As I read through the Bible this year, more than a few times, I’ve bumped into a passage of scripture that has surprised me, given me cause for pause, or flat-out left me speechless.
Exodus chapter 28 is one of those passages.
This is one of those detailed Old Testament passages where the verses go on and on about God’s thorough instructions for the Israelites. This particular chapter relates specifically to the attire for the priests. God gives very specific information relating to what the priests were supposed to wear and how those garments needed to be constructed.
In the first couple of verses, one word caught me off-guard and made me stop to think.
“You shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.” Exodus 28:2
Right smack in the middle of the Pentateuch and all of the information given to Moses about the design of the temple and the procedures for the sacrifices, God says He is interested in beauty.
In addition to the function and purposes of the priestly garments, God wanted them to be beautiful.
This is mind-blowing for me – a girl who cares nothing about clothes.
As a stay-at-home mom who would rather wear yoga pants and a t-shirt on any given day of the week, clothes have taken a back seat in my personal hierarchy of important matters.
In my opinion, clothes are for function.
I have to get dressed. Eve made sure of that.
And get dressed I do, but I don’t necessarily make it my practice to go beyond the idea of “function” and “necessity”.
Most Christians would agree that there is a “function” and “necessity” in dressing for God’s glory.
We have the verses down pat that talk about modest apparel (1 Timothy 2:9-10). Believers are quick to remind each other that God is more interested in our hearts than our outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7). And Christian women have been beat over the head with the message that a quiet and gentle spirit is of great worth – more so than the beauty that comes from what we wear.
But could it be that on the way to making sure that we glorify God with what we wear, we have forgotten that we serve a God who is also interested in beauty?
…not the beauty that comes from depending on outwards appearances for value nor the beauty that comes at a cost of representing Christ well. We definitely don’t want a quest for beauty to become an idol that supersedes our desires for all things holy, acceptable and pleasing to God.
Yet, we serve a God who paints beautiful sunsets. He didn’t create the world in black and white. He graced creation with brilliant variety, color, textures, and design. We are reminded in Luke 12:27 that He has dressed the lilies so wonderfully that Solomon, who had the capacity to win the “best-dressed” award, couldn’t hold a candle to God’s handiwork.
God told Moses, not once, but twice (Genesis 28:40) to make sure that the priestly garments served the purpose of glory and beauty as the Levites did their duties in the temple. He went into great detail about the color, design, and layout of the garments.
So I’m challenged.
I’m challenged to care.
While I don’t think I will ever be the girl who loves to shop, (why would I spend money on clothes when I could spend money on books?) I do think there is something Biblically important about God’s children reflecting God’s glory and His beauty with the abilities, resources, and time that we have.
It’s not about name brands, or spending hours in the mirror, or comparing what I wear to what someone else has on.
It’s about being challenged to do better.
I’m challenged to not be lazy with my appearance or to use the importance of the inner man (or woman) as an excuse for lack of effort.
God expressed a desire for beauty as His people met Him in the temple and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells me that my body IS the temple of the Holy Spirit. How much more so should I reflect God’s glory and His beauty as I meet Him every day?
Should I care about what I wear?
Dress shouldn’t be an idol.
Clothing shouldn’t be a distraction.
Appearance shouldn’t be an idol.
But should I care?
Yes, I think I should.
Chrystal Evans Hurst