Spiritual Beauty
Hosea 14:5-7
I will be as the dew to Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.…

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I. THE SECRET OF SPIRITUAL BEAUTY. "I will be as the dew unto Israel," therefore "he shall grow as the lily." Not the mere outward, but the outward as it grows from the inward. The dew may wash the dust off the fine petals of the lily, but it is not this that makes it grow beautiful and causes it to unfold its grandeur, but by going down its capillaries and saturating its roots. It is, in the language of modern science, first an involution, and then an evolution. First it takes in and then gives out. Not the amount of God's blessings that rest upon us promote our spiritual beauty, but the amount of God that we absorb into our souls. If the former will, as it were, wash our faces, and it does this, as it makes national customs more pure and humane and beautiful, as it promotes a clean morality, as it gives sweetness to our habits and modes of living, yet it is the blessings that we take into our very being that make beauty a growth, a living product of the Divine within. There is a beauty of art, the result of the magic pencil or chisel of the artist, but it is not a growth; it is still, cold, and lifeless. It is a decoration and external addition, but not a production. It is the difference between the decorated Christmas-tree and the living, fruit-laden tree of the orchard. Spiritual beauty is the result of Divine blessings appropriated and converted by the Divine life within into outgrowing grandeur. The addition of external decorations is sometimes mistaken for this. Spiritual beauty is a living product, the natural outgrowth of the life within. A life dependent upon the nourishment that the Fountain of Life supplies. Be beautiful without God! Yes, when nature can wear her gorgeous apparel without the blessings and the light of heaven.

II. THEN THE FIGURE SUGGESTS THE PRONOUNCED CHARACTER OF TRUE SPIRITUAL BEAUTY. "Blossom as the lily." Blossom like this. Changed into the plain prose of the New Testament it means Christians growing like Christ; beautiful with His beauty, grand with His grandeur. For as He is the unchanging standard of spiritual beauty. Making no pretensions, it frequently hides half-buried among more obtrusive and gaudy blooms, yet is known when seen. To grow as the lily is to have a beauty inseparable from real quality. The disciples in the council and Stephen before the court were too real and beautiful to be ignored, and we read that men took note of them. Such men are the living yet unconscious preachers of the nature and grandeur of the Divine character. It is unnecessary to be anxious about our appearance, about being demonstrative, about showing our character and piety; we need be anxious only about being real and the character will show itself. See that the inner life is Christ in us, filling our spirits, and the outer life will be a natural, agreeable product requiring no effort on our part to produce it.

III. AGAIN WE LEARN THAT OUR SPIRITUAL BEAUTY IS GOD'S CONCERN RATHER THAN OURS. Be not concerned about your beauty, but be concerned about your goodness; not about what you are to become, but about what you are, about doing your duty to God, and He will see to your beauty. He does not bid us chisel our own beauty; it would certainly be very inferior work. The fashioning of the spiritual beauty of the Christian character is in the hands of the Master Artist of the universe, and we can profitably leave it to Him.

(E. Aubrey.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.

WEB: I will be like the dew to Israel. He will blossom like the lily, and send down his roots like Lebanon.

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