18 “In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils. 24 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. 25 Your men shall fall by the sword and your mighty men in battle. 26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; empty, she shall sit on the ground. And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.” (Isaiah 3:18-4:1)
In the fourfold principle of interpretation entitled the Interpretive Journey, there are four questions which must be asked and answered when studying a biblical text. The four questions are (1) What did the text mean to the biblical audience: (2) What are the differences between the biblical audience and people today; (3) what is (are) the theological principle(s) contained in the text; (4) how may the text be applied today?
Isaiah 3:1-26 continues the theme of the Day of the LORD of Hosts which is found in the previous chapter. The biblical audience were the people of Judah in the 8th century B.C. You might be wondering how these judgments upon these ancient people, contained in the biblical text, have anything to do with us today.
John Calvin wrote that, “What frequently happens is that those who do not venture to openly ridicule the judgments of God pass them by, as if they did not at all relate to them, or were still at a great distance. What is that to us they say, or if they shall ever happen, why should we be miserable before the time? Will it not be time enough to think of those calamities when they actually befall us?”
Perhaps that is what the Nation of Judah believed during Isaiah’s lifetime. However, the words of Galatians 6:7-8 ring true: 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
Judah would lose everything they trusted in, depended upon, committed to and worshiped instead of Yahweh. This would include the basic necessities of life (3:1-5), and social order (3:6-12). This is because God took His rightful place to judge His people (3:13-15).
Due to Judah’s pride, the LORD would humble them. All of the trappings of wealth and prosperity, which was so highly valued, the LORD would remove. Instead of the aroma of pleasant perfume, there would be the stench of rottenness. Instead of fine clothing, there would be rags. Instead of ornate hairstyles, there would be baldness. Instead of beauty marks, there would be the brand of slavery. Instead of life, there would be death (3:24-26). How is 21st century A.D. America any different than 8th century B.C. Judah? Not by much, if by any.
In that day of judgment, the LORD will even condemn the women who pursued wickedness. He will do so by allowing a slaughtering of men, thereby resulting in a shortage of husbands.
John Calvin concludes by writing that, “The reason why he (Isaiah) calls God the LORD of Hosts is that the majesty of God may terrify the drowsy and sluggish minds; for God has no need of titles, but our ignorance and stupidity must be aroused by perceiving His glory.”
Wake up America! Wake up oh church! Wake up oh sinner! Wake up indifferent and casual believer! Wake up now and repent. For the Day of the LORD of Hosts is coming. As judgment came in the past, so it will in the future.
Soli deo Gloria!