There are anthems in which the lyrics are such that there are deep theological and spiritual insights which can be extracted that draw us to worship. There are some with superb poetry that seem to paint pictures with their words. There are others which are so simple that they connect with us at a very basic level with little effort. And then there are those like our anthem this week which, although the words are powerful, it is the spirit of them combined with exquisitely appropriate melody which creates an atmosphere of experiential worship and invites us to join in.
Right from the first word, Behold, we are captured. Look, but do more than look. Go beyond seeing to perceiving—Jehovah is on the throne. He is holy, exalted and lifted up, but He is also Abba Father, the One who loves us so dearly. Behold Him. Come reverently, quietly, but joyfully, and with great adoration into such a Presence as this!
Behold also speaks to a focus. Again, it is not just to glance and look away, but to fix our gaze and engage our minds, with an intent to respond. In this case, our response would be one of awed worship.
There is a verse most of us know, Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is fixed on You, because he trusts in You.” How do we get there to that place of perfect peace and trust, especially at times when peace is not our natural response? Songs like this show us the key. It is full of the truth of who He is. Such songs sharpen our focus, and enable us to fix our gaze, and keep our hearts and minds focused on Him. They remind us who He is and what He has done. They help us to see that He is so far greater than anything we face here on earth. They help us to focus with such regularity that it becomes our natural response when faced with things which would attempt to shake us.
It is sort of like one of those amazing aerial camera shots they do in the Alps that flies high above the grandeur, then pulls in tight to zoom in on a magnificent waterfall, or a heart of mountain goats nimbly traversing the rugged heights. The breathtaking perspective transports us with wonder from the mundane world around us to one of such splendor we so rarely experience.
Unlike the Alps, we have more access to the wonders of our God than we avail ourselves, and our lives are the poorer for it. The anthem quotes some of the words of Revelation, “Amen, Amen, blessing and honor and glory and power, Amen.” Several passages in Revelation pull back the veil a little and give us a glimmer of the glory of our God in His heavenly kingdom which we will see on That Day. But the truth is we have far more opportunities to see this glory in this world than we realize. When we get beyond the note, note, note of songs like this and allow the words to inhabit us, and the spirit of them to grip us, we can express together a clearer vision and experience together a deeper worship than we have realized is possible.
Therefore, Behold the Lord in the lyrics of this anthem. Which of them stirs you to see Him high and exalted? Which of them touches you with how He is intimately involved in your life? Are you feeling empty? He is the Well that over flows. Are you filled with regrets? He is the One who washes us clean. He is perfect. He is Savior. He is the One who will be with us forevermore. He is worthy, oh, so worthy!
The bridge reminds us that this is not some impersonal spirit or life philosophy. This holiness has a name—Jesus! We are not merely empowered to be overcomers in this world by the power of positive thinking, because Victory has a name—Jesus! We do not just proclaim some words we believe, because the Word has a name—Jesus! We are not just eternally saved because we believe in some plan of salvation. Redemption has a name—Jesus!
If we do not know Him, we have held our beliefs in vain. If we do not adore Him, we are living lives that have failed to reach the abundance He has offered us. Anthems like this offer us the opportunity to know and to adore, and to invite others to join us. Let’s not miss this opportunity to behold Him with greater clarity and delight!
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries