The Beauty of the Lord
Psalm 90:17
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be on us: and establish you the work of our hands on us; yes…

There is a relation between beauty and work. In this writer's mind the two things are indissolubly connected. To him the beauty of the Divine nature is the beauty of an energy ever streaming forth towards some harmonious and perfect end. This is clear from the parallelism between the parts of this sentence: "Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants," "And Thy glory unto their children," and, "Let the beauty of the Lord our God rest upon us." God's work, then, is His glory and His beauty. The three are correlated as parallel, and therefore kindred, ideas. Perfect beauty is the fruit of activity ever tending towards useful and beneficent ends. You may have a beautiful statue or a beautiful picture, but the highest beauty is when you have movement and development. A painted flower, however exquisitely wrought, can never exercise the same charm as a growing wheat-stalk or an expanding rose-bud. Work itself is beautiful. What is more fascinating than to watch the movements of a skilled workman, a master of his craft? Let us understand, then, that the only truly beautiful life is the active life. The beautiful hand is the hand that has wrought something for the benefit and enrichment of humanity, that has achieved something for the common good. If I were to ask you to name the most beautiful life ever lived upon this earth, you would not hesitate. You would name the life of Jesus of Nazareth, the life whose motto was, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" and whose record was, "He went about doing good." And herein was its beauty, that though cut off in its prime, He could say, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do." And I want you to feel that "the beauty of the Lord our God" may be upon us in all honest, earnest doing. No one ever asks whether Jesus of Nazareth was physically beautiful or not. He may have been plain-featured, as was ; none the less is He the "altogether lovely" to our thought. It is significant that religion should be always spoken of in the Bible as a work of Divine "grace" in the heart; and "grace" is an essential element in our conception of beauty. It is the same identification as that which arose in the mind of the psalmist. He is thinking of no mere outward decoration stuck on to hide something ugly, like the plaster and stucco adornments of our modern debased architecture, which only accentuate the native hideousness of that which they are designed to conceal. He is thinking of the beauty which is the expression of an inward life, the "beauty of holiness."

(J. Halsey.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

WEB: Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us; establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.

The Beauty of God
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