The first time I thought about luxury being something to display God’s glory/character was in Russia. It seems the entire city is built out of concrete and is not the least bit appealing. But the churches were a completely different story. They are built with such beauty because the builders wanted to show the city what God was like, that He was a beautiful God.
I have a tendency to think that luxury is a waste, almost looking down on people for being so selfish (assuming their motives). But really this exposes my small view of God and a man-centered gospel. It is like I think God needs the money of the rich, that unless the rich gave to the poor, God’s hands were tied and He could not take care of them. This exposes that my highest goal for the money is not the glory of God but the glory of man. Yes, giving to the poor displays God’s compassion. But the glory of God has not been my aim in thinking the rich should give to the poor.
I see another example of God being delighted in luxury because it displays His character- in how He told Moses to build His tabernacle. Luxuriously, with all sorts of precious stones and beautiful items. And the same is true about the New Jerusalem He is going to bring when Jesus returns. Rev. 21:19-21 “The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.”
The King of Tyre and the King of Sidon are more examples of this.
Eze. 28:12-17 Speaking of the King of Tyre God says, “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you… Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on that day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.” Then he is rebuked b/c he became proud because of his luxury and beauty. His heart was what was rebuked, not the fact that God had blessed him materially.
The King of Tyre was the epitome of luxury and the King of Sidon (Eze. 28:20-26) was the epitome of poverty (after they were punished) with blood running in the streets and death everywhere. Yet both of them were for the purpose of displaying God’s glory and making evident the He is the Lord.
“Bless us and be gracious to us SO THAT your ways may be known on the earth… SO THAT all the ends of the earth will fear Him.” Psalm 67 And may our hearts be more passionate about Your glory than the glory of men. Let all we do be to display Your heart and character.