March 19, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites this: “You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold. Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. And do not go up to my altar on steps, or your private parts may be exposed.”’”—Exodus 20:22–27 (NIV)
When reading today’s Scripture, I couldn’t help but think about the kind of conversation that takes place between women at times regarding natural beauty. There are conversations in which women hype each other up for being beautiful naturally and not needing makeup or cosmetic surgery. On the other hand, there are conversations in which the opposite is discussed or implied and people leave feeling hurt and ashamed.
This idea of looking beautiful with no makeup on or full effort placed into one’s appearance is something more and more people in America are trying to catch on to. Nonetheless, our society has focused so much on the physical and material that now breaking that cycle will be much more difficult than it seems. If someone is able to love and care for a person, regardless of what they look like or whether they have makeup on, it’s an indicator of true love and affection for that person on a deeper level.
In Exodus 20, we read an elaboration of the first commandment out of the ten God has given. God instructs Moses to tell the Israelites they must not make any gods or idols, and He also proceeds to give concise instructions on how to make an altar for the Lord. He explains it must be for sacrificing burnt offerings, and it must not be built in such a way that attracts attention to the human work behind it. The sole focus of the altar must be the sacrifice and the Lord Himself. It needs no adornment and, many times, we forget that our Father in heaven needs no adornment. If our Father needs no adornment other than the beauty of His glory and character, then the deeds and offerings we give to Him do not need unnecessary adornment either.
In the same way we may be able to love other people well regardless of whether they have put themselves together physically or fixed their hair and makeup, we should also be reminded of the ability to love Jesus even when we feel like He doesn’t fit the world’s standard of beautiful, honorable, and holy. The more we remember this, the more we’ll be able to give ourselves to Him without fear or concern of bringing Him shiny jewels of self-accomplishments for the purpose of making ourselves look better to Him. We also will be able to make Him known and serve Him without trying to make Him look “better” to other people.
All in all, our heavenly God is so holy and beautiful that He needs no adornment, and we don’t need to adorn ourselves in anything more than the blood of the lamb in order to enter His presence.
Pause: Think about ways you may have wrongly adorned God in order to fit your own or the world’s standards of a “beautiful” being?
Practice: Think about and write down ways you see God’s beauty showcased. Allow this exercise to reveal to you how beautifully and sufficiently adorned God is on His own.
Pray: Father, you know my desire is to glorify and honor You. Sometimes, I can get tripped up in trying to adorn myself or adorn You with self-righteous efforts when You really want my heart and wholehearted affection. May You help me to find the balance between performing good works in obedience and love for You and being able to completely engage in Your presence without the pressure of bringing anything else to the table. Thank You for Your sufficiency and complete beauty! Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.