All the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD. ~ King David
Once there was a lovely autistic boy named Joseph who attended our church and after a song was sung or a prayer offered in worship he would say in a loud voice, “That’s beautiful!” Whether it actually was or not, Joseph was unashamed to say he thought something in worship was beautiful.
“That’s beautiful” he’d say.
David was staggered by the beauty of God. But our culture has some strange ideas of beauty.
It was God who made me so beautiful. If I weren’t, then I’d be a teacher. ~ Linda Evangelista (supermodel)
Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.~ Rush Limbaugh
I find those quotes about as ugly as they get when it comes to the subject of beauty. David’s is much better and better for us. There was a time when Jesus was the most beautiful person in the universe, but that changed at the incarnation. Why or what stripped the second member of the Godhead of his beauty?
I did—and you, too. Our sin disfigured a beautiful God.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him….
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Is. 53:2,3
The prophet is telling us that there is coming One who would not be a great author, or a great leader, or a great general, or a great statesman. He was the fairest of ten thousand—His beauty was resplendent and unmatched in the entire Universe, but he gave all of that up; He laid his beauty aside and took on the ugliness of human flesh.
A hundred times more hideous than a man ceasing to be a man and taking on the flesh of slug. And not just a slug, a disfigured, deformed and ugly slug by the standards of attractive slugs. Why was it necessary for Jesus to become ugly?
In the Garden of Eden the scriptures say,
God planted a garden in Eden …God made all kinds of trees grow from the ground, trees beautiful to look at and good to eat. Genesis 2:8-9 (MSG)
And enjoying that Garden paradise were the first two humans named Adam and Eve and the Bible says they were naked and without shame; which is another way of saying they were beautiful. They lived in this paradise surrounded by the glory and beauty of God and what He had made.
But when they turned from God and decided to be the master, savior, and lord of their own lives they were expelled from the beauty and the glory and the garden of God. It’s called “The Fall.” And from that moment on all of our lives took on a temporary existence.
As for man, his days are like grass… Psalms 103:15
We are beautiful for a brief time then it’s gone. As babies and in our youth we are handsome and beautiful and then our beauty begins to fade. Decay has set in. Even the mountains are eroding. Why is that?
Because our sin infected all of creation with temporal decay. It is all winding down. We are subject to this decay. We were created for beauty and life eternal but we forfeited that when we decided we knew better than God and took action to prove it. And I don’t know if you have looked into the mirror lately, but we are losing the battle with sin and decay.
But when Jesus went to the cross and took our curse on Himself; when He who was eternally beautiful became disfigured, deformed, marred, and took on decay for us—our pre-fall beauty became a possibility once again.
If we would put our twenty-four-seven trust in Him, live for Him, obey Him—then every beautiful thing He has ever done would be transferred to us. His pre-incarnate beauty will be our beauty and our decay and disfigurement would become His.
And when that occurs, the God of the garden will look at us and see the beauty of His Son wrapped around our sagging shoulders. He will see us as ravishingly beautiful. We are so lovely that God will behold the beauty of His Son when he gazes upon us.
How does that feel to you as I describe it? Does it move you? Of course you can catch a glimpse of the beauty of God in creation, but mainly you see the beauty of God in redemption.
When you and I “get” this it will bring a deep sense of rest to our souls and we won’t have to prove ourselves anymore.
When our bodies sag and falter,
When our deeds go unnoticed,
When our voices break and we can’t hit the high notes anymore,
When our backs grow weak,
When sin left us unrecognizable to our own families,
When our hands shake,
We can take a deep breath and rest in the firm truth that because Jesus got ugly for us on the cross we are the fairest among ten thousand—to God.
Lay your deadly “doing” down, down at Jesus’ feet;
Stand in him, in him alone, gloriously complete.
That’s beautiful, right Joseph?