In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory,
and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people.
— Isaiah 28:5
There is a beauty that seems right to a man, but in the end it only leads to destruction. Isaiah 28 forecasts a day of judgment on Ephraim and Jerusalem, when all that was deemed good and lovely by the wicked will be trampled underfoot in the obliterating tempest of God’s wrath. The crown of the proud will be trodden (v.3). The painted beauty of the world will be swallowed up (v.4).
Remember, however, that you will see the good news only as good as you see the bad news is bad. For through the remnants of destruction, true beauty will emerge. The true King in his splendor will triumph over the pale kings of the world. He will make their glory seem puny, paltry compared to his own, as the pretty stars disappear when the sun rises to vastly outshine them.
It was, in part, the promise of beauty that did us in. The woman saw that the three was a delight to the eyes (Gen. 3:6). So easily still are we led astray to our own greed, envy, and lust. We surround ourselves with trinkets and baubles and hope against hope they will satisfy. We spend countless hours polishing our idols for worship, when we ought to be making war against them. We cast them in the roles of protector and satisfier and joy-giver, when really their part ends in dust.
The gospel runs the other way around. God comes to us as a man, as plain as can be in the human sense. He had no form or beauty that we should desire him as we do our idols (Is. 53:2). His scepter is a shepherd’s crook. His royal steed is a donkey. His way is lowly. He ascends first . . . to a cross.
Naturally, we don’t like that. It does not comport with our flesh. It does not compute with the way of the world.
But in the end, when he returns, all who have found common ground with his grave, who have been washed in his blood, and who do not begrudge “sharing in his suffering” for as long as it takes will see in living color what they only perceived with the eyes of faith. “Christ is,” as George Whitefield said, “the most lovely person who ever lived.”
In that day, when the weight of glory comes crashing down into the charade of attractions in this world, our hearts will find their satisfaction at last. Those who trust him now to the exclusion of all rivals will have Christ himself for their glorious crown and their beautiful diadem. There is no love like his. Because there is no one lovelier than Christ.
Can you see?