1 Kings 7:22
And on the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.
I. GOD FINDS ROOM FOR STRENGTH AND BEAUTY. Is it not by these that God makes the world what it is to us? The rugged rock affords a home for the soft mosses and the plumes of ferns as if these things paid for board and lodging by their adorning. The trees with roots thrust deep into the earth, with thick black branches, stretching into heaven — how are they decked with the leaves, and how are they now gay with blossoms and now rich with fruit, Strength and beauty. Is it not the very picture and the very perfection of the home? Here comes the man stained and soiled by his day's toil; and here is she who keeps home sweet and clean, and makes his heart bless her as he sets foot within the place. Strength and beauty — yet more complete if possible as the toiling father and the busy mother bend over the little one that looks and laughs its music at them. So God blesses the world with strength and beauty.
II. FIRST STRENGTH, THEN BEAUTY. The constant emblem of our religion is the rock. The house built upon the rock, against which the winds blow and rains beat, but the house abides, for that its foundation standeth sure. The Church of God is built upon the rock, the Rock of Ages, that abideth for ever. Religion is not a matter of sentiment, of feeling, of changeful emotion. It is rooted and grounded in the everlasting Word of the living God. What triumphant strength is begotten within the soul when it can cry, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." That first, always and everywhere — strength. Is there any. thing in the world more miserable than religion without any bones, a thing that you can squeeze into any shape you like? — religious sentiment that can talk piously and yet is not exact in its sayings and doings, that can be particular about its creed, and yet slipshod in business? There are some people who affect to despise beauty, and consider it a weakness. "Give me a brass pillar," say they, "solid and substantial. I don't want any nonsensical lily-work about the top of it." Now such people may do much harm in the world — more harm than good. Strength and beauty — how shall we combine the two? In one way, and in one way only. Love is both. He that loveth hath the secret. For is there any strength like love? Is there any endurance like love's? Is there any defiance like the defiance of love? Love is strength and love is beauty. And love is ours as nothing else could make it ours but the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here is love compelling love that sustains our strongest service and our tenderest thought. How graciously are these two combined in that word concerning Jesus Christ: "As many as received Him to them gave He power to become the children of God." Authority and strength to become children, simple, trustful, loving, obedient. Strong that we may be made beautiful. Thus doth our God seek to make us pillars in His temple, strong with His strength, beautiful with the beauty of the Lord our God.
(M. G. Pearse.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And upon the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.