Lesson Two – Beautiful To God
Background reading: Exodus 2, Acts 7, Isaiah 53
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:2-3 NIV
“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.” Psalm 149:4
What is your initial reaction when your husband, mom, or friend says, “You are beautiful!” Do you immediately believe it or is your response, “Sure, right. I am beautiful. You are obligated to think that. But thanks, anyway.”God says you are beautiful and in case you have forgotten, He does not lie! Thankfully, God does not judge by our society’s skewed ideas of physical beauty.
The Israelites were chief offenders when it was time to choose their king. Their confidence in Saul was based on his “head taller than anyone around” physique. (2 Samuel 9:2) What they could not see is that inside he was a quaking coward. Samuel also relied on appearance when he was to choose Saul’s successor. When Jesse’s sons were brought before him, he immediately saw Eliab’s stature and said, “surely this is the Lord’s anointed.” It was during this scene when God reminded Samuel that man looked at the appearance of a man, but He looked at the heart.(2 Samuel 6:7) As the Israelites looked forward to the Messiah, no doubt they expected Him to be the next in a long line of lovely kings.It seems so natural to deny our beauty, yet when we do so we often only have our outside in mind. Yet to reply, “Yes, I am quite stunning aren’t I?” flies contrary to the humility Jesus exemplified. So where is the balance? What does God mean when He says we are beautiful and exactly what is the standard we should measure ourselves against?
One place we can look for wisdom is Acts 7:20. Moses was described in the NASB as “beautiful in the eyes of God” or in the KJV, “exceeding fair”. It is not surprising that a newborn baby would be described in such a way. However, when you study the meanings of these phrases, it can be concluded his beauty was both on the inside and outside. In my studies I have personally come to believe Moses’ physical attractiveness was a tool God used to arouse the compassion of the Egyptian princess. A high premium was placed on beauty in that culture and finding a lovely baby in the waters would have seemed a gift from the gods. A gift from God, maybe – straight to Pharaoh. :) What is most exciting is the word translated as ‘beautiful’ or ‘fair’. I can hardly wait to tell you about it. You are going to love this!
The Greek word translated ‘fair’ is ‘asteios’ (Strongs 791) and is only used to describe Moses. This word is derived from a word ‘astu’ and means, “one who dwells in a city and by consequence is well bred, polite, eloquent, as the inhabitants of cities are in comparison of those in the country’.Moses was from the city alright, the heavenly one! Do you ever encounter people and know by their countenance they are believers? A friend of mine went on a mission trip to Africa and while there came in contact with a tribal chief/witch doctor. During her groups’ stay, the man was born again. She has ‘before and after’ photos of him and I am not exaggerating when I say you can hardly tell he is the same man! All of the hard lines of sin were erased and replaced with a gentleness that can only be described as angelic. How amazing that God Himself makes us beautiful! (Psalm 149:4)
We are told in God’s word that when we are saved, we are seated in the heavenlies.(Ephesians 2:6) So spiritually speaking, we are like Eva Gabor in Green Acres – high society meets country living. We are City Girls, high-born daughters of the King and when people look at us they are to see peace and joy in our countenance in such a measure they will say, “Wow, she isn’t from around here is she? That, girls, is the kind of gorgeous we are after. As you let the implications of being a City Girl settle on you, read again the focal verse of Isaiah 53:2-3.
The only way we can be beautiful to God is to accept the death Jesus died by which he bore the sin, shame, and disgrace which causes both a spiritual and visible ugliness. The Israelites looked for a handsome, physically inspiring man to be their Messiah. Jesus came as none of this. What would draw men to Him would be His Spirit. The world still looks at our Savior and ‘esteems Him not’. The Hebrew word for esteem was an accounting term and meant, “to count, inspire ideas.” The description of the Suffering Servant should inspire in us a new line of thinking where loveliness and beauty are concerned. Let this passage be the seed that grows this radical idea in you, “Jesus became ugly, therefore I am not. What draws people to me will be His Spirit, not an outward attractiveness.” The Jews counted Jesus as nothing because when they looked on Him, all they saw was one afflicted. Surely He must have been stricken of God instead of sent by Him. Practically speaking, we are still ‘esteeming Him not’ today by continuing the beating that He has already taken. Some examples of how we do this are: Negative self-talk when we look in the mirror or step on the scale, mentally abusing our own intelligence, nurturing toxic relationships, and engaging in self-destructive behavior are but a few. Remember, thinking lowly of ones self is still thinking of oneself more than God. Reverse pride is still pride and the most dangerous form of idolatry. Ask God to reveal areas in your thought life where He is not being esteemed. If you do not esteem yourself, you are not esteeming Him. God particularly convicted me on this one. Oh how I wish we could go on. There is just not room! But, let’s see how we can apply what we have learned so far.
- What is your initial response when anyone suggests you are beautiful?
- Do you find you engage in a lot of negative ‘self-talk’? How much of your thought life does this form of thinking consume?
- as it ever occurred to you that you are a City Girl? How do you plan to use this knowledge?
- In what ways has your view of Godly beauty changed as a result of these Scriptures?
I pray when we look in the mirror, we will learn to see what God sees and love who He loves. Hear me well – You Are Beautiful!! You will act out what you believe – Let the world see your ‘City Girl!’ :)