I first posted this last winter, but after yesterday's decision in California along with numerous other things going on in this country I thought it wise to give this very strong article a second chance to be read. This is the Word of God folks, and it could have been written last night, it is that current.
In Isaiah 5:8-23, a series of six woes are pronounced followed by three judgment sections. Jesus had read Isaiah innumerable times in his life. He knew this record better than anyone who ever lived. Although he did not quote it in Matthew 23, it helped form the foundation upon which its "woes" are built. These six woes from Isaiah also provide a scathing commentary of current attitudes toward God and His Word. Starting in verse 8 of Isaiah we read from the NIV:
"Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land."
Parcels of land in Israel were to be leased and not sold. The land had been assigned to families and was to stay in the family's possession for ever according to Numbers27:7-11. In Isaiah 5:9 and 10, judgment is passed regarding verse 8. The judgment is for all practical purposes the "woe". In verses 11 and 12 we have the second woe:
"Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, and stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine.
They have harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of His hands."
This woe is addressing a lifestyle of drunkenness and wild parties. Somehow, just as today, this "Epicurean" manner of living life (eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die) became the norm. It was no longer looked upon as wrong and instead was viewed as "having fun". Just as today, these people condemned Isaiah as being "old fashioned" or "out of touch" with current culture. Just because culture says something is fine, does not make it fine with God.
Verses 13 through 15 pronounce judgment for this blatant disregard for God's law. Verse 15 is very important to understand:
"So man will be brought low and mankind humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled."
The purpose of God's judgment is to humble arrogant man. As long as man thinks he can do as he pleases without fear of judgment, he does it and does it more and keeps doing it until he becomes arrogant and boastful in his ability to defy God's Word. The Bible is full of accounts where this same pattern is followed. It is the very nature of man to rebel and if he can "get away with it", rebel again only more so. This is why children must be disciplined. If their error is not confronted, reproved and corrected; they will only become more and more obstinate and self confident in their arrogant disobedience.
Verses 18 and 19 of Isaiah 5 bring up the third woe:
"Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes,
To those who say, "Let God hurry, let Him hasten His work so we may see it. Let it approach, let the plan of the Holy One of Israel come, so we may know it."
These verses are referring to the people mocking God and His prophets. They were basically expressing their total disbelief that God would ever carry out any of His judgments the prophets had been screaming about. They literally were daring God to do what He said He would do, never believing for an instant God would actually do it. This is dangerous footing to be on and millions of people are doing the same thing today. They are mocking God by their lifestyles of sin and arrogant unbelief. They do not believe for an instant that God will ever judge them for they do not believe in the God of the Bible.
I wish verse 20 could be plastered upon every billboard in America. This one verse absolutely defines what has become of our culture and country. Its application to today is amazing, for it is as if this verse was written yesterday instead of thousands of years ago.
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."
What better way to describe "things" in not only America, but the entire world, than this verse? Everywhere and in almost all things, that which is evil is now called good and vice a versa. The lie has become the truth and the truth is looked upon as the lie. People's consciences have become so hardened and their minds so deceived that what they believe in their hearts is the truth; is nothing but a lie from hell. Just as the serpent deceived Eve in the garden, and ultimately got her to believe "the lie" of "you shall not surely die", so he has deceived multitudes of Christians into believing his lies to the point many Christians mock God just as the people in Isaiah's time.
This "turn of events" is nothing more than darkness being called light and light being called darkness. The "Christian right" has been so viciously attacked by moral degenerates that it is now scorned and looked upon as rotten fruit by "progressives". Satan himself transformed himself into an angel of light and in so doing, he has succeeded in deceiving the vast majority of Christians into believing his dark lies are the truth and the truth are nothing but fables and myths not to believed.
Verse 21 follows upon the previous verses to list the fifth woe:
"Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and clever in their own sight."
I wish people would just read the Bible! How much clearer can God make things? Man's wisdom has crowded out the true knowledge of God to the point that those of us who still believe the Bible is the God Breathed Word and Will of God are looked upon as fools, mentally unstable and dangerous enemies. Worldly wisdom rules in every school district in America and every secular university we push our kids to attend. Is it any wonder that by the time most people graduate from college, they are lukewarm Christians at best?
Oh how unbelievers think they are so clever in their own eyes. They sit around patting themselves on the back for their latest victory over those "stupid" Christians. They think they have outsmarted their god. They think just like their father thinks, Satan. Even though Satan was thrust out of God's presence because of his rebellion, he daily persuades countless people to believe he really won and that his systems of greed, lust and power are genuine and the other "god's" are inferior and wrong. And people believe him.
Verses 22 and 23 bring up the sixth woe, which again, could have been written this morning:
"Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,
Who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent."
O.K., I can't stand it anymore. How can people who rip apart the Bible and say it is not applicable to our current day and time not see how it addresses issues that fill news shows and provide fodder for worthless television episodes every evening? Good grief, how many stupid television shows have innocently portrayed a bunch of 20 something year olds having a huge party with beer guzzling contests and other horrid activities. Somehow, those who are best at drinking huge amounts of beer and other drinks are cheered as heroes and champions by the adoring crowd of drunk revelers. All this is portrayed as "innocent fun". Tell this to the parents who lose a child to a drunk driver.
Our political and justice systems are rife with worthless lawyers and judges who gladly accept bribes to acquit the guilty. These same people will deny justice to the innocent. Friends, the Bible is as applicable today as when it was first written. The very same things that were happening in Israel thousands of years ago are still happening in the western world today. Nothing has changed except things are far worse now than ever. All because people have believed Satan's lies and have bought into his line that God is dead and He will never really judge this earth. These people have a day of reckoning awaiting them that I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy (and I have some bad ones).
Earlier in Isaiah, two other "woes" were brought up in chapter 3 in verses 9 and 11:
"The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves.
Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done."
What more can I say that God hasn't said in a way anyone can understand if they want to. Those who have made a mockery of God and His Word WILL BE PAID BACK for what they have said and done. In Isaiah's time, that "pay back" came suddenly in the form of Israel being conquered and sent into exile. For those who defy God today and proudly display their "sin of Sodom" in parades, who don't even bother to "hide it" anymore; Woe to them. They have brought disaster upon themselves.
Verses 24 and 25 describe the judgment of God on this sordid unbelief:
"Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Therefore the Lord's anger burns against HIS PEOPLE; His hand is raised and He strikes them down. The mountains shake, and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets. Yet for all this, His anger is not turned away, His hand is still upraised."
God is a God of justice as well as love and mercy. Revelation tells us that the day is coming when all those on this earth who blatantly live in wickedness, defying and mocking God, and denying His existence until the bitter end; will receive the biggest "pay back" in history. When the wrath of God, which has been building for thousands of years, is finally released in all its fury in Revelation, those arrogant mockers of God will find out what the word "WOE" really means. I say they deserve all they have coming to them.
Creative Commons: Attribution