. There is a windstorm with lightning and fire, and emerging from it are angels—winged, bright, quick. There is so much activity going on that poor Ezekiel must not have known where to train his eyes. Until…

And then came the glory of God himself. Like glowing metal, the Lord showed up in brilliant light—“like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day.”

The beauty of God is stunning, only barely captured in words. But we know this is true: it produces the fear we call awe. It drives its beholders to the ground, to their knees, to their faces. This may not be your idea of “a good time.” But I can promise you that when you truly encounter God, it is an unforgettable experience. In it, you’ll recognize what your soul has always known—there is a God beyond compare, and his intense desire is for you to seek him, see him, and know him in all his beauty.

Jeff Hopper
July 12, 2017
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