Woe

Published on Jul 1st, 2015 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Woe

Woe

Listen to the Word of the Lord, “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.  Woe is a strong word.  It is a word of sadness, judgment, and calamity.  In this passage Isaiah is warning the children of Israel of the anger of the Lord upon them because they have rebelled against him and turned against each other.  The verses that surround this verse warn of lying, pride, drunkenness, taking bribes, and depriving the innocent of their rights.  It is one of those passages that is designed to sober us up and to remind us of what the Lord expects of us as people and as a nation.  But, as Christians today, we must be careful how we use passages like this when we think of our own nation.  These warnings and promises were given to Israel not the United States.  We may use these passages as a guide but must be careful when we try to act as prophets to our own nation.

As we look at this passage we should ask the Spirit of God to speak to our own hearts first. Before we are so quick to throw stones we must ask if our lives reflect holiness.  I thank God that because of Jesus I stand in his holiness and am looked upon by God as being blameless. But do my actions reflect my position?  The church of God is in an uproar over our nation’s new definition of marriage.  It should be.  Man cannot redefine what God has already defined. But in our defense of marriage do our marriages paint the picture of Christ and the church as they should?  Do we, as a church of God, truly have a high view of marriage?  When our marriages are in trouble, do we fight for God’s definition of marriage as strongly as we fight when the government redefines marriage?  What about verse 22?  “Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine”…I went to a pastor’s conference recently where one of the booths set up was designed to sell beer mugs with Martin Luther’s face on it.  I am not saying that believers cannot drink alcohol but are we to the point of making heroes out of those who do? Please understand, I am not saying we should not stand and we should not be angry at sin and those who call evil good.  I am saying that we are called to look to ourselves first.  Jesus did not say that the woman who was caught in adultery was right.  He did, though, encourage those who were ready to stone her to look into their own lives first.

I also believe we should be very careful not to go beyond saying anything but “woe”.  The Word of God and the Spirit of God give us insight as to what God thinks about certain things.  The Word and Spirit give us wisdom to know what is good and what is evil.  They also give us insight into the wrath of God, the work of Jesus on the cross, mercy, grace, the coming judgment, etc.  It is a dangerous thing to call evil good and good evil.  We need to carefully examine the Word of God before we make such bold proclamations.  I do want to say “woe” to those who have redefined marriage.  I do want to say “woe” to those who twist Scripture to call evil what God has said is good.  But I will stop short of declaring God’s judgment.  That is his job.  Think of Job, James, and John when God slowed them down when they wanted to call down judgment and fire from heaven.  God has shown me patience and mercy in my life and I would rather that be shown to all.  Romans 2:4 says that the goodness of God leads to repentance.  Why aren’t more Christians calling for the goodness of God to reign down on those who do wickedness?  I do not know how God is going to choose to immediately deal with those who presently have decided that good is evil and evil is good.  Is he going to be patient?  Is he going to show mercy?  Is he going to release a measure of his wrath?  I do not know.  I know that he is not pleased and that this is evil in his sight.  I know that ultimately all sin will be judged.  I do know that he is against these things.  I do know it is an awesome thing to be an enemy of God, so I say “woe” to those who spit in the face of God and dance in the streets.  But I also know that God has shown me great mercy and patience.  I pray that he will continue to do the same to others and that those acts of goodness will lead to their repentance.

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