May 3 | Daily Devotion

May 3 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

Today’s reading is a celebration of the magnificence of Solomon’s reign. God promised that he would give the king not only wisdom, but also wealth, fame, and long life. Solomon used his blessings to honor God and build up his kingdom. Today we take a verbal tour of some of Solomon’s architectural achievements, including the permanent place of worship and the royal palace. The finest materials are used, from quarried stone to carved cedar and cast gold, and no expense is spared. Solomon secures the services of the most celebrated artisans in the world. Both the Temple and the palace are festooned with intricate carvings of lions, winged cherubs, and palm trees, every one a celebration of God’s creation. And the Temple furnishings are lavish.

Throughout the centuries, art has expressed who we are as individuals and communities. And the creations of our hands have conveyed who God is! We are image bearers, people created to create; and we are created to celebrate the most beautiful Being in the universe. From the moment God crafted Adam and told him to make the world a better place, we have been creating. Whether we realize it or not, every bit of designing, constructing, and producing we do is a celebration of the magnificent God who created us. In his recent book on beauty, my friend Pastor Steve DeWitt challenges readers to make this connection. He writes, “When people think of God, they often consider his power or love or mercy. But how many people think of God as intrinsically beautiful? Yet it is God who created beauty. He is the Beauty behind every beauty” (Steve DeWitt, Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything). Is it any wonder that the story of the crucifixion is the most celebrated artistic subject of the last 2, 000 years? This beautiful tragedy brings glory to God, and good to His creatures.

We won’t all build temples or royal palaces but we can enjoy beauty, and we can take seriously the everyday work of our hands. Christians, of all people, can and should appreciate and enjoy beauty. We are not (or should not be) philistines! Why? Because beauty points us back to God. It is a celebration of the most beautiful Being in the universe. It is so much a part of who we are as image bearers that it’s actually possible for us to create without considering why! But meditating on what motivates us to craft and enjoy beauty brings even greater praise to God and more enjoyment to our own lives. I cannot help but think of God when I see beauty, and it is everywhere. Yes, I see beauty in magnificent cathedrals and presidential palaces. But I also see beauty in cozy kitchens and comfy couches, rustic barns and old bookstores, in well-turned phrases, and in ten thousand other things every single day.

Take this as permission (or motivation) to create and enjoy beauty, to revel in it every day. And when you do, remember the Beauty behind the beauty and give Him praise.

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the Senior Pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.