Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Woah woes!


It's got one more letter than "if," so you know it's strong.

It's an interjection.

It can be a threat, or a lament or an admonishment. In the case I'll reference today, it is most definitely a threat.

Isaiah 5:18-23 finds the prophet issuing four laments over the People of God.

This first:

Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
who draw sin as with cart ropes,
who say: “Let him be quick,
let him speed his work
that we may see it;
let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near,
and let it come, that we may know it!” (Isaiah 5:18-19, ESV)

Woe to those who are quick to run to evil / sin and who dare God to do something about it. Whew... I shook my fist at God one time and dared Him to do something about it, too. Having survived that and grown to a completely different understanding of God, I wouldn't do it now! 

There are a lot of people around who love to mock God. Recently, I listened to a debate between two scientist. One said, "I wish God would come and do something to me right now! Show up! Kill me! Prove he is real!" Oy vey. 

The second: 
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! (Isaiah 5:20, ESV)

There is just not a lot that needs to be said here...
Take a gander at the Scriptures; see there what God calls sin, and see how much of our lives and culture is rife with it. Much of it we not only refuse to call sin, but we call it "okay" or "legal" or sometimes even "good."

The third: 
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:21, ESV)

The thing to remember here is simple: God opposes the proud. Lots of folk think they have everything figured out; even God. Woe. We must stay humble. When we think we've arrived it's usually a clear sign that we're more lost than ever. 

The fourth: 
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of his right! (Isaiah 5:22-23, ESV)
Facebook is strange and constant place to see this first one played out; people brag constantly how about hard they partied or how much they drank. The Scripture is pretty clear: "Woe to those who are heroes at drinking..." It goes back to calling evil good and good evil. We're just mixed up!

The second part is about not meting out justice properly. It's about people who can be bought. Not everyone is bought with money. Sometimes we are bought with friendship. Sometimes we won't even tell those closest to us the truth. We are bribed by the devil, thinking we'll lose a friend if we speak the truth, so our silence is purchased with the currency of fear. There's no justice in it! 

More so, we steal freedom from those who are designed for it! It's a deprivation! 

I'm moving on into Isaiah today, but these woes have my attention. Let me finish these thoughts off with Isaiah's prophecy for those who will not respond to these laments: 

Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root will be as rottenness,
and their blossom go up like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,
and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them,
and the mountains quaked;
and their corpses were as refuse
in the midst of the streets.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still. (Isaiah 5:24-25, ESV)

1 comment:

Cristina said...

Casey and I have been talking about this same thing (mostly woe #2) for the last week or so...just noticing how often we (people) call what is good evil because we see that we are wrong and we want to cover it up, so we point at those doing right and try to make THEM feel like they are the ones who are wrong. it's just crazy how much this happens. scary.