Wednesday, June 23, 2010

2010 – June 23 – Dressed for Disaster

Study from God’s Word Isaiah 1: 1 – 9; Is 5: 1 – 7; Is 1: 10 – 17; Is 1 : 21 – 26; Is 2: 6 – 9; Is 2: 10 – 18; Is 3: 8 – 15; Is 3: 16 – 4: 1; Is 32: 9 – 11; Is 5: 8 – 23 … Passage for Reflection: Isaiah 3: 18 – 23 … NIV 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.

My Journal for Today: As my devotional shepherd, Dr. LaGard Smith, points out, … Isaiah was for Judah what the Prophets Joel, Hosea, and Amos were for the northern tribes of Israel when God’s promised land became split and embroiled in political intrigue and in-fighting in those days centuries before Christ. His prophesies to Judah were unrelenting and must have been tough to hear for the people and even more so for the leaders of that southern kingdom. Isaiah railed against the sins of Judah; and his prophesies focused on the coming judgments of God, … and also upon the exciting advent of a Messiah and the salvation for God’s people.

There were many instances and examples of idolatry and sinful excess to which Isaiah addressed to God’s people, speaking for God; but one of these had to do with the prideful excesses of the women of Judah, where these women strutted their pride in fine garments, jewelry, luscious perfumes, and other physical adornments which spoke of the pride and arrogance of God’s chosen children who had abandoned His ways. And today’s highlight passage speaks of this and how God, in His day of judgment, would snatch such prideful finery away from His children.

Today, in a post-modern idolatrous world, we hear such catch-phrases as “dress for success” and “clothes make the man;” and these exhortations speak of trying to adorn our outer selves to be seen as high and mighty in our world, where climbing to the top of the heap is so important. But as we read this, Christians should know that Isaiah then, and God’s believers now, are not so concerned about the external finery being worn as discerning believers should be concerned for the hearts of those who were using adornments to pridefully call attention to the external person rather than to honor God by what we wear on the outside.

The question becomes – in Isaiah’s eyes as well as the discerning Christian today – “What happens when all the externals are stripped away?” What is left? Will the person who stands naked before God, stripped of externals, be a person God will see as true to the core; or will the Lord only see that all the finery was a sham to hide the true self, which is morally and personally bankrupt of Godly values?

Yes, today’s passage seems to focus on the tendency of women toward physical adornments; but men can be just a prideful, trying to hide the real self with marks of worldly success, and trying equally to impress others to gain personal favor or the position of power. Who among us is not guilty of dressing on Sunday to impress God’s people when we go to church rather than to honor God with our dress and adornments? Are we dressing for success in Satan’s world or are we dressing to represent our Lord to a world gone mad with arrogance and power mongering?

Oh, how these studies, holding up God’s truth as a mirror, challenge my mentality to realize why I do what I do and even dress the way I do … so as to put on a mask or to shine God’s light into the world. Which is it? Prayerfully, it is the latter, … that I would dress to show off God’s robes of righteousness; but my vigilance must be constant to avoid the former, where I dress to show off myself.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, keep me tuned into to wearing what I wear to honor and glorify You … and not to adorn or raise up yours truly. Truly Yours! Amen

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