"THE BEAUTY OF THE LORD"
Intro. God is tracing His work on the nation of Israel. He took her from nothing and made of her a beautiful and strong nation. His complaint is that when she became beautiful, others began to court her, and she turned from Him, to follow after other lovers. She began to worship other gods. Tragically we are following the same pattern. America, America, God shed His grace on thee, and crowned thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea. But we have turned from our relationship with God and we too bow our knee to Baal, and Molech.
I. THE FAME OF HER BEAUTY. "THY RENOWN WENT FORTH AMONG THE HEATHEN FOR THY BEAUTY."
A. Throughout the world people were watching the emergence of this nation.
1. Travelers who would pass through the land, would go home and tell family and friends of this beautiful place that they had visited.
a. The people were living in prosperity and peace.
b. They would probably tell how on the Sabbath day, everything would shut down, and the people would gather with their families to worship the God who created the heaven and the earth.
c. There was a strong commitment to the marriage vows, and thus very strong and loving families.
d. The land was very fertile, and produced an over abundance of food. Beautiful fields of grain; beautiful forests of trees; beautiful cities and villages; beautiful vineyards; and beautiful orchards. It was ideal.
e. The people had such love for their God, and for each other, that there was no crime, no one had to lock their door, they could walk safely anywhere, day or night.
2. All over the world, people had a desire to come and see this beautiful land of joyful people.
a. The Queen of Sheba upon her visit exclaimed that she could not really believe the reports that came to her because they sounded too good to be true, but she said that they did not even tell the half of it.
b. Other nations tried to follow the pattern of government but without success for they left the worship of God out of the equation. They did not realize that the key to the beauty and success of the nation was that God was their Lord. "Happy is the people whose God is their Lord."
c. We have the same thing happening here at Calvary, their are many who come to observe what God is doing, and then they try to copy our services, not realizing that this is a special work of God blessing His word as He promised above His name.
II. GOD SAID, "THY BEAUTY WAS PERFECT THROUGH MY COMELINESS, WHICH I HAD PUT UPON YOU."
A. It was God that had blessed them and made them strong, because of covenant that they had made with Him.
1. They had sworn, "All that God tells us we will do."
2. God had laid out the rules for a happy and prosperous life.
3. As they followed the rules, they became happy and successful.
B. The secret of their beauty was their submission to God.
1. Because they were His people, His bride so to speak, He delighted in making them beautiful.
2. He enjoyed lavishing His love and blessing upon them.
a. He speaks of anointing them with perfumed oils.
b. He clothed them with fancy embroidered work, and furs, with fine linen and silk.
c. He covered them with jewels.
d. He gave to them the finest of food.
e. They were indeed a beautiful people, but it was the beauty that the Lord had given to them.
C. As we walk with the Lord and commit ourselves to Him in a covenant relationship, He begins to work in us to make us beautiful.
D. God desires a beautiful bride for His Son, and he will work within our lives to make us beautiful for Him.
E. The most beautiful person to walk the face of this earth was Jesus Christ.
1. As we study His life, we become entranced by His beauty.
2. John said, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory as the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth."
a. We see His grace manifested toward the woman taken in the very act of adultery, when the self righteous crowd would have stoned her, He said, "Let him that is without sin among you cast the first stone."
b. We see with such tenderness He works with the weaknesses of His disciples. Peter, so prone to mistakes when he should be praying, he is sleeping. So sure of himself, yet so weak. Denying his Lord in the hour of testing. Yet Jesus said, "O Peter, Satan has desired you that He may sift you as wheat, but I have been praying for you." And the Lord made of this big rough fisherman, a tender and loving apostle, whose favorite word became precious. He uses it 7 times in his two letters.
c. We see how the little children are attracted to Him.
F. As God, the Master Artist is working in your life by His Spirit, molding and shaping you into an object of great beauty, the model that He is using is Jesus Christ.
1. The psalmist said, "And I shall be satisfied when I awake in His likeness."
2. Paul said, "As we behold the glory of the Lord, we are being changed from glory to glory into the same image, by the power of His Spirit working in us."
3. Even as God took Israel in her very crude and rough stage, and began to work in her until He made of her an object of great beauty, to He desires to take your life with all of imperfections, and make of you an object of great beauty.
4. He desires that the world may see His beauty as it is manifested in and through you, and thus be attracted to Him.
G. We used to sing: "Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, All His wonderful passion and purity, O Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine, Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in Me."
III. THE TRAGEDY, "YOU BEGAN TO TRUST IN YOUR BEAUTY, AND PLAYED THE HARLOT."
A. That is, the nation which was made beautiful by their relationship to God, turned from God who had made them beautiful, and began to trust in their beauty instead of God.
1. America that beautiful nation under God, with liberty and justice for all, is by choice no longer under God.
2. We were known as the leaders of the world in industry, resources, wealth, glory and freedoms.
3. We still lead the world, but unfortunately it is in abortion, pornography, drug use, crime, and divorces.
4. King Asa was warned by the prophet of God that the Lord would be with him as long as he would be with the Lord, but if he forsook the Lord, the Lord would forsake him. And it was recorded that as long as he sought the Lord, the Lord made his ways to prosper.
a. This truth expresses an eternal principle of God.
b. It is expressed by the psalmist with these words; righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
c. Whether it be an individual or nation, if you have been joined to God in a covenant relationship of marriage, God will make you beautiful with His beauty, but if you turn from Him, you will revert back to that ugly state in which He first found you.
d. Your life can be beautiful, you can become an instrument of His grace and charm, greatly desired by the world, but if you give your love to the world, you will be forsaken by Him and become again what you once were, unattractive, and unwanted by Him.