Passage: The Lord says, "The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with mincing steps, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the Lord will make their scalps bald."
In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.
Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding. Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle. The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute, she will sit on the ground. In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, "We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!" You women who are so complacent, rise up and listen to me; you daughters who feel secure, hear what I have to say! In little more than a year you who feel secure will tremble; the grape harvest will fail, and the harvest of fruit will not come. Tremble, you complacent women; shudder, you daughters who feel secure! Strip off your clothes, put sackcloth around your waists.
Journal: We have discussed Isaiah's four main charges thus far against Judah -- 1) superstition; 2) materialism; 3) idolatry; and 4) sensuality and sex. Today's verses are a scathing attack on women that really encompasses all four charges, but focuses specifically on sensuality, sex and self-esteem. As John Calvin notes, "Whenever dress and splendour are carried to excess, there is evidence of ambition and many vices are connected with it; for whence comes luxury in men and women but from pride?" It is as if Calvin is speaking directly against our modern Western culture, walking the streets of our suburbs. The warning barbs of Isaiah speak not only to Judah, but to every generation and culture taken away by pride, enticed by outward adornment and negligent of inward beauty. It is the poisonous residue of a generation of parents teaching their children to pursue material splendor and beauty, and delivering little to no instruction on the beauty and majesty of God.
I feel certain that Isaiah was ignored and mocked by his Jerusalem jet set. After all, modesty and restraint is rarely in vogue in a fashionably sinful world. However, behind the makeup and adornment lies the aging lines of the wrath of God. The judgment of God cannot be covered up by expensive accessories ("the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes"). The stench of sin cannot be masked by the aroma of pride ("the perfume bottles and charms") or hidden by the clothing of ambition and material success ("the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls").
God has shaken such societies throughout history. Yet, we seem to have this belief that such judgment is not for us. Like Judah, God is calling us to repentance. We must lay down those things which distract, and pick up those things which impact. It is the Word of God that impacts us, that sanctifies us in the midst of blessing and want. He is to be our focus lest we wander aimlessly in the midst of our adornment.
Heard 'Round the House:
I offer the following pilfered from my wife's blog --
"Mommy is the smartest person in our family," or so says Song. You would think that might be music to my ears, but she didn't stop there.
"Well, except for knowing about Texas Tech, especially football, because Daddy's smarter about that."
"Oh, and history...Luke knows a lot more about history."
"Other than Texas Tech and history, Mommy knows the most."
At that point she was interrupted, so we'll never know what other areas of knowledge I'm lacking.