Woe To You Who Run After Their Wine

5: 11-12

    DIG: Who gets hit with the second woe and why? How contemporary does their lifestyle sound to you? What are their offenses? Does their judgment seem appropriate?

    REFLECT: Can you identify with this lifestyle in any way? If you were ever a part of it, who could better understand what drunken people in your sphere of influence than you? If not, to reach them you must see them through your heavenly Father’s eyes. Can you love the sinner, yet hate the sin? Why or why not?

    This is the second woe in Isaiah’s lament. He continues to address the wealthy who can spend the whole day, from early morning until late at night, pursuing their own pleasure, especially drinking. Woe to those who were so addicted that they had to rise early in the morning to run after their drinks. They would stay up late at night until they were inflamed with wine (5:11). The Hebrew denotes an alcoholic beverage made of raisins, dates, honey or barley, and the like. Nowhere does the Bible condemn the drinking of alcoholic beverages; in fact, there are places where it encourages it. But the Bible always calls drunkenness sin. Here the prophet talks about the rich who rise up early to run after their drinks, or stay up late at night to continue drinking, accompanied by music to set the mood for the evening. They had harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine (5:12a). These practices were consistent with idol worship at the time because exciting music and wine always accompanied the feasts (Amos 6:5-6).

    Then God gives the reasons why these practices are condemned in these particular cases. The wealthy enjoyed their wine, but had no regard for the deeds of ADONAI. In addition, they showed no respect for the work of His hands, meaning they abused other people made in the image of God (5:12b). Caring only for their own pleasures, they had no concern for the LORD or for others. Their spiritual sensitivity had become dimmed. When the passion for pleasure becomes the most important thing in a person’s life, passion for God is squeezed out. They would get into a drunken stupor, only so that they could avoid thinking of the mighty deeds of ADONAI. By doing so, however, they failed to see the woe that was about to come upon them.

 

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