Women Should Dress Modestly Because it is Right!
November 4, 2013
King David did not slip between the sheets with Bathsheba because he saw her naked but because he followed his own sinful heart.
David was a successful, fifty-year-old-plus king of one of the greatest nations on earth and he would have been wise to follow his own advice in Psalm 24:4 as to having a pure heart when he saw Bathsheba taking a bath. Even though David had multiple wives and concubines, he wanted what was illegal for him to have. He wanted Bathsheba and he took her and paid for it for the rest of his life. King David’s urge of the moment became the scourge of a lifetime.
When King David watched from his rooftop a young, beautiful Bathsheba bathing, he was not concerned with her dress but her undress. David maneuvered events to get her into his bed; after all, he was the king and some perks went with that position. Here was an example of God’s man not acting like God’s man.
Some theologians think Bathsheba trapped David, but that is conjecture. David was guilty but Bathsheba was somewhat culpable. After all, she did reveal her exposed body and while a subject, did not cry “rape.” Even in that culture of an absolute monarchy, a principled woman should have resisted. Even if she had played him like a fiddle to get him into bed, he was a big boy and he made the decision. Both were responsible for the sin of adultery.
Women have been told that they should not dress seductively because it will make men lust after them. However, females should dress modestly because it is godly to do so. Modesty is honoring to Christ and to the female body.
Obviously, Bathsheba was careless in bathing where others could see her. But what about the woman who dresses immodestly showing intimate parts of her body? Critics tell us that those of us who promote modesty believe that sex is sinful and the human body is dirty and bad. That kind of talk comes from people who are desperate for a supporting argument. It is a fact that all skin and body organs are not made equal. Female breasts are more interesting to men than are elbows, but you knew that didn’t you!
Proverbs 5:19 says to husbands about their wives, “let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.” That permission is only for her husband. Ravished means to be intoxicated, so sex between husband and wife is expected to be fervent, frequent, and fantastic (for wife as well as husband). However, it is wrong for a female to expose her body to seek attention from men who don’t have that right to see her. Some accuse those of us who advocate modesty as being sexually repressive, but that is a silly, hollow argument.
The developer of the miniskirt and hot pants, fashion designer Mary Quant said, “I love vulgarity. Good taste is death, vulgarity is life.” What a fool! She proved that when you drink from a polluted fountain you always get polluted water. She helped make vulgarity arguable, available, then acceptable.
Some men and women expose their body to others not to tempt them but simply to exhibit themselves. In other words many are exhibitionists and might be shocked if observers approached them for immoral reasons.
I Tim. 2:9 tells women, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” This passage teaches that women should dress in an appropriate way without any extremes that would draw attention to them. Women in that day often wove thin gold and silver strips and wire into their hair and Paul was teaching that that is unnecessary, unacceptable, and undesirable and is now unscriptural.
The Apostle Paul says that it is not good for Christian ladies to pay such attention to their hair as the heathen do. Dress, for men and women, should be suitable for the place, time, and occasion. Paul is also saying that women should pay attention to themselves because neglect is just as wrong as the other extreme. She should not be an offense to any class of people and during those days the church had people from all social strata. He is not saying that the use of gold and silver is wrong, only the excessive use is wrong. He is saying, “Stop trying to appear like the wicked ladies around you. You are servants of Christ. Act and dress like it.”
The wife of Phocion, a celebrated Athenian general, received a visit from a rich lady who was elegantly adorned with gold and jewels, and her hair festooned with pearls. The visitor took occasion to call attention to the elegance and costliness of her dress but her host replied, “My ornament is my husband, now for the twentieth year general of the Athenians.” Good putdown. She treasured her longtime marriage more than gold, silver, and pearls; or basking in her husband’s position, she did not feel a need to use gold and silver to establish her prestige.
We should err on the side of caution. Better be too narrow than too broad. Women’s dress should be modest (not frumpy) and men should keep their eyes on her elbows and their hands to themselves.
In I Pet. 3 God tells us not to be so concerned with clothes, gold, and jewels but “let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
God knows what’s important; most modern Christians do not.