This past Sunday, a song I’d not thought of in months was sung in my church. Convicting and stirring, its words were ones I’d thought a lot about last year, but had moved on from in the busy rush of life. This week, I’ve found myself singing the refrain over and over, and again pondering some of the words.
What can strip the seeming beauty,
From the idols of the earth?
Not a sense of right or duty,
But the sight of peerless worth.
‘Tis that look that melted Peter,
’Tis that face that Stephen saw,
‘Tis that heart that wept with Mary,
Can alone from idols draw.
Do you know these words from Ora Rowen’s Hast thou heard Him, seen Him, known Him? Written 150 years ago, they sum up what we so easily “move on from”. We forget that the only way our idols loose their grip on our soul is for us to see Jesus as even more beautiful.
Only time spent drinking in the sight of His peerless worth — through reading and hearing of Him from scripture, and talking to Him through prayer — draws my heart away from idolatry.
And when my heart beats for Jesus alone, my idol’s seeming beauty, and subsequent power to draw my affections, dissolves. As I gaze on His radiance, anything or anyone else I’ve been seeking fulfillment or validation from stands stripped of beauty, paltry in comparison.
To a child of God, Jesus is captivating.
And I need reminding of that this week. Do you?
- If so, read and ponder the look that melted Peter. (John 13:36-38, John 18:15-27, John 21:15-19)
- Think on the face that Stephen, as he was stoned, saw. (Acts 6:8-15, Acts 7:54-60)
- Marvel at the heart that wept with Mary. (John 11:28-36)
And to read Ora Rowen’s full hymn, click here. (Her other stanzas, not included above, are full of insight and beautiful truth.) Or listen to a moving version of her old words set to new music: click here for Indelible Grace’s free link — I’ve listened over and over and still can’t get enough.
As I listen, I’m re-captivated. Captivated by Jesus’ beauty.
And that’s the purpose for which you and I were created — to be captivated by Jesus, who is the sight of peerless worth.
Painting: The Stoning of Saint Stephen by Rembrandt, 1625