Isaiah 3:16 — Heads Held High
Moreover, the LORD said, Because the daughters of Zion are proud And walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, And go along with mincing steps And tinkle the bangles on their feet,
Isaiah paints for us a society very similar to ours today. Isaiah paints the women of his day as vain and shallow. Our text describes some of the mannerisms of these superficial women. The purpose of our study is not to critique the shallowness of the desire to look good by cosmetic surgery or fashionable clothing. The point Isaiah makes is that the people were completely self-absorbed and conceited. They had a high view of themselves; they had an unrealistic view of themselves in light of what God thought of them. The message of Isaiah may be applied with equal power today as in his day. We must be concerned with our internal, spiritual appearance.Isaiah then continues to describe the shallowness and pride of the women in the rest of the chapter. In verses 18-23, Isaiah lists twenty-one items the women used to adorn themselves. Every fashion accessory known to mankind at the time was used by the women to attract attention to themselves. The women thought they looked beautiful. The fault Isaiah takes with the women is their proud spirit. Isaiah uses the women to illustrate the spiritual pride that the people of Israel demonstrated toward God. The people were more concerned about superficial things than they were about their relationship with God. They were charmed by the rituals of their religion, but they had lost focus upon the person whom the rituals represented. The people became so shallow in their relationship with God that they focus more on the style of worship rather than the substance of worship.
God looks upon the heart, not the outer appearance. Jehovah drives home this truth to Samuel. Samuel stood before Jesse’s sons to determine which of them will be King Saul’s successor. As Samuel stood before Eliab, he saw Eliab was a strapping young man. Samuel said, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands before me now.’ Jehovah says to Samuel, “But the LORD said to Samuel, Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”1 Jesse’s son David was the man after God’s own heart. Look at what David wrote in Psalm 7.9. “O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds.” Note that David wrote that God tries the heart and not the looks. I know for a fact that if God judged us based upon physical appearance alone, I would never enter heaven’s door, let alone look at the pearly gates. Not everyone has the blessing of a superior physical appearance. God is just and righteous, and He looks upon the inner man of the heart. How do you look spiritually to God? Does He look at you through the precious blood of the Lamb? Have you humbled yourself to allow the blood of Christ to make your spiritual garments as white, spotless linen, or are you too proud to accept Christ’s work on the cross for a sinner like you?
What are your thoughts on this verse?
In what way is our culture built on superficiality?
Are there areas in your life that are superficial?
Are you serving to be seen by men, or are you serving from the inner man of the heart?