Let me introduce you to the women of Zion. They're beautiful, and they know it. In fact, they've earned a reputation for flaunting their beauty. And because of that reputation, they are about to become totally bald. Yikes! It's every girl's worst nightmare, right? Even the most unmanageable mane is better than no hair at all. But baldness is exactly what the women of Zion faced in Isaiah 3:16–25. Their story tells us much about God's perspective on beauty.
Check it out.
The LORD says, "The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with mincing steps, with ornaments jingling on their ankles.
"Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the LORD will make their scalps bald."
In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.
Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; beauty, branding.
Whew! Those gals were in trouble. As a consequence, they were stripped of their outer beauty. I realize that there are a variety of reasons why women go bald, many of which are very painful. But these women were bald for a very specific reason. What caused their punishment? What angered God so much that He made the women of Zion bald and took away all that made them outwardly beautiful?
The answer is found in verse 16.
The LORD says, "The women of Zion are haughty, walking around with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with mincing steps, with ornaments jingling on their ankles."
In other words, they were proud. They'd gotten pretty wrapped up in their outer beauty, and it showed. I imagine these girls had started to define themselves by their outer beauty. They did whatever they could to draw attention to themselves. The result was disaster.
I don't think God was angered that the women of Zion were beautiful. He created their beauty after all. I don't really even think He minded that they wore fine clothes and jewelry and took care of their hair. But those things were never meant to consume them or define them. God didn't make these women beautiful so that they could draw attention to themselves, but so that they could bring glory to Him. And He certainly never intended for them to flaunt their beauty in a way that was flirtatious or seductive.
Guess what? His standards haven't changed.
Have you even been haughty because of your beauty? Have you paraded yourself around in a way that was meant to draw attention to yourself? Do you use your beauty to entice the opposite sex?
Guilty? Me too.
What if God imposed the same consequences on us that He did on the women of Zion? What if we updated that list found in verses 18–23 to say, "In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: their fashion and jewelry, their make-up and hair products, their straighteners and curling irons, their fashion magazines and posters of beautiful girls that they have hanging in their rooms."
I don't think those things are bad, and I don't think God does either. But let's heed the warning found by studying the women of Zion and avoid letting outward beauty consume us. Believe me, the alternative of continuing to place too much focus on outer beauty isn't worth the cost.
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