The women of God’s people would not face facts. They were going to be destroyed. “Complacent” Isaiah calls them. “Careless” the King James Version says. That word means bold and confident. Despite the facts, despite the preaching of God’s prophet, they did not believe they would be destroyed. What I call it is “denial,” the haven of fear for some of us, and I have seen it often in my sisters.
When they do not want to believe that a loved one will soon die, they blame everything on the doctors. “They” are wrong, they don’t know what they are doing, they listen to the insurance companies too much, they are simply cogs in the big business of modern medicine and don’t care about patients anyway.
When they don’t want to believe there is a financial problem, they place their confidence in how things have always been. It never crosses their minds that times might have changed and they might need to cut down their costs of living, actually sacrificing a few things. They believe that it will only last a few days and then things will be back to normal.
When a family member or friend, especially when a child has gotten themselves into trouble, the accusers are lying, the teacher just doesn’t like my baby, the police have made trumped charges. It cannot possibly be that someone I love actually broke a rule or committed a crime.
Women used to be the strong ones. When I think back to those hearty pioneers who traveled west, who left most things behind and lived on beans, bacon and flour for months at a time, who built fires for every bit of housekeeping from cooking to cleaning, who carried water several times a day, who worked dawn to dusk, then sat by a dim lamp to darn socks and mend shirts until they could no longer stay awake, I wonder what they would think of the spoiled women of luxury we have become—even those of us who don’t live in mansions and wear designer clothes. I hear too many say, “I could never do that,” to think we are as strong as they were. Too many seem unable to face facts, recognizing what needs to be done and doing it without a second thought, no matter how difficult it may be.
What has happened to us? At one of the places I spoke several years ago, I mentioned something that had befallen my family, something I had to do that I had never done before and wasn’t sure I could even do. It was supposed to be an application of Prov 31:25: “Strength and dignity are her clothing.” One of the women actually spoke up and said, “That’s where I draw the line. No one could make me do that.” What? And so something that needed to be done and no one else was there to do it, would not get done? And everything would be all right?
Denial, false confidence, indifference, complacency, carelessly assuming things would go on just fine. That’s what those women in Isaiah were doing. Sometimes you have to be strong. Sometimes you have to face the facts, no matter how awful they are. Sometimes you are the one who has to act. Don’t be the weakling who wrings her hands in despair or sits there confident that nothing is wrong when everything is. Don’t let this oracle be meant for you.
The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless, Prov 14:15-16