With the inception, popularity and high demand of makeup in Nigeria, many women are all out to make the best use of the skills, services, knowledge and products of makeup not minding the huge price tag placed on it in order to look well packaged and beautiful. Having grown up in a conventional environment, I was taught that those who make up have the ‘Jezebel spirit’ in them(I’m sure I wasn’t the only one). When I grew up to the stage of making decisions for myself, this statement got stuck at the back of my mind, hence, making me train as a makeup artist. I asked some questions, the responses I got still didn’t make sense. So I decided to search the scriptures to clarify this issue, the proceeds from this search quenched my curiosity once and for all.
Before we get into the scriptures let’s take a look at a brief history on makeup to get to appreciate this discourse better. Makeup is dated centuries back where Africans used natural cosmetics for tribal face painting during the birth of a child, as a sign of love and purity, to signify the rite of passage to adulthood, as a means of communication between tribes and for battles. Tribal painting is an established and historically significant aspect of tribal cultures dating back to ancient times in Africa.
Sub-Saharan Africans have been using cosmetics for many centuries before the Egyptians, the first recorded use of cosmetics dates back approximately 3000BC during the time of Egyptian dynasty. Eye makeup was a part of their daily grooming and routine. Infact, the use of eye makeup was spiritually linked.
Ancient Mesopotamian women, where Abraham originally came from ( the modern day Iraq, part of Iran, Syria and part of Turkey), crushed semi precious jewels and used them to decorate their lips. Red clay mixed with water was used to colour their cheeks, and henna was used to dye their nails orange or yellow.
The Israeli women were not also left out, reports show that countless items linked to the use of cosmetics and perfumes have been unearthed in excavations throughout the land of Israel. In the Bible, one of Job’s daughters was named “Keren- happuch” in Hebrew, the name could mean “Horn of the Black (Eye) Paint”, that is, a receptacle or box used to store makeup, for example, Kohl or eye makeup. (Job 42:14). The name could have alluded to her beauty in general, but it also seems to suggest that the use of cosmetics was known at that time.
Having given a brief history of makeup let’s delve into what the scriptures say on the Woman, Her God and Her Makeup. From the book of Esther, we were told that Queen Esther had to undergo beauty treatments for 1year (12 months) for the King’s beauty pageant. The first six months was for skin care(application of oil and myrrh to the skin), while the other six months was with perfume and cosmetics (Esther 2:12 NIV). Queen Esther found favour with whomever she met including King Ahasuerus! Of course there were other pretty and even more endowed women in the pageant for the King to choose from, what stood Queen Esther out? Her heart was towards God, she knew God for herself and the Hand of the Lord was upon her!
On the other hand, there is Queen Jezebel who was King Ahab’s wife. She grew more powerful than her husband and made him commit lots of atrocities that were detested by God (1Kings 21). She never believed in God. There was an account of Jezebel trying to seduce Jehu, the new King of Israel by painting her eyes, arranging her hair and standing seductively by the window for Jehu to see her. Jehu had to call out to the eunuchs that were in the room with her to push her down to the floor which they did thereby leading to her death(2Kings 9:30 Msg). Neither did she know God nor wanted to, she had a wicked spirit. This made God detest her thus leading to the kind of despicable death she had.
These women, Esther and Jezebel used cosmetics and makeup but what made one stand out from the other? Esther had a relationship with God while Jezebel didn’t.
Peter told godly women that their beauty shouldn’t come from outward adornment instead it should be from the inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight (1Peter 3:3-5 NIV). After reading these scriptures, I realised that God wants us to be beautiful of course with these outward adornments but that shouldn’t be our primary focus. Rather, He wants us to focus more on building our inner self thereby producing a gentle and quiet spirit. Remember, when the container is beautiful and the content is not then its worthless. When one doesn’t know God and keeps investing her time and money on the outside, the person is like a ‘gold ring in a pig’s snout’ (Prov 11:22 Msg). That is how the bible recognises a beautiful face on an empty head.
Let God take charge of your life, then you’ll find balance, contentment, peace and love in this crazy world.
Live and Stay Beautiful.
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