Monday, January 28, 2019

Where the Beauty of Israel Comes From


Ezekiel 16 is an extended allegory of Israel as a woman the Lord finds naked, abandoned, and dirty in the field, and the Lord washes, clothes, and covenants with her and cares for her.

These verses struck me:

13 Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.
14 And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God.
15 But thou didst trust in thine own beauty… (Ezek. 16:13-15)

This reminds us of an important truth: Israel’s beauty is perfect because it comes from God. It isn’t Israel’s at all, but the goodness Israel is given by grace through obedience.

I think it is also the same on the individual level. Any attractiveness we have is from God. Looks are only surface-deep, but the real attractiveness rests in attitude and outlook and the way we do things, all of which, when affected by and guided by the Lord and our focus on His ways, will be greater than it would be otherwise.  Interestingly, with God’s help, we escape the excessive preoccupation with looks that makes beauty less appealing because our priority are on the things of eternity that really matter.

Let’s not make the mistake of “trusting in our own beauty.” (I’ll leave it to you to look up verse 15 to read the rest of what happens when that mistake is made.)