Friday, January 4, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 3

Yesterday, we had a warning against being proud. Today, in Isaiah 3, we see a continuation of that warning. Some of you may find it hard to follow writing like Isaiah's. It's perfectly understandable, as it does have a tendency to jump from one place to another. What I find helpful is the fact that much of what Isaiah wrote about has already come true, and we have a basis for it in the New Testament. As we saw during our journey through the New Testament books covered here, Isaiah is heavily referenced because of his prophetic writings on the life of Christ. We see more writing here that is referenced later in the Bible, as Isaiah gives a warning to the fall of Jerusalem that actually happened later on.

It is also a continuation of the warning against pride. Pride is one of the most dangerous sins because the feeling it gives us feels good. When we are prideful it does not feel like we are sinning. It brings us low though, because we are putting ourselves and our own desires before God. God is not warning the people of Jerusalem because he is vengeful and is simply waiting to smite them. He loves these people, and is trying to warn them before His hand of discipline is forced.

10 Tell the righteous it will be well with them,
       for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.

 11 Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them!
       They will be paid back for what their hands have done.

 12 Youths oppress my people,
       women rule over them.
       O my people, your guides lead you astray;
       they turn you from the path.

 13 The LORD takes his place in court;
       he rises to judge the people. – Isaiah 3:10-13

Some people need a dramatic warning in order to get them to pay attention. I know I am one of those people, as God has gotten my attention in such a way before. In verse 12, we cannot overlook the statement about women ruling over Judah. In Jewish culture at the time, men totally dominated the seats of power and felt women had no place in ruling. This warning is meant to show how thorough God would be in his discipline if He was going to let women rule. It would totally turn their society around, as most Jewish men of the time couldn't even begin to fathom the mere possibility of a woman being in power.

16 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.

 17 Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion;
       the LORD will make their scalps bald."

 18 In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, 19 the earrings and bracelets and veils, 20 the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, 21 the signet rings and nose rings, 22 the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses 23 and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls. – Isaiah 3:16-22

This is not a warning against having nice things. We can have nice things, but it is when we base our entire lives on nice things and advancing our own privilege that the problem arises. Here, Isaiah is basically warning us about worshipping ourselves instead of worshipping God. He is saying that, if the people continue to worship themselves, God will take away the objects they use to exult themselves until they have no choice but to worship God. In context, these are all warnings that went unheeded. Just as God predicted through Isaiah, Israel, Jerusalem, and Judah were all laid low through invasions by the Assyrians and the Babylonian exile centuries later.


  1. If God can do this to His own chosen people, what does He have in store for today's selfish society?
  2. Why would Jewish men be so horrified to see women or youths placed in positions of power?
  3. How do these warnings carry over to the present day?

No comments: