What is beautiful to God?

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The word "beautiful" occurs only nineteen times in the King James Old Testament (Genesis 29:17, Deuteronomy 21:11, etc.) and only four times in the New Testament (Matthew 23:27, Acts 3:2, 10, Romans 10:15). Yet, have you ever thought of what God thinks about the word?

If we define as beautiful things observable by the senses, then God would likely view a sunrise or sunset he created as such. The music of an angelic choir, a green forest, or a well-kept garden might also solicit such an evaluation from the Eternal as well. Beauty, however, goes far deeper with him than that.

When Samuel was interviewing Jesse's sons to replace Saul, Israel's first king, he saw Eliab - tall, dark, and handsome - and thought he would be the Lord's choice. "No," said God, "Do not look on his face . . . for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart" (1Samuel 16:7, HBFV throughout). We do not know what was on the minds of Jesse's other sons, but whatever was on David's mind must have been beautiful to God because he declared him a man after his own heart (1Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22).

What other things would be beautiful to God? No doubt, he would consider anyone striving to keep his commandments (Exodus 20:3 - 17, Deuteronomy 5:7 - 21) as possessing this trait. Imagine his pleasure with anyone who worships him and him alone, who keeps his name pure and holy, and who joyfully observes his holy Sabbath and feast days. How wonderful it must be for him to see a person who truly honors his parents in everything he does.

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In the book of Psalms, we learn much about praise. David proclaimed he would praise the Lord (Psalm 7:17) even in the midst of many other people (Psalm 22:22). He stated he would rejoice over him seven times a day (Psalm 119:164), as long as he lived (Psalm 104:33), with his whole heart (Psalm 9:1), and with singing (Psalm 61:8) and dancing (Psalm 150:4). All this rejoicing must be beautiful to our heavenly Father!

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, "Diligently study to show yourself approved unto God" (2Timothy 2:15). Study requires an enquiring mind, so it must be beautiful to him to find someone who searches the scriptures to find the truth, then commits himself to it. Faithfulness must also generate this response from the Eternal. What must he have felt when he heard Ruth declare her love for Naomi with her wonderful poem.

16. And Ruth said, "Do not beg me to leave you, to return from following after you. For where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me" (Ruth 1:16 - 17).

The Good News Bible tells us, "Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing" (Psalm 127:3). Jesus recognized this when children were brought to him so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them (Matthew 19:13 - 15). How beautiful it must be to the Eternal to see parents teaching their children the right way of life (Proverbs 22:6).

A forgiving person must be beautiful to God (Matthew 6:14). So must a loving and giving person (Matthew 5:42, 44), one that possesses a repentant mind (Job 42:5 - 6), or one who has a contrite spirit (Psalm 34:18). It must be especially wonderful when someone repents, and changes from the old ways to the ways of the Creator when the truth is revealed. We are told to give thanks in everything, for this is His will (1Thessalonians 5:18). What beauty must he find in the simple prayer, "Thank you, Lord."

Mountainous landscape at sunset by Frederick de Moucheron
Mountainous landscape at sunset
by Frederick de Moucheron

New Testament References

One of the greatest miracles in the early New Testament church occurred in Jerusalem's temple, at a gate called Beautiful (Acts 3:2).

This gate (which was likely the more commonly known Nicanor Gate), which faced the rising sun, was deemed to be magnificent because it was made of Corinthian brass and was adorned with thick plates of silver and gold. On this day, however, it became truly wonderful as the place where Peter and John healed a lame man and had a chance to preach about Christ (Acts 3:9 - 26).

The only other early church reference to beautiful, not found in the book of Acts, is in Romans 10. It is here that we discover one of the greatest things that the heart of God delights in.

Accordingly, it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of peace, and those who announce the good news of good things!" (Romans 10:15, HBFV)

Additional Study Materials
Jerusalem's second temple
What is the glory of God?
Traits of a good wife
Can God be surprised?

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