Let’s read Isaiah 3:16-24, “Moreover the LORD says: ‘Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with outstretched necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, making a jingling with their feet, Therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will uncover their secret parts.’ In that day the Lord will take away the finery: the jingling anklets, the scarves, and the crescents; the pendants, the bracelets, and the veils; the headdresses, the leg ornaments, and the headbands; the perfume boxes, the charms, and the rings; the nose jewels, the festal apparel, and the mantles; the outer garments, the purses, and the mirrors; the fine linen, the turbans, and the robes. And so it shall be: Instead of a sweet smell there will be a stench; Instead of a sash, a rope; Instead of well-set hair, baldness; Instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty” (NKJV).

This is a very detailed account of God’s judgment upon the women of Jerusalem for their pride, wandering eyes, expensive clothing, jewelry, perfume, and exotic hairdos. He would strip them of all of that which lifted them up in pride and bring them to shame. Their life of ease and luxury would be replaced by a life of poverty and public humiliation. Their beauty would be turned to branding, meaning their captors would literally burn marks in their bodies, branding them as slaves.

Let this serve as a lesson for Christian women today, for the Lord exhorts them to be the very opposite of what we have just read of the ungodly women in Isaiah’s day. Listen to Paul’s words in 1st Timothy 2:9-10, “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves with 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.” We can add also the words of Peter in 1st Peter 3:3-4, “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 QUIET SPIRIT, which is very precious in the sight of God.”

So, dear sisters in Christ, what does the world see when they look at you? Do they see the latest (seductive) fashions of the day, including expensive hairdos, perfumes and jewelry? Or are they compelled to look beyond your outward (modest) appearance, being attracted to your good works and Christ-like spirit? We saw that these “qualities” are “very precious in the sight of God.” In fact, he refers to them as “incorruptible beauty.” The world values costly clothes and jewels which will one day fade away, but God values the inner beauty of “a gentle and quiet spirit” which will never fade away. (295.3) (DO)