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Friday, January 18, 2013

"For Glory and for Beauty"

Reading about the Old Testament high priest’s clothing in Exodus 28:2, I happened upon this phrase:

“for glory and for beauty”

The high priest’s clothes that he wore for service in the Tabernacle were designed with these two purposes. The Hebrew word for glory means “honor, splendor, glory, dignity.” The clothes were designed to command respect for God. Beauty means “beauty, finery.”

Let’s look at them briefly. The high priest was to wear a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle (from Exodus 28:4). They were to be made of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work (verse 6).

Then, there are the stones and the breastplate and the shoulder pieces, all of beautifully colored stones, set in gold. I find all the colors of the rainbow in them—plus some. 
  • Red: sardius (ruby) and ligure (jacinth) 
  • Orange: jasper
  • Yellow: topaz and beryl (chrysolite or yellow jasper)
  • Green: emerald and carbuncle
  • Blue: sapphire
  • Violet: amethyst
  • Plus, there are: agate, which sometimes has patterned colors, shiny black onyx, and a clear diamond.

The stones were engraved. The clothing was embroidered. Everything was glittering with gold and striking because of color and pattern.

The whole effect was for glory and for beauty.

It was supposed to reflect God’s glory and beauty.

How about our clothing?

You might be thinking, “Right. We’re supposed to copy the Old Testament high priest’s outfit? How ridiculous is that?”

No, the high priest’s fashion statement was a one-off. Unique. Not for today, anyway. The Old Testament Law was done away with when Jesus died on the cross. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. . . . By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament (Hebrews 7:19, 22).

But, we would do well to think about why we dress like we do. Our philosophy of dress is important to God. 
  • Do we reflect Christ’s beauty?
  • Do we look like someone who loves Jesus?
  • When someone looks at us, do they think we look like a Christian? Or do they not even notice we’re different from the rest of the people around us?
  • Do we take some care in our dress, or do we look like we crawled out from under a rock? 

Our clothing sends a message. It might send a message of purity (like the high priest’s fine, white linen), or it might send the message of worldliness. It might show beauty and care and dignity, or it might convey the opposite.

How do we dress?

What’s our message?

Is it glory and beauty? 

If you’d like to share your thoughts on clothes and the message they send, please feel free to leave a comment.


  1. That is a great emphasis.

    I used to wonder if it was okay to want to look (or have my home look) pretty or if we should try to look plain so as not to call undue attention to ourselves. But then I thought, God created the world with beauty when He could have just made it functional, and I am so glad He did.

    1. Absolutely! I am so delighted that God made so much beauty and so much variety. Creation points others to Christ. I believe we shouldn't call attention to ourselves by looking wacky, but there's nothing wrong with reflecting God's beauty. :o) I believe our homes should make the same statement.


Please share your thoughts.