Woes and Warnings
Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field until there is no more room and you alone are left in the land. In my hearing the Lord of Hosts [has taken an oath]: Indeed, many houses will become desolate, grand and lovely ones without inhabitants. For a ten-acre vineyard will yield only six gallons, and 10 bushels of seed will yield only [one] bushel. Woe to those who rise early in the morning in pursuit of beer, who linger into the evening, inflamed by wine. At their feasts they have lyre, harp, tambourine, flute, and wine. They do not perceive the Lord’s actions, and they do not see the work of His hands. Therefore My people go into exile because they lack knowledge; the dignitaries are starving, and the masses are parched with thirst. Therefore Â Sheol enlarges its throat and opens wide its enormous jaws, and down go Zion’s dignitaries, her masses, her crowds, and those who carouse in her! Humanity is brought low, man is humbled, and haughty eyes are humbled. But the Lord of Hosts is exalted by His justice, and the holy God is distinguished by righteousness. Lambs will graze as [if in] their own pastures, and strangers will eat [among] the ruins of the rich. Isaiah 5:8-17 (HCSB)
In God’s Word one of the great words of warning that means something important follows is any passage beginning with “Woe”! It identifies the arrival or threat of grief or great distress, unless something changes. Jesus spoke time and again of woes and warnings to the leaders and powerful people who were living their lives disregarding the needs of the people around them. He proclaimed their lifestyle was causing harm to the people around them. God will exhaust all means to get us to change our ways before his judgment brings devastating consequences upon our selfish choices. We just need to be sensitive to listening and heeding the woes and warnings he sends our way.
In this passage, the people enjoyed a fruitful period. Their wealth and health flourished, but they selfishly expanded their possessions at the expense of others. Their lifestyle choices included the consumption of beer morning, noon, and night, which further numbed their sensitivity to their actions and attitudes. They became blinded to the bad effects of their selfish ways upon others and themselves. When arrogance and malevolence surround the actions and attitudes of someone, others are forced to leave or in many cases choose to leave. The end result: only the arrogant, hard-hearted remain with only their property and possessions to keep them company. They stand ignorant to what caused everyone to desert them. The only one left is the Lord preparing to exercise his judgment. Only owner-less possessions and the empty fields will remain until the Lord brings the innocent and needy to occupy the possessions and fields.
The Lord remains faithful to establish justice and righteousness in the land. You are either living for him or living against him. Choose the lifestyle you want, but are your choices living in the light of God’s will, ways, and wisdom. If so, you will not hear woes and warnings. If not, pay attention to the woes and warnings before it is too late.