Psalm 149:4 (NASB) The Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.
Beauty products have become a growth industry. We long for products to make our hair look shiny and our skin look young. Even a cursory glimpse at the shelves laden with beauty products will tell you that the hunger for beauty knows no bounds in terms of age or gender.
The psalmist, however, tells us of a source of beauty that is more than skin deep. Psalm 149 is the next to last psalm. And because the final psalm has a singular theme repeated in many different forms— ”praise the Lord”—this penultimate Psalm becomes all the more important as it prepares us for praise.
Psalm 149 begins with the theme of praise—“Hallelujah! Sing to the Lord a new song.” The idea of the “new song” is that it is freshly composed based on the goodness of God, leading us to praise him in song and dance and with instruments.
But the basis of the “new song” in this psalm is found in two interrelated truths— that the Lord “takes pleasure in His people” and will “beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.” It is almost too wonderful for words to think that the Lord takes pleasure in his people. The only way I can even begin to relate to this truth is to think of my relationship to my own children. As I watch them grow in maturity, I take deep pleasure in them. Do you daily sense God’s pleasure? Earlier, the psalmist noted that, “The Lord values those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His faithful love” (Ps. 147:11). Do you worship the Lord and wait for his loving-kindness?
God’s pleasure in his people has led him to “beautify” us with salvation, even in our humble state. The word translated as “salvation” can also mean “victory.” One of the men in a church I once served said he could see a visible difference in the countenance of people who were saved, that their face radiated an inner joy and a lack of stress. Could that be one part of the beauty of salvation? Does your heart sense and express that beauty?
Hemphill, K. (2008). Kingdom promises: god will. Nashville: B&H.