Let’s read Jeremiah 4:30: “And when you are plundered, what will you do? Though you clothe yourself with crimson, though you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, though you ENLARGE YOUR EYES WITH PAINT, in vain you will make yourself fair; Your lovers will despise you; they will seek your life.” Throughout this chapter Jeremiah describes the terrible spiritual state of Israel and then the judgment that was coming upon them for their sins. He uses various metaphors to illustrate their condition and His judgment. Here is a brief outline of the chapter:

Verses 1-4: God calls upon Israel to repent or He would judge them for their sins. In verse 3 He uses the metaphor of FARMING to picture this, “Break up your fallow ground and do not sow among thorns.” Then in verse 4 He uses CIRCUMCISION, “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your hearts, you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

Verses 5-13: Jeremiah prophesies of the coming invasion of the Babylonians, using very graphic descriptions to picture the ferocity of the invading armies. He speaks of Babylon as a LION (verse 7) which will come up like CLOUDS and a WHIRLWIND and with “horses swifter than EAGLES” (verse 13).

Verses 23-28: The judgment is also pictured as a COSMIC DISASTER, where the “EARTH…was WITHOUT FORM and VOID; and the HEAVENS, they had NO LIGHT” (verse 23)…the MOUNTAINS…trembled and all the HILLS moved back and forth (verse 24)…the WHOLE LAND shall be DESOLATE…and the HEAVENS above be BLACK (verses 27-28).

How would Israel respond to this mighty invasion? Would they realize Jeremiah’s prophecy of God’s judgment was upon them and repent? This question was asked at the beginning of verse 30, “And when you are plundered, what will you do?” The answer is truly sad, for instead of being humbled and turning to the Lord for His deliverance, they would turn to neighboring nations for help. This is what is pictured for us in the rest of verse 30, for Jeremiah describes Israel as a PROSTITUTE with gaudy clothing, jewelry and makeup seeking to allure their neighbors into an alliance against Babylon. Yet their attempts to gain support from them will be in vain, for instead of an alliance being formed, they will despise Israel.

The picture of Israel playing the HARLOT with her neighbors (LOVERS) was already mentioned by Jeremiah in 3:1, “But you have played the harlot with many lovers; yet return to Me, says the LORD.” The prophet Ezekiel used this same imagery in Ezekiel 23:40, “Furthermore you sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and there they came. And you WASHED YOURSELF FOR THEM, PAINTED YOUR EYES, AND ADORNED YOURSELF WITH ORNAMENTS.” Verses 41-43 then speak of a multitude of men who “went in to her, as men go in to a woman who plays the harlot.” This may have worked for Israel in the past (where they were able to “seduce the nations”) but Jeremiah warned them that this time their LOVERS “will despise Israel.”

I went into some detail to show you that the verse in question is indeed a PICTURE, yet the metaphor used (of a PROSTITUTE) does show us what God thinks of gaudy clothes, jewelry and heavy makeup. These things were worn by harlots then and they are still worn by harlots today! Sadly, many women (besides prostitutes) in today’s “fashion world” are known for such things and God surely condemns this as well. The Lord gives the following exhortation to the godly Christian woman, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quite spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1st Peter 3:3-4). This does NOT mean the Christian woman can’t wear nice clothes, jewelry, and makeup; it means that her outward appearance should not be the main object on display but rather the “hidden person of the heart.” In light of our lesson today I would encourage you to read Isaiah 3:16-24 (where God once again pictures the “ungodly woman” with a gaudy appearance) and then contrast it with 1st Timothy 2:9-10 which says, “that the women adorn themselves in MODEST APPAREL, with PROPRIETY and MODERATION, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with GOOD WORKS.”  (409.1)  (DO)