“And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, we will eat our own food and wear our own apparel, only let us be called by your name, to take away our reproach.” – Isaiah 4:1
I have wondered about the meaning of this cryptic verse. What is Isaiah talking about? Who is he referring to? I am sure his description had something important to say about the times he was living in, but I also think it has something to say about the condition of Christianity today.
A woman throughout the Scripture is a representation of the people of God, His church. The Old Testament prophets used the analogy of God’s people being like a bride, and Paul in the New Testament picked up on this, representing the church as a chaste virgin belonging to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2). Seven is a number denoting fullness or completeness. We find seven days in the week God introduced. The number is used throughout the Bible and is especially used over and over again in the book of Revelation. There are seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven spirits, and seven plagues. The number seven seems to contain a symbolic meaning of totality. So again, what is Isaiah saying? “Seven women shall take hold of one man”. All churches encompassing the wide scope of Christianity claim to revolve around one figure and it is not hard to guess who he is. It’s Jesus Christ.
Yet, the next thing Isaiah reveals is a startling prophecy that, if we have paid attention, we have seen fulfill. Christianity at large wants its own food and its own apparel. What is the food and apparel it is rejecting? Jesus Himself said:
“I am the bread of life” (John 6:48).
One chapter prior to this Jesus said that the Scriptures testify of Him (John 5:39). Jesus wants to feed the church with the bread of life, the Scriptures, which is His Word. Sadly a very large portion of Christianity today wants the name of Christ but not His Words. Christ wants to feed us and clothe us. Isaiah himself explains what the apparel refers to:
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).
What a promise! Yet again, Christianity today would rather find its own spiritual clothing, its own righteousness. What a graphic depiction of the age we live in. Spiritual blindness has crept in and yet assurance remains because of a name!
It all comes down to a simple question: “The Bible – What do you do with it?” By extension we could say: “Christ – What do you do with Him?” Ultimately what you do with the Bible is what you do with Christ. If the Bible is distrusted, Christ is distrusted. If the authority of the Bible is minimized, the authority of Christ is minimized. If you place yourself above the Bible, you are placing yourself above Christ. When we want our own bread and apparel we are actually saying to God that we think there is something better than His Word and His righteousness, something better than Him.
You see, what you do with the Bible will determine what picture the Bible will give you of God. Minimize the literal interpretation of the Scriptures, and your picture of God will be minimized to a God that can’t really create in six literal days. A God that could not, and would not, cause the earth to be flooded. A Christ that could not be born by a virgin – and certainly not a Christ that could rise from the dead. The second coming that Christ promised becomes an illusion and the book of Revelation a myth. Miracles are reduced to fables and Jesus becomes a relic of the past instead of living Savior. What has Christianity at large done with the Bible? It has reduced it to moral stories, criticized its divine touch, and then left it in the shelf to collect dust!
What has been done to the Bible, has been done to our picture of God.
Fortunately Christianity’s false picture of God does not change Him!
The Bible – What should you do with it?
Read it, believe it, trust it, and embrace it. Live by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God! It is the most perfect revelation of God that we have in our possession. We know that by beholding it we become changed by it.
When you read the Bible, it reads you!
It reveals our weaknesses and sins. It reveals all the ways that we have exalted ourselves above God. At these moments we must let the Word do its perfect work as a mirror revealing everything. Because with this revelation comes healing. When the Bible reads us, Christ reads us. And when Christ reads us he turns every page. Yes, also the one we would rather never had read. It is now more than ever that we need His healing touch and when we turn to Him in faith He will not fail us. His promises are sure. The same Sprit that inspired the writers of Scripture now inspires us. Time with the Word is time with Christ – and it is sweet. Don’t let the enemy rob you of that time. Capture those moments in your life before they slip away forever.
When the Hebrews spent 40 years in the wilderness, God rained manna from heaven. It tasted like sweet bread. The first day it fell the people looked at it and called it manna. Manna means “What is it?” When we look at the Bible we can ask the same question. What is it actually? Yes, it is a collection of 66 books. Yes, it consists of history, and a great deal of poetry, proverbs, and even prophecy. But what is it? There is only one way to find out. It’s the same way the Hebrews found out what the manna was…
”Taste and see that the Lord is good” – Psalms 34:8.
And when you taste the Word, relish it for what it is. Let’s not try to change it to satisfy our postmodern taste buds. God is looking for a people that will be revived by His Word. Every true revival of the past was based on a solid trust and faith in the Bible. On the contrary every spiritual decline started with a departure from the truth of the Scriptures. We are standing at the cross roads of popular Christianity, holding on to the name of Christ but lacking the power of Christ. A call goes out to let Christ feed us with His bread and clothe us with His apparel. May you taste and see that the Lord is good!