Isaiah 3

Isaiah 3 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence

This chapter describes God’s judgment upon the corrupt leadership of men in Jerusalem in the first half and upon the luxurious sinful living among the women in the latter half.  First, he contends with the men, the elder and princes of His people, for Isaiah says in v.14, “It is you who have devoured the vineyard (see Isaiah 5), the spoil of the poor is in your houses.  What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?”  Because of this travesty of injustice amongst the men, the Lord promises to take away the mighty men (chief leaders), the men of war (soldiers), the judges, prophets, wise men, elders, skilled craftsmen and orators.  In their place, the Lord will set up a youth to serve in their stead, which is a form of judgment upon the nation.

If you remember, Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, was unwise in his youthful leadership over Israel and actually caused the kingdom to split in two under his tenure.  Likewise, at the time of this writing, Ahaz, a young man in his early twenties had become king over Judah and he was making all kinds of foolish and wicked decisions.  Later on, in v.12, Isaiah describes it as a form of judgment when youth and women rule over a country, for it assumes that there are no godly men of wisdom to serve.  In fact, Isaiah describes the firstborn eldest sons as giving up their rights and responsibilities to serve because the times are difficult, but the younger sons also refuse to take responsibility in their own selfishness.  They perceive the wounds of the nation but refuse to do anything about it because they have nothing to offer.           

The reason for this removal of leadership is plain in vv.8-9 because their speech and their deeds were against the Lord defying his glorious presence.  They were proud of their sins like Sodom and Gomorrah and refused to blush in shame, and so the Lord would tear them down exposing their sin that the righteous might once again walk humbly with their God.    

Likewise, the women in vv.16ff also have acted arrogantly and in an evil manner, and the Lord ultimately promises to plague them with disease to make them bald and to eventually expose their nakedness, when they are carried away as captives to foreign lands.  In this section Isaiah provides one of the most detailed accounts of the sins of Jewish women at the time.  In the previous chapter, the prophet cried out against the ships of Tarshish and their wares, for they were bringing back luxurious gifts for the women that would lead them into sin.  They desired to make themselves up like the pagan women did, dressing improperly to entice men with wanton eyes and all sorts of accoutrements.  Twenty-one very fashionable articles of clothing in the ancient world are listed here to show just how much they were spending on their sin and idolatry.  Soon all of these items would be snatched from these proud women when God brought his judgment upon the Jews.  

This entire account is further proof of what Isaiah said back in 1:21, “How the faithful city has become a whore, she who was full of justice!  Righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers.”  Even though the bride of Christ analogy wasn’t fully developed yet at this time, the women of God looked like an unchaste wife, like a prostitute, and the men who were made in the image of God were unmanly, selfish and corrupt.  This passage is preparing us for Isaiah’s revelation of Immanuel in Isaiah 9:6 of the son who is to come upon whose shoulders the government shall rest, whose name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Where every other counselor and prince and mighty man had failed and fallen into sin, Isaiah saw one who was to come who would do justly, stand up for righteousness and who would even lay down his life for his bride to redeem her out of her own bondage to sin.