Lent Devotional: Isaiah 5
by Jonathan Haefs
Isaiah 5 (click here)
Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the LORD, or see the work of his hands. Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst.
Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are brought low. But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness. Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture, and nomads shall eat among the ruins of the rich. (Isaiah 5:11-13 and 15-17)
I remember the first time I heard the story of the Titanic. The world’s largest cruise ship, filled with partying and revelry from the top deck to the bowls of the ship. I remember feeling the irony of people partying as they literally sailed toward death, completely unaware of where they were headed.
It was a party on the way to perishing.
In Isaiah 5, God points out that his people are partying on their own Titanic, but they are not about to run into an iceberg but the wrath of God! They are blind to what is coming and this is the very reason they are headed towards perishing! “…they do not regard the deeds of the LORD, or SEE the work of his hands. THEREFORE my people go into exile for lack of KNOWLEDGE…”
Because they do not see the massive reality of who God is, because they do not know him, their lives are about to run aground on the reality of his wrath.
It is a party on the way to perishing.
God’s wrath is righteous and just. He is not lashing out in an uncontrolled fit of rage. No. His wrath is the perfectly right and just response to sin. These people had exalted themselves as if they were god and were committing all sorts of atrocities. It was sheer mercy that God held back his righteous wrath at all… sheer grace that he had given these people any time to repent and return to him. It is sheer grace that he does this for any of us.
But his wrath will not be stayed forever. He will do what is right, what is just, what is good and loving. I say this is “good and loving” because how often have we found ourselves looking at the injustices of the world and crying out “how long O Lord?” Will all the wrongs ever be set right?
We look at our world and it seems there is no final justice! But that is why the wrath of God is good and loving news! There is final justice! All wrongs will be set right! All evil and injustice removed and perfect peace and justice will reign!
“Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are brought low. But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness. THEN shall the lambs graze as in their pasture, and nomads shall eat among the ruins of the rich.”
The rebellious party of sin ends in perishing… and peace is ushered in for all who trusted in the Lord! They will graze like lambs in the pasture of grace!
Take heart dear Christian… this world will not always be a place of injustice, oppression, and death! Sin is headed for a head-on collision with the wrath of God where it doesn’t win… it ends!