Strength and Beauty in Character
1 Kings 7:22
And on the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.

In this divinely planned structure I know of nothing outside the Holy of Holies more impressive than the pillars built by Hiram. These were of the finest brass, of great height, splendid in symmetry and crowned with lilies. It is a law of art that the most perfect and enduring effects are produced by the combination of things unlike each other. A painter throws into his picture the darkest shadows that he may intensify his clearest lights. A sculptor carves for the top of his columns capitals of delicate design, An architect relieves the heavy masonry of his walls with items of exquisite device and forms of sculptured beauty. God Himself is our original teacher; for whilst He "setteth fast the mountains, being girded with power," He hath woven around their summits tender vines and rooted in their crevices sweet scented flowers that warmly clasp and colour the cold grey cliffs. That widow's son from Tyre was not a stranger to this alliance, and so wrought his pillars as to adorn the sanctuary of the Highest with both strength and beauty. Observe that the strength was first and the beauty of lilies afterward. We have here the uplifting of those two qualites which are worshipped by the soul of man the world over. Power and beauty alike win his homage, but not unfrequently he yields himself to that which is but the sham of strength, and renders service to that which has but the semblance of beauty; to power ungifted with love, and to beauty unadorned by holiness. It is the lie of the world, often uttered and often believed, that the righteous must needs be the weak and the pure the uncomely. God declares the right to be the only strong, and the good, the only beautiful. The power that enters human life to rule it within and without must be a power of conquest, having the inherent qualities of stability. Man is born in battle. His cradle is rocked by his own strugglings. His history is that of a shifting factor in a shifting world. He can neither command himself nor control his surroundings. Antagonisms swarm on his path. Struggling alone, he can have but one experience: the shame that comes of perpetual impotency and the confusion that arises from continued defeat. Sooner or later he learns this truth, that "all power is of God," and that the strength that conquers for the spiritual — that takes hold of eternal things and abides, that elevates life into firmness of character and adorns it with real beauty, is possible only through the patient, helpful, regenerative ministry of Jesus Christ.

(R. W. Davis.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And upon the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.

WEB: On the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.

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