18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments, and cauls, and round tires like the moon;
19 The chains and the bracelets, and the mufflers;
20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the ear-rings;
21 The rings, and nose jewels;
22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping-pins;
23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and hoods, and the veils.
(2 Nephi 13:18-23, Isaiah 3:18-23)
What is the source of your emotional equanimity? What gives you confidence and enables you to go on in spite of setbacks and discouragements? Are you building your foundation something stable or on something unreliable?
I like the word “bravery” in the passage above. Other translations use the word “finery” or “beauty.” The Hebrew word (תִּפְאֶ֖רֶת, pronounced “tiperet”) means “glory, “magnificence,” or “source of pride and joy.” So the questions I’m asking myself today are these: “What is the basis for my bravery?” “What is the source of my pride and joy?”
The list of stylish accessories Isaiah lists above may be old-fashioned, but the concept is familiar. Can’t we all relate to feeling more confident when we have a new outfit, a new car, or a new electronic device with cool features? Are we deriving our sense of emotional stability from something fickle and unstable? As Isaiah warns us in this passage, worldly possessions aren’t permanently ours. They can be taken away. If your “bravery” is dependent on those things, you will be very insecure when they are gone.
Isaiah opens this chapter by telling us that the Lord will take away the “staff” and the “stay.” Both of these words represent a support, something you can lean on and depend on. When the Lord removes these things, it is not because He wants us to fall. It’s because He wants us to learn to lean on more permanent and reliable things. “Tinkling ornaments” and “changeable suits of apparel” do not qualify as a firm foundation!
Today, I will take care not to build my confidence on temporary things. I will place my faith in God, not in worldly possessions.