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These woes reveal what happens when the created take creation into their own hands. God is patient, good, righteous, and just. Let’s read Isaiah 5:25-30: (Words in italics are my comments.)

“On this account the anger of the Lord has burned against His people,
And He has stretched out His hand against them and struck them down.
And the mountains quaked; and their corpses lay like refuse in the middle of the streets.
For all this His anger is not spent,
But His hand is still stretched out.

He will also lift up a standard to the distant nation,
And will whistle for it from the ends of the earth;
And behold, it will come with speed swiftly.”

(I can’t even get my dogs to come every time I call them. God can call a nation, and it must come; and be quick about it. Everything is His servant.)

When we're ready

“No one in it is weary or stumbles,
None slumbers or sleeps;
Nor is the belt at its waist undone,
Nor its sandal strap broken.
Its arrows are sharp and all its bows are bent;
The hoofs of its horses seem like flint, and its chariot wheels like a whirlwind.
Its roaring is like a lioness, and it roars like young lions;
It growls as it seizes the prey,
And carries it off with no one to deliver it.
And it will growl over it in that day like the roaring of the sea.
If one looks to the land, behold, there is darkness and distress;
Even the light is darkened by its clouds.

They mean business. God’s people got lazy and rebellious, and now He can even use the enemy to accomplish His purposes. He is glorious. May we love and serve Him, and may His name ever be praised!

hero

“Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine,
And valiant men in mixing strong drink;
Who justify the wicked for a bribe,
And take away the rights of the ones who are in the right!”
Isaiah 5:22-23 NASB

The military; first responders; every day people who live with valor – these come to mind when I think of a hero. One might joke that the one serving drinks is a hero, but it’s not funny in the context of this verse. Their heroism is imbibing? It’s not surprising then that people so empty in purpose would be perverting justice for money. Is someone in the right? Not their problem. They follow the money. This behavior destroys a society. Compare it with the wonder of the One who created them and will make all things right,

“He works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.”
Psalm 103:6 ESV

“For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords,
the great, the mighty, and the awesome God
who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe.”
Deuteronomy 10:17 NASB

The truly valiant One will fight against wickedness like the Hero He is. Isaiah 5:24 goes on to say,

“Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes stubble;
And dry grass collapses into the flame,
So their root will become like rot and their blossom blow away as dust;
For they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”

Notice what the ultimate problem is. They reject God’s law and despise His Word. So they rebel, rather than repent. Sounds like what’s happening all around us. It will not lead to joy. It will lead to destruction.

Yet, in Christ, we can follow Him to pleasure forevermore!

strength

“Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And clever in their own sight!”
Isaiah 5:21

Woe, indeed. This kind of pride sends us falling every time. And every time I fall for it, I wish I had not. When the created deems itself wiser than the Creator, it makes for a mess. Only God sees the whole picture. We can think we’re so right, and be so wrong.

Any true wisdom man ever had, came from God. His grace provides trees, and the knowledge that we can use them to build. He gives us the beauty of creation, and science that teaches us about the things He has made. He gives the ability to plan, think, remember, create, invent, and solve problems. Yet many want to believe the wisdom and wonder somehow originated with them. And then they begin to trust in their own wisdom, rather than His.

1 Corinthians 1:18-21 explains the ultimate horror of this woe,

“For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written,
“I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,
AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age?
Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God,
God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”

Proverbs 3:5 protects us from delusion,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And do not lean on your own understanding.”

Let’s stay in His Word with thanks and praise for His glorious wisdom!

Confusion

Our next woe, is such a wake up call. When the light of truth is removed, one can’t see. When truth is guarded – as the church is mandated to do – then people have opportunity to see. Isaiah 5:20 says,

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

That’s confusion and illegal substitution on a grand scale. It’s cruel, and leading souls astray. When man’s wisdom is exalted over God’s, it’s not good for anyone. Satan convinced Eve that sin was good, sweet, and would bring enlightenment. It isn’t, and it didn’t. He’s crafty and still selling His goods. If God calls something sin, don’t celebrate it. If the Lord calls something sweet, don’t call it bitter; if He calls it bitter, don’t call it sweet. Many are trying to direct souls away from Jesus, who is the light, into darkness that they call enlightenment.

Matthew 7:9-11 says,

“Or what man is there among you who,
when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father who is in heaven
give what is good to those who ask Him!”

We can trust God to be good. The world is under the sway of the evil one, and is masterful at deception. Those participating will be held accountable, and it’s happening even in so-called churches today. We need to humble ourselves to learn from the Lord. We need the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of truth.

 

cut_2549

“Woe to those who drag iniquity with the cords of falsehood,
And sin as if with cart ropes;”
Isaiah 5:18

The Lord warns that there is pleasure in sin for a season, yet the pleasure is never worth the burden. Woe to those who use falsehood or futility to keep iniquity coming when the Lord wants to set us free. Isaiah 5:19 continues,

“Who say, ‘Let Him make speed, let Him hasten His work, that we may see it;
And let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near
And come to pass, that we may know it!’”

This boastful declaration practically throws down the gauntlet. Though He has made Himself known, they are exalting themselves above Him in their own minds. That is not a duel we want to enter.

“And come to pass” is a Hebrew word meaning abide. We have been invited to abide in Christ to bear fruit that glorifies God. (See John 15.) Rather than abiding in Him, they are practically taunting that He come abide with them – then they would know what He’s about. Frightening.

Are we refusing to let go of anything that is not pleasing to God? Exodus 15, more than once, describes the enemy as sinking like a stone or lead when the Red Sea closed in on them. Yet God’s people were referred to as planted. If we hold fast to sin and futility, bucking at God to rise to our pathetic expectations, we will sink like a rock which has no life. If we remain in reverence to the King and seek His will with humility and thanksgiving, we can be planted to bear fruit for His eternal Kingdom. Let’s choose life, which is found in Jesus Christ alone. Only He can break the cords of sin and death.

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 10.19.21 AM

The Lord sends warning after warning through Isaiah. Pride lures us onto a pedestal, then pushes us off into destruction. Pride leaves us bound and spiritually malnourished. Isaiah 5:13-15 says,

“ Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge;
And their honorable men are famished,
And their multitude is parched with thirst.
Therefore Sheol has enlarged its throat and opened its mouth without measure;
And Jerusalem’s splendor,
her multitude, her din of revelry and the jubilant within her,
descend into it.
So the common man will be humbled and the man of importance abased,
The eyes of the proud also will be abased.”

In these woes, we hear the heart of our Father who wants only good for His children. He warns of the consequences of self-centered and wasteful living. Jerusalem had exchanged His splendor for their own. Sounds all too familiar. We see His will for us, that we should avoid sin, self-glorification, and futility to live in our purpose of glorifying and enjoying Him through Christ. Lack of His knowledge is dangerous. But hearing and obeying Him protects us from trusting in our own understanding which is skewed and never complete. Whichever way we choose to live, we can be sure of this:

“But the Lord of hosts will be exalted in judgment,
And the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness.”
Isaiah 5:16

And when He does…

“Then the lambs will graze as in their pasture,
And strangers will eat in the waste places of the wealthy.”
Isaiah 5:17

Lord, show us Your glory. Thank You for Your patience, wisdom, and warning. Thank You for caring about us with a love we can’t fathom. Be exalted, oh God, above the heavens. You who are sovereign over all.

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for blog

Isaiah 5:11-12 presents the second woe in this chapter,

“ 11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink;
Who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them!
12 And their banquets are accompanied by lyre and harp, by tambourine and flute, and by wine;
But they do not pay attention to the deeds of the Lord,
Nor do they consider the work of His hands.”

Continually numbed by the pleasures of the flesh, they don’t even bother to take notice of the One who gave them life. It sounds like Daniel 5 when Belshazzar and his guests acted this out. Rather than humbling himself, Belshazzar exalted himself against the Lord. Daniel said, “But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and your ways, you have not glorified.” A hand had appeared at the party and written on the wall and Belshazzar was terrified. It told him that he had been weighed in the scales and found deficient. That is the state of all of us as we stand before God. So should we just eat, drink, and be merry until we die? Of course not.

There is hope for a life of purpose and joy that honors our Creator! What can be applied to cover our deficiency? Nothing, but the blood of Jesus. For those who receive Him as Savior, we are no longer found wanting. That grace gives us lives of purpose, freed from futility. Now we rise early, to be filled with His intoxicating love. We stay up late, if need be, to advance His Kingdom. We still gather to celebrate, but we want our instruments to bring Him praise and glory, because Jesus has saved us from these woes.

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