Psalm 112. The Beautiful People.

Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 112. (MsgB)

Hallelujah!
Blessed man, blessed woman, who fear God, who cherish and relish His commandments,
Their children robust on the earth, and the homes of the upright—how blessed!
Their houses brim with wealth and a generosity that never runs dry.
Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people—God’s grace and mercy and justice!
The good person is generous and lends lavishly; no shuffling or stumbling around for this one,
But a sterling and solid and lasting reputation. Unfazed by rumor and gossip, heart ready, trusting in Godspirit firm, unperturbed, ever blessed, relaxed among enemies,
They lavish gifts on the poor—a generosity that goes on, and on, and on.
An honored life! A beautiful life!


Let’s see.

Did you pick up your copy of People Magazine yet? You know. The annual special edition called ‘The Most Beautiful People in the World”. Without a doubt, it’s a must have for all Americans. How else would we gauge ourselves and our progress toward the pursuit of true beauty?

Oh yeah. And don’t forget the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. This one features revealing pics of more beautiful people than you can shake a stick at. Not that I’ve ever looked carefully, you know!

Sorry, I think my nose just grew an inch on that last comment!

Beauty.

Without a doubt, our generation has defined it with such clarity that even the poor folks living in the wilds of Africa know that beauty is based on skin color and body shape. And what about those skinny kids with pimples at the middle school in your hometown? They know in an instant by looking on YouTube what beautiful is and what it is not.

But wait.

Could it be that our contemporary definitions of beautiful might be skewed? Might it be possible that there are other ways to define beauty?

Apparently, the Psalmist of old believed that there was. But what did he know? He lived in the ancient days before wrinkle cream and Viagra were invented. Back then; there was no TV to paint a picture of glamour for the everyday folks. No movies to base our reality on. No Internet connecting the world to each other. Only God and His people. Left to define beauty using standards our world now calls backward or too religious in nature.

Yeah. These ancient words that define beauty just aren’t in touch with today’s reality. What modern kid would be interested in following such boring trivia?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say.

Too bad our eyes are so full of ourselves that all we see in the mirror is a person staring back at us who will never attain to the high standards of beauty set up by this generation. Too fat. Too thin. Too wrinkly. Too short. Too tall. Too ugly. Fill in the blank.

Hmm.

Maybe it’s not too late to try one more time to shift a culture in the right direction. What if just a few of us decided that we didn’t agree with People Magazines’ Most Beautiful List? Oh, we don’t have to be snotty about it. But in beauty, we graciously decline the definitions, move away from these worldly 8 x 10 glossies, and begin telling our kids and grandkids that they are beautiful despite the fact that they feel like they’re ugly.

Maybe a gentle revolution that says Psalm 112 was right. Beauty is defined by God, not by People Magazine or Sports Illustrated.

Sounds beautiful to me. How about you?

My prayer: Forgive me, Father, for giving in so easily to my world’s definition of beautiful. Empower me to speak up, calling for truth in an age of half-truths and false impressions. Thank You that Your definition of beauty goes much deeper than skin color and body shapes. Start a gentle revolution of reclaiming Truth. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: Where have I bought into the world’s definition of beautiful? Am I aware of the hideous ways our culture brain-washes our children, making them into robots that pursue a form of beauty that can only be attained through the use of airbrushes and Photoshop? What might it look like for me to become a counter-culture activist, redefining beauty based more on God’s Truth than on definitions found on Facebook and Twitter? 

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?


Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

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