September 25, 2018
Daybreak: Isaiah 3:1 through 4:1
“The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.” (Isaiah 3:9)
Some twenty years ago, I was a leader of a boys’ club. One particular summer we took a camping trip. There was a great deal of fun and excitement as twenty-five boys (ages 10 to 16) explored all the camp site had to offer. The area had much potential for adventure — lots of hills to climb, and a brook with many rocks large enough to jump from one to the other.
Since the brook was not rapid, we decided to go upstream by climbing from rock to rock. Before we started out, I told the boys how far we would go. Because I knew the area, I understood that it was more dangerous beyond the designated point. The boys agreed and we took off. I soon observed that some boys were moving faster than others, so I decided to stay behind with the younger ones, and assumed the others would wait for us further up the creek.
However, four of the older boys had decided to go beyond the designated point. After the rest of us reached that point and made a roll call, it was discovered that they were missing. The others reported the four had gone farther, but because of a turn in the brook, we could not see them. After waiting for a while for them to return, I decided to go and find them. By then, I had concerns about their safety.
Going much further, I met them coming back. I’ll never forget their expressions. All the fun and laughter was gone. Instead, they looked frightened and panicked. Their countenances told me that their decision to disobey had resulted in a rough time. Apparently they had taken a different route back but found it very steep, making their return extremely difficult. With sweat running down their faces, they were quick to apologize.
Their faces told the story — their disobedience had cost them a price. Isaiah said that the story of the people of Judah was written on their faces also. It was clear they were sinning against God, and judgment would be coming if they did not change their ways.
Today disobedience still has a price. It is much better to do right and receive the benefits of righteousness. We have a choice. Will we obey God? If we do, we will be glad we did.
Chapter 3, along with the first verse of the next chapter, is a prophecy regarding the consequences to Judah for their profanity and guilt. God warned that He would take away their leadership. The phrase, “the stay and the staff” referred to everything on which they were dependent for survival as a nation, and it would be taken from them.
The prosperity of the nation had made the leaders proud, covetous, and idolatrous. Rather than trusting God, they trusted in their weaponry and wealth, and they did not understand that neither would give deliverance when judgment came. God would not allow His people to be proud and self-important, but would take measures to humble them. In the place of the mighty man, God told them that He would give babies as their rulers. The male leadership in Judah’s society had failed completely, and Isaiah prophesied that children would become their oppressors and women would rule over them. By taking away everything they trusted in, the infrastructure of their nation would disintegrate. Only women and children would want to hold office. Since the society of Judah was dominated by males, this situation would bring great humiliation and be considered a disaster. Disobedience had brought great affliction and destruction.
God, through Isaiah, also addressed the proud women of Judah. They had placed their emphasis on clothing, hairstyles, and jewelry rather than on God or the spiritual well-being of the nation. They were haughty (proud) and wanton (suggestive). Their attire and behavior indicated more than just a desire to look nice, but rather demonstrated a lewd and provocative attitude. The prophet warned the daughters of Zion who walked with heads held high, seductive eyes, and mincing steps, that the Lord would take away all of their adornments. Instead of delighting in their female attire, they would wear sackcloth and ashes. They would be in mourning and deep distress, as the men would fall by the sword of the enemy. This would reduce the male population so that there would be seven women for every surviving man in the nation.
Isaiah’s message was picturesque and graphic. God was trying to motivate these people to change their ways.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The message of condemnation: the Holy One of Israel provoked, rebuking and
A. Prophecies related to Judah
2. God’s promise of glory after judgment
b. Jerusalem’s prior judgment
(2) The judgment upon the leaders (3:1-15)
(a) Their demise (3:1-7)
(b) The reason (3:8-15)
(3) The judgment on the women (3:16 — 4:1)
A Closer Look
- Why did God disapprove of the daughters of Zion?
- How do you think the mighty men felt when they were told that children and babies would rule them?
- What steps can we take to keep our appearance and actions pleasing to God?
There is coming a day when the disobedient will be punished and God’s people will share in the glories of His Kingdom. Be on the side where your countenance will reflect the true light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!