It came up in redemption groups recently that “behold” is a bit archaic. So, if I could swap it out with just one other word, that word would have to be “fantasize.” For many, that word is tainted to connote something sexual. But it simply means to daydream. It means to play a little movie in your head and to melt over it. It’s something we do nearly incessantly. Pay attention to your thoughts and think about what “movies” commonly occupy your own mind. I wonder if any other activity we do better exposes the direction of our worship than fantasizing.
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips.
Near death with thirst and then finding water. Fainting with weariness and then resting. Searching desperately and then finding at last. Dying of hunger and then feasting on rich food. King David is not informing you of facts to gain your nod of assent. He’s inviting you to join him: to drink, to rest, to find, and to taste! Fantasizing involves our thoughts, our hearts, our drool, and our physical posture. True beholding cannot merely be inward thought. It is imagination, engaging emotions, and tangible expression either aloud or written.
I firmly believe that a moment-to-moment practice of fantasizing over God is foundational for wise counsel. We do it so instinctively about everything else, and yet it seems unnatural with God. But scripture is filled with stories, pictures, movies, and gut-level analogies like food and water. It’s all a call to join: to taste and engage. As we considered last week, your worldly fantasies can give you ideas of how to fantasize about God.
This discipline is filled with delight. It’s like God “commanding” Israel to rest and feast. Seriously, did that really have to be a command? It turns out that it did because Israel disobeyed resting and feasting quite often. Well, God commands us to rest and feast as well, often in fact. Will we forsake cheap entertainment and sinful preoccupations in order to rest and feast?
In daily life, we suffocate sin as we proactively engage fantasies over God’s nature, promises, and actions. Doing this often in everyday life is where we’ll find sinful desires losing their influence and Godward desires raging outward. It’s God’s power at work in the gospel we behold. Without this, those you counsel probably won’t get very far.