What does God value in a woman? Does He care about modesty and discretion? About how we dress or talk? Does the Bible have anything to say about these things? Check out our proverbs reading to learn more.
Numbers 19 & 20
Modesty & Discretion: Does God care how we dress & speak?
To the Ladies:
What does our clothing and behavior say about us? Is clothing merely a fashion statement? Is it our right to dress any way we choose? Is off color language simply part of life in the business world? Does the Bible have anything to say about these things and other ways that we relate to those around us?
It turns out God has a great deal to say about these things. Verse 22 in today’s reading for starters.
“As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.”
A beautiful woman without discretion—a woman without modesty, wisdom and grace—is compared to a pig!
A pig is an animal who roots around in garbage, an animal that you can clean up, but who will go right back to the pig sty! The beauty of a woman without discretion is like a jewel put in the nose of an animal that pokes around in the slop!
Ladies, why do we stand around and listen to dirty jokes, or laugh at them, or … tell them? Why do we reveal parts of our bodies that should be reserved for our husbands or future husbands—by wearing things that are too low, too short or too tight? And why do we allow our daughters to dress that way?
Why do we allow gossip and criticism and unwholesome things to come out of our mouths? Why do we watch TV shows and movies and read books that fill our minds with things contrary to the Word and make us look like the rest of the world?
The Bible doesn’t give us rules and regulations about the length of our skirts or the style of our clothes and I don’t want to either. And we need to be extremely careful about becoming self-righteous in this area, especially when it comes to visitors to our churches or with new believers. But as we grow in Christ we should be more sensitive to these issues and more aware of the heart attitudes behind them.
When asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus said in short, love God and love others (Matt. 22.37-40). Our behavior has an effect on others: on our brothers in Christ, on our sisters in Christ who are their wives, on those who look to us as an example, and to the world who is watching to see if there is really anything different about us.
More than once, I’ve heard women say, “I like to dress this way. If men look at me, that’s their problem.” Certainly, men are responsible for what they do with their eyes, but we are also responsible if we’re a stumbling block.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. (1 Thess. 4.3-7).
One definition of defraud is to offer something for sale that you don’t intend to provide.
3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. (Eph. 5.3-4)
Instead, may the Lord help us to be the women Peter talked about:
“Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Pet. 3.3-4).
A Note to the Men:
Men, I pray that you will become the kind of men who value what God values in a woman, rather than the world. Too many men value the wrong things. Sadly, I’ve even seen men with 1 Peter 3.3-4 wives who were demanding they become Proverbs 11.22 women!
TODAY’S OTHER READINGS:
Whining, Murmuring, & Complaining
Almost 40 years had passed since the Israelites were brought out of Egypt. Most of the adults had died just as God said they would. They did not enter the Promised Land because they listened to the evil report of the ten spies instead of trusting God. Now there was a new generation murmuring against God. They seem to have learned more from their parents’ example than from their parents’ fate!
What are your children learning from you? Do you tell them not to “whine and complain” while you “whine and complain” about your spouse, your boss, your government (this one hits pretty close to home for me), your mother-in-law or whatever?
This is one way the sins of the fathers and mothers are visited on the children to the third and fourth generation (Num. 14.18). Even though, our children make choices about how they’ll live and are responsible for those choices, we make it more difficult for them to choose to do right when we set bad examples.
Striking the Rock
The story in chapter 20 where Moses and Aaron are told they will not enter the Promised Land seems sad and unfair at first glance. But we must remember that God is good (Mk. 10.18) and He always gets it right. The psalmist said:
“I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me” (Ps. 119.75).
Remember, too, that God knows and understands the heart perfectly. Moses had spoken strongly and authoritatively to the people in the past without consequence. But there must have been a different heart attitude when he was told to speak to the rock and, instead, struck it, not once but twice. Instead of obeying and trusting in the Word of God, he trusted in the arm of the flesh, doing what seemed right to him in the heat of anger. When we trust in human solutions instead of trusting in God’s Word, we, too, strike the rock. And when we do so in anger, we compound the problems and the sin.
Created for His Glory
Isaiah 43.7 says, “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory.”
We were not created to live life any way we please, but to bring Him glory.
One of the ways we bring God glory is through our praises. Psalm 33 is a beautiful song of praise to the Lord—a template that we can use in our times of prayer and praise to the Lord.
We, also, bring Him glory by the ways we demonstrate His love to others. John 13.35 says:
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
And we bring Him glory by our faithful, obedient living. As we are faithful (not perfect, but faithful), we become more like Christ, who obeyed even unto death (Phil. 2.8).
Ephesians 5.1 says that we are to be imitators of God as dear children. So even though we, too, may have had “bad examples,” we can choose to follow the example of our Heavenly Father. When we do, we become better examples to our children and grandchildren.
Taxes & Unrighteous Leadership
In verse 17 Jesus responded to a question about paying taxes:
“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
John MacArthur says, “Thus Jesus declared that all citizens are under divine obligation to pay taxes to whatever government is over them” (Rom. 13.1-7; 1 Pet. 2.13-17). That is perhaps one reason why Proverbs 29.2 says:
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”
Modesty: More Than a Change of Clothes by Martha Peace & Kent Keller
Are your outfits designed to get attention at school or church?
Are you pretty sure you dress modestly—compared to everyone else?
Are your clothing choices no one else’s business?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes, Martha and Kent challenge you to think again. What you wear is a big deal because it says a lot about how you view God, others, and even yourself. And that can be a problem if your view is off-center.
How do you create a positive message of modesty? By treating the cause, not the symptom, and experiencing change in your heart before you change your clothes! Martha and Kent talk about the causes and consequences of immodesty, avoiding legalism, and practical ways to honor God in what you wear. Discussion questions will give you much to consider about God’s reasons for modesty.
The Look: Does God Really Care What I Wear? by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Nancy Leigh DeMoss challenges Christians to ask themselves tough questions: Who decides what I will wear, and why? What message does my clothing communicate? And, how can I reflect the glory of God in my wardrobe?
Biblical, practical and motivating, “The Look” challenges women (young or older), parents, and teens to discover the Truth about clothing and modesty, and to make choices based on God’s eternal perspective.
A Woman After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George
Experience real peace and joy as you follow God in every area of your life—and become a woman after His heart. With warmth and grace, Elizabeth George shares practical, scriptural insights on how you can pursue God’s priorities when it comes to…
- your husband—foster a deep commitment to serving and honoring him
- your children—pray faithfully for them and teach them God’s Word
- your home—create a nurturing atmosphere and a tapestry of beauty
- your walk with the Lord—grow through love of Scripture and in spiritual maturity
- your ministry—learn to reach out and be a blessing to others
Let God fulfill His greatest desire for you. Allow Him to transform you by embracing His plans for you. And find real purpose in a life of prayer, a life of priorities, a life as A Woman After God’s Own Heart.
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