God's Beautiful People
Tony R. Nester
Most of the time when I go to a doctor's appointment I bring my own reading material, but sometimes I forget and have to choose from the magazines left in the waiting room. There's one magazine that seems to be in all these waiting rooms: People Magazine. It's full of photographs of movie stars and all sorts of other celebrities. Their photos show them off in fancy and alluring attire. These are the world's beautiful people.
People magazine succeeds because our society places a tremendous value on physical beauty and notoriety. Today people often become famous for being famous, rather than because they've done anything to make the world a better place. It's a fact of life that physically attractive people get more attention, more favors, and more job offers than do unattractive people. That's just the way the world works.
The Bible has a different perspective on what makes someone beautiful.
When God sent the prophet Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint a new king for Israel Samuel thought Eliab looked the part and was sure he was the one to anoint.
But God told Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."
(1 Samuel 16:7 NRSV).
Isaiah 52:7 which we just read identifies God's beautiful people as those who bring a message of peace, good news, salvation and who can say with confidence: "Your God reigns."
Like most of Scripture it helps to know the historical context of this verse. The words of this verse were spoken to people in Jerusalem during the dark and difficult years that followed the destruction of that city by enemy armies. The Babylonian army sacked and pillaged Jerusalem in 589 B.C. Thousands of Jews were forced to leave Jerusalem and exiled to Babylon.
Eventually the Babylonians were defeate ...
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