Vol. 6, No. 11
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Four times in Scripture God's people are admonished to worship him "in the beauty of holiness." Consider the passages:
Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! (1 Chronicles 16:29)
And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: "Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever." (2 Chronicles 20:21)
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. (Psalm 29:2)
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. (Psalm 96:9)
From these Old Testament passages several lessons can be learned for the New Testament Christian. Though worship patterns are different in a changed age (John 4:21-24), no change has taken place in God's nature (Hebrews 13:8). The attitude and lifestyle behind worship are always the same.
Whatever one may do in worship to God must be accompanied by a holy lifestyle. Holiness carries the ideas of purity, dedication, devotion and sanctification. One is different from the world around him by a separation from sin and a commitment to pure living. He becomes, then, a living sacrifice, whose life is "holy, acceptable to God" as a matter of "reasonable service" (Romans 12:1-2).
When such holiness is evident in the everyday living of a child of God, his or her worship is, indeed, beautiful. It is pleasing to God and pleasant to the worshiper. There is nothing more fulfilling than humbling oneself before the Creator and Controller of the Universe and knowing that he loves you. There is nothing more inspiring than, when realizing how little one is in the great scheme of things, realizing also that the God of heaven still desires (and expects) personal expressions of devotion from such a seemingly insignificant individual. Space would not permit a listing of possible reasons the worship in holiness is described as beautiful, but the contrast must be noted. Worship without holiness is reprehensible to God. He not only frowns upon it, he despises it. On a few occasions in Scripture, God noted that he hated some things. One such place is regarding the worship by Israelites who were not truly devoted, not truly holy.
I hate, I despise your feast days, And I do not savor your sacred assemblies. (Amos 5:21)
The reason? They were a people of injustice and unrighteousness (Amos 5:24). Since holiness was not present, their worship was far from beautiful. May we ever be careful to worship God "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24) and "in the beauty of holiness."