Worship the Lord in the Splendor of His Holiness
Honor the LORD for the glory of his name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalm 29:2 summons us to “worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” How do we do this? What does this mean?
The original Hebrew of this verse is more ambiguous than our translation. It reads, literally, “Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” Many commentators believe that the beauty or splendor envisioned here is that of the worshipers who had dressed up to celebrate the victory and power of God. Other scholars follow the line of the NLT, seeing in verse 2 an image of God’s own holy beauty. In fact, the Hebrew of the verse can be read either way.
No matter how we interpret the language of Psalm 29:2, it encourages us to incorporate beauty in our worship of God. Through what we sing and what we say, in the design of our worship spaces and in their decor, we are to reflect and honor God’s own splendor.
As we seek to do this, we must be aware of several pitfalls. On the one hand, we can adorn our worship visually and musically in such a way that attention is drawn away from God and to the beauty of earthly realities. For example, if a soloist in church leaves you amazed at the glory of her voice rather than the glory of God, something isn’t quite right. On the other hand, we can treat worship and our worship spaces so casually that God’s holy beauty is neglected. The preference for comfort and familiarity in our worship can limit our experience and praise of God, even as too much aesthetic presumption can.
Psalm 29:2 urges us to create beauty to honor the Lord. It reminds us to let the beauty of this world, whether natural or made by human hands, point us to the supreme, sublime splendor of God.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: In what ways does your experience of beauty help you to worship? Have you ever found physical or musical beauty to be a distraction in worship? How can you let the beauty of creation lead you to worship the Creator?
PRAYER: O Lord, when I gaze upon the beauty of your creation, I get only a tiny glimpse of your own beauty. Nevertheless, thank you for making this world so aesthetically wonderful, and for giving me the ability to delight in it. Help me to let worldly splendor of all kinds point my heart to you.
Teach me what it means to worship you in the splendor of holiness. How might my attitudes and actions – perhaps even what I wear – reflect and honor you? Keep me from focusing so much on physical beauty that I forget you, however. May the music I love, the grandeur of the night sky, and all that moves my heart, move me closer to you in worship. Amen.