The same is true for my cooking. I could never make anything look like the picture. In fact, my boys learned to judge the taste of things by how ugly they were. If it fell apart on the plate when I served it, they shouted, “Oh boy! This is going to be good!” Food stylists? People who actually make a living making food look artistic? The mere thought of it just confuses me.
I am just as happy to have naturally curly hair. It will only do what it wants to. Saves me a lot of trouble trying to figure out what sort of hairdo would “enhance” my features. Which brings me to the point of all this—true beauty. When a people become so wealthy they can spend thousands on plastic surgery, worry about whether their teeth are white enough, and spend so much time making a plate look “pretty” that the food gets cold, we have become just a little too worried about how things look instead of how things are.
I came across the passage, One thing have I asked of Jehovah, that will I seek after; That I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of Jehovah, And to inquire in his temple. (Psa 27:4) So I wondered, what is “the beauty of Jehovah?” It obviously has nothing to do with white teeth, high cheekbones, and hour glass figures. (Hurray!)
It only took a little cross-referencing to find Psalm 63:2-5. Jehovah’s power, his glory, and his lovingkindness make him beautiful. Surely there are many other traits, but those certainly stand out from the various “gods” of the people around the Israelites. Petty, spiteful, and cruel well describe the idols the Gentiles worshiped, then and even into the first century. Read the mythology of the Greek gods and you will find the most loathsome characteristics ever attributed to a deity. How could anyone even think of worshiping such things? Yet they did, and actively resisted Jehovah, a God of beautiful character who was not unknown to them.
It makes sense then that his people would be judged by similar things. Deut 4:6-8 tells us that Israel would be judged as a wise and understanding people, whose God was near them and whose laws were righteous. Are we “beautiful,” a people whom God would be pleased to call his own? Are we wise and understanding? Are we righteous? Is God near us, or do we keep him as far away as possible except when we need him? Jesus condemned the Pharisees because they were worried more about the outside than the inside—they made pretty plates, but had ugly insides (Matt 23:25,26).
In general the world is blind to true beauty, whether in a picture, on a plate, or in a person. It makes sense that they would not consider the gospel beautiful either. “Foolishness” Paul says they call it. Just as it takes a hungry man to see the true beauty of a plate of good food, it takes a hungry soul to see the beauty of the gospel. As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" Paul quotes Isaiah in Rom 10:15. Is that what appeals to you? Or does it have to be some feel good piece of fluff that makes you laugh a lot before it’s worth listening to?
One of these days we will see the beauty of Jehovah, His glory and power. I wonder how many will think it isn’t beautiful, but horrifying instead, and only because they never desired to see it in the first place.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Cor 4:3-4.