What Is Beautiful to God?
by Jesse L. Smith
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“But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” -1 Peter 3:4
I have heard it said that sunsets were simply the product of particles suspended in the air that cause the scattering of light. Perhaps there is some truth to that, but if sunsets were simply the result of a polluted world why would David have said in Psalm 65:8, “You make the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice…”? On the same token you may as well think of the mountains as little more than glorified piles of dirt, the oceans as vast liquid reservoirs and the clouds as floating vapors. It is clear that all of our artistic inspiration and understanding of beauty comes from what already is, from God’s creation. It seems reasonable then to assume that God knows something about beauty…
All of this however doesn’t really answer the question, what exactly is beauty? Beauty itself seems so mysterious and subject to interpretation, but is at the same time universally acknowledged by all cultures. If beauty as a concept is so vague and subjective, what human authority can we listen to that will really nail it down for us? Which magazine, artist, or culture truly can define it for us so that we can strive for that absolute model? The truth is that no human can truly define beauty, and that we must look to the opinion of the only One who’s opinion matters – which is God.
So what does God say is beautiful? Psalm 45:2 prophetically speaks of our Lord and King and declares, “Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace in poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee forever.” Beauty or that which is fair is linked in God’s eyes to the concept of Grace. Grace is not something that God bestows on everyone, but only on those who possess a certain quality of the heart - which is meekness or humility. James 4:6 tells us, “God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble.”
The ‘world’ as it were takes little stock in the heart of a person where beauty is concerned, but God sees things very differently. When the prophet Samuel was looking for the next king among the sons of Jesse, God told him very specifically, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart”- I Samuel 16:7. This however doesn’t mean that David didn’t posses physical beauty, because scripture plainly tells us in verse 12 of David, “Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to.”
God, who created the heavens and the earth, regards beauty primarily as a condition of the heart that extends to the outward appearance. Psalm 149:4 says, “For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he will beautify the meek with salvation.” Is it any wonder that it is said of the Nazarites in Lamentations 4:7, “…Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was as a sapphire…” Was the beauty of Queen Esther only a coincidence, or was it somehow connected to her humble heart; that required only what was appointed to her in coming before the King? Or of Sarah, whose beauty was spoken of at 90 years of age; could it have been connected to her heart, who called her husband Lord?
Ultimately the outward appearance is of little value in the eyes of God; but we can be sure that as we strive to be beautiful in His eyes through a humble heart - He will take care of all the rest. There is nothing more beautiful than the Spirit of God covering one of His children…
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I think this is beautifully written. I enjoyed reading your message, and will be sharing it on Facebook. I think many people are missing out on 'beauty'; and as you rightly say, God sees it - if it is there - in one's heart. Thank you :-)