In Isaiah chapters 3 and 4 God addresses snobs. Before I go any further, let me ask this question “Are you a snob?” If you said, “Yes” you are correct. Everyone is a snob about something. I have known scores of people who get persnickety about particular scene details from sitcoms. I have seen people almost come to blows over being “right” regarding sports and movie trivia. I have heard people passive aggressively imply how they are better than others for any number of asinine reasons. And for the record, I have been all of these people at various times. So back to Isa.Chap.III&IV …God says, “Because the daughters of Zion esteem themselves as arrogantly superior and disdainful, and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly (sexually unrestrained) with their eyes, mincing (affectedly dainty in manner) along as they go, tinkling with their feet …I will lay bare their secret parts.” God gets pretty specific about the day of exposure, saying, “In that day I will take away the finery of their anklets, their headbands, and their crescents; their pendants, their bracelets, and their scarves; their headdresses, their armlets, their sashes, their perfume boxes, and their amulets; their signet rings and nose rings; their festal robes, their mantles, their cloaks, and their handbags; their mirrors, their linen garments, their turbans, and their veils.” It’s not simply the fact that we will be without our most cherished cosmetics, and coveted status symbols; we will be laid bare, we will be completely exposed! Instead of perfume there will be rottenness; and instead of nice leather belts we will have ropes. Instead of well-set hair, we will be bald; and instead of a rich robe, we will have a skirt of sackcloth; we will be branded instead of beautiful. God says, “In that hour of exposure, seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, ‘We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; please just take away our reproach!’ ”
God’s exposing work forces people to the end of themselves. When God lays us bare, there follows an unavoidable reckoning with our desperate neediness. Hence Isaiah’s illustration of seven women seizing one man all at once, begging him for his name, so that they might “escape” their reproach. This is like a person flailing and thrashing amidst ocean waves, desperately grasping for any shred or semblance of something that might keep them afloat. These “seven women” are so desperate that they will savagely fight to clench what is at best an apparition of a cure; for just like the drowning man, once he claws and wrestles his way onto the back of another he has only succeeded in hastening the sinking of two hapless humans.
So all is lost!?
In 1944 J.R.R. Tolkien, in a letter to a friend, coined the term “eucatastrophe” | ˌyo͞okəˈtastrəfē |. A eucatastrophe is “a sudden and favorable resolution of events in a story.”
If Buddy the Elf loves smiling, and claims it as his favorite, then it seems we could say the same of God when it comes to Authoring and Perfecting eucatastrophes! The motif of eucatastrophe is prolific throughout the narratives of Scripture. For example, the story of Abraham & Isaac, Joseph son of Jacob, Moses, The Exodus, Ruth, Esther, and the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth!
In Isaiah chapters 3 and 4, God prophesies a eucatastrophe! On a dime, God follows a bleak and dreadful prophetic picture with a surreal and sumptuous promise. God says, “In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.”