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Isaiah21 Hollow Vanity

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Isaiah (17)

Hollow Vanity

Welcome and announcements

Doxology            Hymn 329:              “Be still and know that I am God” (repeat)

Call to worship and Greeting

Hymn no 327 (tune 319):               “Lord Jesus, when your people meet”

Prayer of adoration and Confession of sins

Declaration of pardoning

Hymn no 285:    “How blest the righteous in their life” 

Offering and Dedication

While the Offering is taken up, all (remaining seated) sing)  Hymn no 494:    “”Take up your cross, the Saviour said”

Prayer of Intercession

Bible Reading

Old Testament:                Isaiah 3:16-26

New Testament:               1Peter 3:1-7

Sermon                                “Hollow vanity”

Introduction

When women are wholly vain and self-centered, the cancer of moral decay is truly consuming the nation's heart. Proper adornment and true beauty in women should be a reflection of the glory of God.  When women cultivate and cherish beauty only for itself, they are infringing upon and detracting from the glory and beauty that belong to Him.

That ordinary women of the world should be vainglorious might be expected. But the daughters of Zion, women who live in the city of God, under the very shadow of the Temple, who should have set the example of the beauty of holiness, these are haughty and walk with outstretched neck.

Is Isaiah, however, one who can see no place in life for the beauty of adornment? Does he condemn beauty and ornament as such? That is not the case. It’s not the various articles of jewelry in themselves which are reached by his condemnation.

Something more serious has gripped his attention and drawn down upon itself his condemnation. In Jerusalem there was an inner pride and corruption of the heart which manifested itself outwardly.

"Wherever," says Calvin, "dress and splendour are carried to excess, there is evidence of hankering after, and many vices are usually connected with it; for whence comes luxury in men and women but from pride?"

And again he remarks, "First then, he justly declares pride to be the source of the evil, and points it out by the sign, that is, by their gait." Isaiah is in no conflict with Peter, who stated,

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4)

The women Isaiah addressed were women with only one concern. They were concerned about their appearance and with drawing attention to that appearance.

About the utter lack of justice in the land and about the apostasy from God, however, they had no concern. In the work of the Lord women often take an active part. In Jerusalem, however, they were the leaders away from God. Little did it matter to them that the poor were the objects of abominable tyranny. So self-centered and puffed up were these women that they were only concerned to call attention to themselves. When the women of a nation have turned to such an extent away from God, the end of that nation cannot be far away.

If we thought our society looks better, let’s look at a few statistics:

In the United Kingdom retail sales of cosmetics and fragrances were valued at Bn$3.9 in 2000UK imports of cosmetics and fragrances reached a value of Bn$2.2 in 2000, with those exported worth Bn$2.287.  In the year to March 2001, $140m was spent on main media advertising of fragrances, while $110m went on promoting cosmetics.

In the USA Bn$35.3 is spent on, decorative cosmetics, while promoting Cosmetics for men reached Bn$15.6.  To advertise perfumes and colognes Americans spend Bn$63.9. Put this against the background of the $90.8m spent on the advertising of education.

The per capita on cosmetics and perfumes in Switzerland is $377.00 per year.

Put all this against the background of the following: The estimate is that

1)    - the cost of primary education for the 25% of children currently deprived from it is  about $6,000 million (UNDP 97).

The expenditure on cosmetics only in the United States amounts to $8,000 million a year.

2)    - the cost of health care and nutrition of the world population currently deprived from them amounts to about $13,000 million a year (UNDP 97).

The expenditure on food for pets only in the United States amounts to $17,000 million a year.

3)    - the cost of gynecological care of women currently deprived from it amounts to about $12,000 million a year (UNDP 97).

The expenditure on perfumes in Europe and the United States amounts to $12,000 million a year.

4)    - the cost of drinking-water supply and sanitation for the world population currently deprived from them amounts to about $9,000 million (UNDP 97).

The expenditure on icecream only in Europe amounts to $11,000 million a year.

Overcoming the most severe dimensions of absolute poverty would involve an expenditure of $40,000 million, less than 0.25% of world G.N.P. Put this against the background of the Bn$8 spent on cosmetics.

5)    The market for cosmetic surgery in the UK was estimated to be worth $358.5m in 1996, growing by 9.3% to $409.8m in 1997. The largest sector in value terms was breast enhancement, with 25.8% of the market, followed by fat reduction at 21.5%. The market is predicted to rise steadily reaching $624.9m this year.

6)    Eyelid surgery attracts Bn$13 per annum in America, whilst even more is spent on facelifts per annum.

7)    Lip augmentation attracts Bn$80 per annum.

Isaiah's accusation was no vain charge. The women were haughty as he had accused. For that very reason, the Lord would undertake harsh measures.

"will smite with a scab" — From this action baldness may result. Some think that the verb means "to make bald,"

snatch away:

Jewelry Ankle chains designed to make the steps short. The corresponding word in Arabic, assad, denotes a large bracelet

the sashes — Girdles, ornaments of the bride (cf. Jer. 2:32).

the perfume boxes — Houses of breath, or houses of the soul (cf. Song of Sol. 1:13; Prov. 27:9; and the alabaster boxes of Luke 7:37; Matt. 26:7 and Mark 14:3)

the charms — Amulets or charms which perhaps were inscribed with an chant. Note the occurrence of the word in verse 3 (cf. Gen. 35:4).

21 the rings and the nose jewels — Either finger or nose rings (cf. Esth. 3:12; Gen. 41:42; 24:22,47).

22 the plaits — The root implies that these were garments that were pulled or stripped off, and hence used only on special occasions, "festal robes", "state gowns"; "holiday dresses" (cf. Zech. 3:4ff.). the over-tunics — Whether these were large flowing over-garments or whether they were undergarments is a matter of dispute.

The corresponding Arabic word means a "mantle."

the cloaks —"the shawls."

the purses — "pockets," and some think that these were pockets in which the previously mentioned shawls were placed, or which belonged to those shawls. The corresponding Arabic word has the same meaning.

23 Mirrors: small metallic mirrors. Others think that transparent clothing is intended; fine silk clothing; "garments of gauze."

the linen wrappers — Inner garments made of fine linen.

the turbans — collars: , "neck,"

Conclusion

Let’s consider the Word of God in 1 Peter this morning: 
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. (1 Peter 3:3-6)

Prayer

Hymn no 358:                   “When on the night, that soon to know”

Communion

Hymn no 296 (tune 522)

Benediction

Threefold “Amen”

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