Part V – The Daughter’s Beauty
So, it’s nearly 10:30 at night and I’m just sitting down to start this, but it’s just such a good part of the story that I couldn’t wait to get to it any longer! The last few days have been pretty busy, and I’ve been itching to get back to this!
I was quite the tomboy growing up. In fact, thinking back, I’m not sure of my two sisters and I which one of us didn’t have that tendency. Most of the time you were more likely to find us in trees, building forts, or riding bikes, than you were to find us sitting inside playing house (though we certainly did that too). There were no ballerinas in our family, instead we had three full-contact, technical-foul-drawing basketball players. (Who ever truly believed that girls’ basketball was a no-contact sport anyway?) Sigh. Was that ever character building, I learned way more about myself than I ever wanted to know! But I was also a bit of a bookworm, and it was in those moments that I joined the millions of other girls around the world who at some point dream of becoming a beautiful princess. God has put in the heart of every girl that natural desire, not only to want to look and to feel pretty, but to have her “prince” find her so as well. I am sure, however, that every one of us has more days when we don’t feel especially pretty than we do the days that we feel even slightly “princess-ish”. Perhaps that is one of the reasons this next section of the story is so special. Because it isn’t just the story of the King’s daughter’s, it is the story of every Christian.
In Ezekiel 16 we last saw the child bloody and polluted with the King standing over her saying, Live. In Psalm 45 we see the King’s daughter standing gloriously in the throne room. The entrance of the King into her life made all the difference. Having turned away from her former life, the King now greatly desires her beauty, not just to behold it, but to see it increase. He scoops her up and does amazing things for her. Ezekiel 16:9-13:
• Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee,
• And I anointed thee with oil.
• I clothed thee also with embroidered work and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen and covered thee with silk,
• I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.
• And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.
• Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and embroidered work;
• Thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil:
• And thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.
WOW! Just think, the King Himself scooped her up, washed her, anointed her and then clothed her in the most beautiful garments and “accessories” imaginable. Think back to those old “dress-up” days when Mom’s dress became a royal gown and a cheap necklace became a royal crown, its pendant dangling perfectly in the center of your forehead. How glamorous and splendid you felt in your imaginary world – but this, this was real. From absolute poverty He had taken her to the splendors of his palace, and had made her its finest ornament. Even Kate Middleton’s story does not compare!
Allow me to digress for a moment. I had not intended to go in this direction, but I feel impressed that I should. It is easy to fall into the “ugly trap”. When you have a bazillion kids running around you and you haven’t had time to shower and you’re wearing more of their lunch than they ate; or when you’ve worked all day and been yelled at by half of your customers and all of your bosses and you come home with a paycheck that does little more than keep you from going under; or when your husband hasn’t said “You like nice today” for days (if not weeks) on end or, like me, when you’ve been waiting for 35 years for that man, your “prince”, to finally show up on your doorstep, but he still hasn’t come – In those times, it is easy to fall into the “ugly trap”. You may never say it, or even think it, but you feel it. The days when the circles under your eyes literally make you stop and wonder if you ran into something and just don’t remember giving yourself a black eye; the days when you’re so tired and everything is going wrong and the tiniest thing makes you burst into tears – It’s hard sometimes not to feel ugly, plain and even worthless. It is in these moments that we need to remember the loving, redeeming, beautifying hand of our King.
That child could do nothing to make herself beautiful, but the King had all the power in the world, not only to make her beautiful, but to make her “exceeding beautiful” and, more importantly, acceptable in HIS eyes. What a precious thought that we are “accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6) Have you ever had one of those moments when things have just been going horribly and someone comes along and with one word, or one act, touches you and everything melts into peace? Like Daniel who fell on his face before the angel of the Lord, completely devoid of strength before him, and who was then strengthened by the touch and words of comfort that followed (Daniel 10). This is just a glimmer of the effect had by that King in that child’s life. He turned her turmoil into peace and her misery into splendor.
Like her, by God’s grace and sanctification, we are changed from a dirty, bloody sinner into the King’s daughter. As we seek to grow and understand more of who He is, He increases our inner beauty and that can’t help but overflow to every area of our lives.
What a glorious sight it must have been, the King’s daughter and her court. Like a bride preparing to walk down the aisle to meet her groom. It was in this manner that she was brought before the King. Psalm 45:15 says, “She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace.”
With gladness and rejoicing! As I was flying home from Kenya in the fall, I was also coming down with a terrible cold and always have an allergic reaction to the soap they use in the lavatories on British Airways. By the time I boarded my first flight I had already been up for 20 hours, by the time the flight landed in Amsterdam I had been up for about 28 hours. I was so tired and so sick, I literally could not see to read the signs in the airport, I was so hoarse I could barely talk and, to top it all off, there was a horrendous blizzard outside that more than threatened to lengthen my very long layover. Let me tell you, as I approached the fruit-juice stand in the middle of the airport and ordered my pathetic cup of mint tea -worst cup of tea I’ve ever had and it cost $7 – I was having one of those ugly moments. I knew, without a doubt, that no one would receive me with gladness and rejoicing. I didn’t even want to be around myself! But God – God turns the ugly into the acceptable through His Son Jesus Christ. And when we come into His presence there is gladness and rejoicing!
The King’s daughter’s life would have new meaning now. Instead of her father’s household, her attention would turn to her children: To raise them strong and honorable, to be made princes in all the earth. (Psalm 45:16) Here we must pause. It may seem to be off of the subject at hand, but her purpose is part of her beauty and it is so very important to the rest of the story. There are two sides of the this to consider as Christians. First, as believers we are to be turning others to Christ and as they come to Him we are to be discipling them, very much as a parent is to be training their children. Therefore, secondly, we must consider how we are raising our children. I am saddened to say that in this day of technology and self-centered living the world is full to the brim of orphans who are living with both of their parents, even among Christians. That said, many good parents are seeking to raise their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord”. This is what we must set before us as parents, aunts and uncles, Sunday School teachers, mentors and friends. “Children are a heritage of the Lord.” (Psalm 127:3) How are we raising them? Are we raising them to be princes and princesses throughout the earth – not spoiled brats – but men and women worthy to be called Royal, the sons and daughters of the King? Men and women of honor and integrity? Or, are we raising them to drag the garments and robes of the King’s household through the mud of the world?
And so, we see that her life has been changed. There is one last very important thing to remember. In fact, it is the most important of all – her beauty was not her own. Yes, the King made her exceeding beautiful, but it was not her beauty. Remember from Part IV, II Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Her beauty, our beauty, is only because His beauty has been set upon us. Ezekiel 16:14 says, “And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect THROUGH MY COMELINESS, which I HAD PUT UPON THEE, saith the Lord God.”
A few weeks ago, the whole world watched as a beautiful bride walked down the aisle and met her Prince at the altar. Had she married any other man no one would have paid any heed, but she was marrying Prince William, and when he chose to set his name upon her, the whole world watched. Her renown went out because of her beauty because it had, in a sense, been made perfect by the comeliness of her prince. When Christ died and rose again, He both paid the penalty and had the victory over that to which we were doomed. When we call upon Him for salvation He cleanses and clothes us in His righteousness. Our beauty, in the eyes of the Father, is only because of the work of the Son.
And so, like us, she has made the journey from miserable wretch to glorious beauty. One would like to imagine that it would always be so, but it cannot always be coronation day. And once you have stepped out of the beauty of that Throne Room, away from the presence of the King, things begin to change………
Up Next: Part VI – A Sad Relapse
It is nothing of “I”,
But all of Thy grace,
None of my beauty
But the light of Thy face,
None of my fragrance
But the sacrifice of Thy embrace,
Wafts Heavenward, Heavenward,
To Thy Holy Place.
I am black,
But Thou art Fair,
Yet into Thy fold,
Thou hast taken me there.
Then out to the fields
For Thy lambs to care,
And Thou, Lord, with us, with us,
The burden doth share.
From the valley a lily,
From Sharon a rose,
No beauty to offer
To the One who chose,
Not my beauty to desire
But His to impose,
To make of me a lily, and yes,
From bramble a rose!