Oppression And Luxury Condemned

We need God’s help on a daily basis. I came across a little prayer in a parish magazine, headed: “A Morning Prayer for Help” - note that I said “morning"! “Dear God, so far today I’ve done alright, I haven’t gossiped, lost my temper, been nasty, sel … More

Selfish

Much the same as in our day, the women of Judah had placed their emphasis on clothing and jewelry rather than in God. It would seem from what we read in the last half of this chapter that they dressed to gain approval and to be fashionable. Instead of being concerned about the needs around them they were self-serving and self-centered. The Lord condemns the peoples oppression and luxury (vv. 13-15). The elders and princes were responsible to help people, but instead they stole from the poor. Because they were unjust, Isaiah said they would be first to receive God’s judgment.

After denouncing the men who are in leadership in the first half of this chapter Isaiah zeroes in on the proud women who seem to enjoy the profits from their husband’s crimes (vv. 16-26). He warns that the day is coming when the Lord will take away all of their adornments. He lists some of these as anklets, headbands, dangling earrings, bracelets, veils, headdresses, ankle chains, sashes, finger rings, nose rings, cloaks, money purses, etc. (vv. 18-23). He says that the day is coming that instead of the sweet smell of perfume there will be a stink and instead of their beautiful robes they will wear sackcloth and ashes.

These verses are not an indictment against clothing and jewelry, but a judgment on those who wear them lavishly while remaing blind to the needs of others. When God blesses us with money or position we should not flaunt them. Instead we should use what we have to help others.

Application

These verses are not an indictment against clothing and jewelry but a judgement on those who use them lavishly while remaining blind to the needs of others. I must spend more time and money on what I put into my heart and mind than I do in trying to dress up the outside of my body. The motives I have on the inside are much more important than whar I say or do. 

Isaiah 3:13-26 (English Standard Version)

The LORD has taken his place to contend; he stands to judge peoples. The LORD will enter into judgment with the elders and princes of his people: "It is you who have devoured the vineyard, the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?" declares the Lord GOD of hosts. The LORD said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet, therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will lay bare their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; the signet rings and nose rings; the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils. Instead of perfume there will be rottenness; and instead of a belt, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty. Your men shall fall by the sword and your mighty men in battle. And her gates shall lament and mourn; empty, she shall sit on the ground.

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