God has filled our world with beauty. The other day a couple of our sisters drove about 50 miles south of Rochester to be refreshed with the beauty of God’s handiwork, now so changed from the summer view.
Where is that pigment hiding all summer long, just waiting for the cooler touch of fall to show itself?
Our world is filled with beauty. It is part of His design that nature should be beautiful. Only our Creator can make beauty like this.
How destitute, how barren would be our world without the beauty God has built into it, that strange, indefinable loveliness that touches earth with the grace of heaven. Something about it enhances life and vibrates some responsive chord in us. It may be only a rural landscape, or a babbling brook, or a broad expanse of earth and sky, but there is majesty in it, and color, and the glory of our Creator.
Something about it tells us, God is great! This is HIS handiwork. No human hand made this!
How true are the words of Ecclesiastes:
Ecclesiastes 3:11 11He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Everything beautiful! Enough said, but there is more, MUCH more.
11He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
The New King James version picks up what the old King James missed. God has put eternity in our hearts…. This is the “olam” which we see in the allegory of Genesis. The KJV translated it as “the world” but when we check the lexicon, we find the word “eternity” conveys the better meaning.
The original is “olam,” which is like the word “aion” in Greek, it refers to time without definition, without limit or bound.
According to the lexicon, it is “hidden time, long; the beginning or end of which is either uncertain or else not defined; eternity, perpetuity” (Gesenius)
In the Genesis allegory the olam is at the entrance to the garden. It is the duration associated with the tree of life, that Adam was prevented from partaking of because of his sin, lest he…
Genesis 3:22 22…[lest he] put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever [olam].
That is why Ecclesiastes continues:
Ecclesiastes 3:14 14I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever [“olam”]: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
Many types of beauty adorn God’s world. However, God’s definition of beauty is more than meets the eye. Beyond the natural beauty of His creation, what is beautiful to God is what inspires us to reverence and honor Him.
It is said that the Jews worshiped the beauty of HOLINESS.
The Greeks worshiped the holiness of BEAUTY.
The Psalmist was intent on putting forth the BEAUTY of HOLINESS.
Hear the heart reverence in his song of praise:
Psalm 29:2 2Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
1 Chronicles 16:29 29Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Psalm 96:9–10 9Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. 10Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns; The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously.”
God means that everything beautiful around us should remind us of Him, His creative power, and His holy character. The things we see are parables of grander beauties above and beyond His created world.
What defines the “king’s daughter”? It is not her blood relationship, or her physical beauty but her holy character. Read it from Psalm 45:
Psalm 45:10–11 10Listen, O daughter, Consider and incline your ear; Forget your own people also, and your father’s house; 11So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him.
Notice first that she has left her natural family, her “own people” and “her father’s house.” She has been called out from HER people to be become ROYALTY, to be adopted into the ROYAL family of the king.
Isn’t that the aspiration of each of us, to belong to the ROYALTY of the world to come, to belong to the king himself! But before we can belong we have to become LIKE the family, take on their beauty, the beauty of holiness.
The first step is separation from the old. We cannot belong to the OLD family AND the new. This king’s daughter was called to a NEW loyalty, and that meant separating – even forgetting the old. This gives her a new distinction a genuine BEAUTY that delights the KING. We read:
11So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him.
Something else is said about the beauty of this daughter, showing us it is all about her character:
Psalm 45:13 13The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace; Her clothing is woven with gold.
The elaborate needlework suggests the clothing of royalty. But it is not about literal garments. Her clothing is of “wrought gold,” gold that has been worked on. Notice the thought: this ROYAL daughter is “all glorious WITHIN.” It is not about externals but HEART beauty.
And who is the KING? The description of His BEAUTY is again a description of high character and achievement. It is said of Christ himself. Let us read it from the New English Bible:
Psalm 45:6–8 (NEB) 6Your throne is like God’s throne, eternal, your royal sceptre a sceptre of righteousness.
Christ is at the head of the new ROYALTY of the new world.
Are we sure that this passage applies to Christ? There is no question. Hebrews quotes it as being said to the Son:
Hebrews 1:8–98But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
What are Jesus’ qualifications for this high royal position of king?
7You have loved right and hated wrong; so God, your God, has anointed you above your fellows with oil, the token of joy.
Christ qualified by the BEAUTY of His holy character. He proved by a sinless life that He truly LOVED right and HATED wrong. That is what it takes to go relentlessly forward toward holiness. Without this love and hatred we will not make the right choices.
There is another beauty God recognizes. It is the beauty of “beautiful feet.”
How can feet be beautiful? It all depends on what they do. This is a line from the Megiddo Message of 1917.
Beautiful feet are those that go
On kindly ministries to and fro,
Down lowliest ways, if God wills so.
Straightforward and simple, but surely true.
Beautiful feet are feet that carry the good word of life, the good news, the gospel of salvation to those who are seeking it. Isaiah spoke it first:
Isaiah 52:7 7How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
The image is that of a herald of peace, who comes with a promise of future deliverance. Hence the warning: live uprightly, in expectation. Live in obedience to the one who will deliver you!
The prophet Nahum repeats the message of one bringing good tidings of peace and deliverance, again with the warning to be faithful, loyal, and perform your vows.
Nahum 1:15 15Behold, on the mountains The feet of him who brings good tidings, Who proclaims peace! O Judah, keep your appointed feasts, Perform your vows. For the wicked one shall no more pass through you; He is utterly cut off.
Then Paul repeats it yet again, including the beautiful, faithful feet who bring the “gospel of peace.”
Romans 10:15 15And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
What do we SEE when we see God’s works around us? God wants us to see the true BEAUTY of holiness, the beauty of :
His plan going forward,
The royalty we are called to become by
God judges beauty by its likeness to Himself. In the words of the childhood verse:
Beautiful hands are those that do
Deeds that are noble, good and true ;
Moment by moment the long day through.
Beautiful feet are those that go
On kindly errands to and fro-
Down humblest ways, if God wills so .
Beautiful faces are those that wear,
It matters little if dark or fair
Whole-souled honesty printed there.
It is the character God is looking for, the old nature changed, day by day, into the likeness of holiness.
The physical beauty around us points us to the spiritual beauty, the beauty of holiness God is seeking, the beauty of an upright character.
One day this beauty will be EVERYWHERE when Christ brings the standard of heaven to earth and demands a universal TURN to God’s way. Only then will God’s will be done here. And then, the standard of God’s house—His people that will fill the earth with His glory—it will be what is written. The law of the TEMPLE will be the law of the WORLD:
Ezekiel 43:12 12This is the law of the temple: The whole area surrounding the mountaintop is most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple.
Most holy. Like Peter says of the God-fearing ones:
1 Peter 1:14–16 14as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Can you even begin to imagine the CHANGE that will come with the beauty of holiness worldwide?
Now the only way to take that standard is to separate from those who refuse it, “as obedient children” coming to the standard God has set, which is framed by the beauty of HOLINESS:
16because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
It is the highest ideal of which we are capable. It is the likeness of God’s own character.
But it is not beyond us. God will not ask what we cannot do.
Let His creation everywhere around us remind us of His standard of beauty until it becomes the beauty of His new world—EVERYWHERE.