23rd December 2020
“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.” Psalm 90:17
What is this beauty? “The beauty of the Lord our God.” It is, therefore, the beauty of the God-man; the comeliness, the holiness, the perfection, and glory that ever dwell in the Son of God. Now “days of affliction, and years of evil” have marred all creature comeliness. There was a time, perhaps, when we could take some pleasure and delight in what we were, or what we vainly fancied we should be. Our own righteousness had a beauty and comeliness to us; and our religion was amiable and pleasing in our own sight. But what has become of it? Marred, marred; effectually marred. By what? “Days of affliction, and years of evil.” These have effectually ruined, defaced, and polluted all creature comeliness. In a word, we were once deeply in love with self; but self has been shewn to us such a hideous monster, in so vile and despicable a light, that we have fallen out of love with him altogether; and we have seen, at times, such beauty, glory, loveliness, and suitability in the Son of God, that as we have fallen out of love with self, we have fallen in love with him. Thus as all our own beauty and our own comeliness have been marred and defaced, the beauty and comeliness of the Lord have risen in due proportion. So that this has become the desire of our soul, “‘Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.’ Let us stand accepted in it; let it be put upon us by the imputation of God himself; let us be clothed with it manifestly before the eyes of a heart-searching Jehovah. Let the beauty of Jesus’ atoning blood, the beauty of his perfect righteousness, the beauty of his dying love, the beauty and holiness of his glorious Person be upon us, covering all our filth, guilt and shame, spreading itself over all our nakedness, sin and pollution, that when God looks upon us, he may not see us as we are, marred, defaced, and full of wounds and bruises and putrifying sores; but may see us standing accepted in the Beloved, with ‘the beauty of the Lord our God’ upon us.” Oh, what a matchless robe is this! It outshines angels’: for it is the righteousness of God’s only-begotten Son! And if we stand with “the beauty of the Lord our God” upon us, we can bid defiance to all law-charges, to all the accusations of a guilty conscience, and to all the darts from hell.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869