This text refers to the promise that Israel would be restored to glory and beauty and all of the good things that God envisioned for it.
I see this text as a reflection of our own selves, though, too. When God created us, God did so with love. God made us beautiful, gave us great potential, we were crafted in God’s image. But, like Israel, things happen. We make ourselves less beautiful-perhaps through unkind words or actions. We don’t use our skills and resources generously, and so we don’t fulfill the dreams that God envisions for us.
And yet, God still loves us and thinks us beautiful. God still stands by us, strengthens us, and makes promises to us. God whispers dreams of love and beauty and kindness and generosity and acceptance and reconciliation to us. We only need to listen and believe to become the work of art, the “crown of beauty” that God intends us to be.
O God, let us love and delight in you as much as you do in us. Amen. — BW