Reading in the book of Exodus I came upon preparations for the tabernacle: tools and implements, rings and curtains, tables and altars. Intricate instruction and specific detail laid out by the Lord, to Moses, for its construction and operation. In the midst of this I found, “You shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.”
I was caught by the latter half. I read on, but it wasn’t finished with me. By the end of chapter 28 there it was again: “…for glory and for beauty.” Like the knockout punch in a bare-knuckle brawl, I couldn’t shake off its effect. Beauty. Huh? In my ignorant mind most of the description read more like a manual than something befitting of that word. Why “beauty” amongst all the many details written in the book of Exodus?
True, God is concerned with glorifying Himself, and rightly so. I get this. Glory is due our great God. Mighty in power. Absolute in purity. Wholly righteous and just. Perfect in every way. But … what is this “beauty” thing? What does it do? How does it work with justification, propitiation, and expiation? How does it promote, enable, or further sanctification?
I sat with this for a time.
In all the grind and grit of life beauty can get lost. But beauty is as much a part of who God is as His power, His purity, His perfection. I think Moses understood this when he petitioned God: “… show me Your glory!” Moses wanted more of God. He wanted to bask in the presence of the Almighty. Moses wanted to be surrounded with God’s beauty.
I myself see God’s beauty in Revelation 3 and 4. The Lord of Heaven and Earth promises me (and you too, Christian) that I will not only be in His presence, but that I will be granted the right to sit upon the throne with Jesus! Wow!! If you don’t have in mind what this means, read Revelation 4:1-11.
Some of you see beauty through Jesus’ sacrifice in spite of the horror and shame of the cross. Look. Look deeply. Delve into the word and seek out the beauty of God.
All the bits and pieces of beauty we have around us in this life are a sampling, a precursor, a mere aroma of the glorious beauty we have in our Savior Jesus Christ. I think the Westminster Catechism gets it right when identifying the chief end of man: to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever. This, is the essence of beauty.