Beauty. Our culture seems to idolize the beautiful people. Mega-dollar industries have been built on providing cosmetics, beautifying potions, exercise machines to make the body sleek, to name just a few examples, all for making people beautiful. But what is beauty, really? Is physical beauty really what is important?
The Merriam Webster online dictionary [found at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/] provides one definition of “beauty” as “The quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit; loveliness.” I like this definition.
In his book, The Holiness of God, p. 196-7, Dr. R. C. Sproul states that God is the source of beauty. Indeed, that beauty is one of the attributes of our Divine Creator.
God Himself is the ground of all unity and diversity, of simplicity and complexity. His very being is internally consistent and harmonious and proportionate. In him there are no distortions, no disorder, no ugliness. His voice admits to no noise or cacophony. The works of his hands are cosmos, not chaos. Chaos is marked by disorder and confusion; it is manifest irrationally. The beauty of God is a sane and rational beauty in that his being is one of perfect sanity and order. Insofar as the beautiful bears witness to these qualities, they bear witness to Him. … To cultivate an appreciation for beauty is to set our course to follow after the sublime Author of all beauty.
Appreciation for beauty is a consistent theme throughout the Bible. The Old Testament Scriptures are particularly appreciative of the beauty of nature. God announced that creation was good in Genesis and, after the creation of mankind, the penultimate act of creation, God declared it to be “very good”! Then, in Exodus we read:
Exodus 28:2 – “And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.”
These words were spoken by God when He gave the instructions and directions for the Tabernacle to be built in the wilderness and for the dishes and implements to be used, even down to the detail to be included on the clothing to be worn by the priests. Note, God included as a characteristic of the holy garments that they are “for beauty”.
The psalms exhibit an appreciation for God’s handiwork in numerous passages. Consider Psalm 8:1, 3-4:
“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. … When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”
Psalm 19:1 states:
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.”
Psalm 104 describes God’s mighty work in creation noting that He set the earth on its foundations and going on to describe the individual parts of creation all under the umbrella of the prayer “Bless the LORD, O my soul!”
Listen to Brentwood Jazz Quartet’s rendition of “All Creatures of Our God and King” from their album The Best of the Brentwood Jazz Quartet.
Take some time to look at the pictures as you listen to the music, and then meditate on the following Scriptures. Renew your sense of the beautiful and praise God for His wondrous works.
Psalm 96:6 – “Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.”
Psalm 104:19 – “He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.”
Ecclesiastes 3:11 – “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
1 Chronicles 16:29 [KJV] – “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”
Proverbs 31:30 – Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
1 Peter 3:3-4 – Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear– but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
Psalm 104:25 – “Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great.”
Psalm 104:33 – “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.”
Psalm 51:7 – Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Father, I pray that my meditation is pleasing to You, for I rejoice in You and your Holy Name. (Psalm 103:34) I pray that these pictures, this music and these humble words would be used by Your Spirit to encourage and strengthen those who read this post. I pray that You would use Your Word to speak to the heart and minds of those who encounter these passages of Scripture. Father, I pray that You would be glorified in all things.